The great success of Marrism in the Soviet Union during more than 20 years (from 1925-1930 to 1950) cannot be explained on a merely political basis. The life and work of O. M. Freidenberg, a philologist, specialist in the culture of the antiquity, professor at Leningrad University and cousin of B. Pasternak, permit us to propose another explanation: in 1920-1930, Marrist linguistics corresponded to the specific paradigm of 'integral science' which was predominant in the Soviet humanities. Analysis of Freidenberg's theories on the origin, development and semantics of literary genres, on the convergence in literature and on the place of folklore in literary evolution shows that Freidenberg belonged to the group of researchers who studied 'culture as it is', according to J. M. Lotman. The study of 'culture as it is', the transfer of scientific models from one field of research to another, as well as the 'integral' approach to the objects of study were important particular features of this specific paradigm in 1920-1930.
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