Russian‐born linguist, one of the most influential semioticians of the twentieth century. Jakobson's contribution to semiotics developed from his diverse studies of language, phonetics, dialectology, folkloristics, and poetics. When he was a student in philology at Moscow University in 1917, Jakobson turned to linguistics after being introduced to the work of Ferdinand de Saussure by Sergej I. Karcevskij, who had been a student of Saussure in Geneva. From 1915 to 1920, Jakobson was a leading member of the Moscow Linguistic Circle and of the Society for the Study of Poetic Language (OPOJAZ) based in Saint Petersburg. His early interest in poetics and the language of poetry led him to move to Prague in 1920 to pursue studies at Charles University. In 1926, Jakobson was one of the founders of the Prague Linguistic Circle, and it was there, in 1929, that Jakobson coined the word structuralism.
The specific meaning of structuralism, in its original context, was phonological. Where diachronic linguistics takes words to be differentiated according to philological rules, synchronists argue that words are to be distinguished phonetically within the phonological system of a given language. Differences between phonemes arise from the presence or absence of minimal sound units, named “distinctive features.” Thus, phonological systems are to be understood in terms of binary oppositions.
Binarism, shown by Jakobson to operate at the irreducibly minimal level of linguistic structure, was taken by researchers in other fields as a paradigm for analysis at higher levels. Jakobson developed a binary model of language, the two poles of which are the metaphoric and the metonymic. Such a model had been anticipated in Sigmund Freud's pairing of condensation and displacement and in James George Frazer's distinction between homeopathic (metaphoric) and contagious (metonymic) magic. The structuralist model was enormously influential: Claude Lévi‐Strauss in anthropology, Jean Piaget and Jacques Lacan in psychology, and Roland Barthes in poetics applied the binary paradigm in transforming their respective disciplines and bringing about a methodological shift in all the human and social sciences.
Jakobson's binarism found empirical and clinical support in the studies of aphasia conducted by American psychologist John Hughlings Jackson (1835–1911). In this research, Jakobson detected two types of aphasia, which corresponded neatly to the two poles of language. Each type results from an inability to operate linguistically, one lacking a sense of similarity, on the metaphoric axis, and the other lacking a sense of contiguity, on the metonymic. The positing of order in disorder, of the structural in the dysfunctional, might explain the attraction of Jakobson's model among psychiatrists.
One month after Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Jakobson (who was Jewish by birth; in 1975, he converted to Orthodox Christianity) left Prague for Scandinavia; in 1941, he reached New York City. From 1943, he taught at Columbia University, and in 1949 he was appointed to a chair at Harvard University. It was only in North America that Jakobson came across the work of Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914); though not discovered by Jakobson, Peirce owes much of his contemporary prestige within semiotics to Jakobson's advocacy of his work.
The development of modern semiotics is unimaginable without Peirce; it is therefore worth asking what in Jakobson's background prepared him to recognize Peirce's importance. Saussure's ideas had been introduced to Russian students by Sergej Karcevskij in 1917; by 1922, S. I. Bernstejn had provided a detailed and systematic account in Russian of Saussure's Cours de linguistique générale. Yet it was apparently only in 1947—in an article by Rulon Wells, “De Saussure's System of Linguistics” in Word—that Saussure was introduced to North American linguistics. The parallels between Peirce and Saussure are now evident and virtually constitutive for structuralist semiotics. It was Jakobson who first connected and juxtaposed Saussure and Peirce; he subsequently made much rhetorical and heuristic use of an opposition between them. Peirce became an authority and rhetorical ally in Jakobson's struggle against and with Saussure.
Since the 1920s, Jakobson had contested three of Saussure's axioms. Instead of the Saussurean dichotomy between synchrony and diachrony, Jakobson (who remained devoted to philological research, notably of medieval Slavic texts) preferred to speak of “permanently dynamic synchrony.” Jakobson also rejected Saussure's insistence on the linearity and sequentiality of the semiotic chain. The force of Jakobson's theory of the poetic function—that the axis of selection (parataxis, metaphor) is projected onto the axis of combination (syntaxis, metonymy)—is that the lingustic chain must admit the simultaneity of equivalent terms: the one term present invokes absent terms, those unchosen on the parataxis. It is precisely the poetic function that challenges the claim of strict linearity, and Jakobson argued that this function, while dominant in poetry, is present in all forms of discourse. This develops and confirms the structuralist, binary theory of phonology, according to which it is simultaneity rather than linearity that is constitutive of discourse.
This leads to the best known of Saussure's axioms: that the relation between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary. Jakobson (not quite fairly) treated Saussure's bipartite sign as a reformulation of the Stoic and medieval distinction between signans (message) and signatum (acoustic pattern), the sensible and the intelligible, the acoustic and the mental. Saussure's argument, though it has sometimes been received with controversy, should be as obvious and as irrefutable as Hermogenes' arguments against Cratylus in Plato's dialogue. Jakobson's objections are on the side of Cratylus. If the syntaxis of a sentence is determined partially by its rhythm or by alliteration or by other poetic features (present in such alliterative archaisms as “kith and kin,” “time and tide,” or in trochaic phrases such as “bread and butter,” “cup and saucer”), how can we be certain that such examples are exceptions? It might be that, unknown to speakers, the semantic is linked to or even dependent on the acoustic in every utterance. Saussure's axiom assumes an entirely nonaesthetic use of language; Jakobson is one of the very few linguists to place poetics at the center of inquiry. By insisting that to some degree the poetic function is present in all messages, Jakobson suggests that any word or phoneme may be selected not exclusively for its place in the semantic or intelligible chain of signification but also for its place in an acoustic chain, the order of sounds. Such a Cratylic argument is a provocative response to Saussure's abrupt dismissal of the problem of onomatopoeia.
Peirce classified all signs into three types: symbol, index, and icon. For Peirce, as for Saussure, words operate within a conventional and arbitrary code and are therefore symbols. Indexes and icons are usually taken to be pictorial rather than verbal or alphabetical signs, such as, respectively, an arrow that points, signifying by contiguity, and a photograph that represents by resemblance. The correspondences between index and metonymy and between icon and metaphor led Jakobson beyond Peirce's view that language was the dominant semiotic code because symbols alone were arbitrary; from the late 1940s, Jakobson investigated linguistic instances of index and icon. Some words do operate indexically, notably “shifters,” which are words that cannot be understood without reference to both the message and the speaker. A shifter refers to the message, as any symbol must; it also, in the nature of things that point, stands “in existential relation with the object it represents.” Peirce had already made an exception, according to Arthur W. Burks's early account (1949) of Peircean semiotics, by speaking of “indexical symbols.” The word shifter was not Peirce's but was coined by Otto Jespersen in 1922. Jakobson used that concept together with the schematic analysis of “reported speech” outlined in Valentin Voloshinov's Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (1929)—evidence of Jakobson's continuing acquaintance with the work of theorists in the Soviet Union, in this instance the circle around Mikhail M. Bakhtin. The double nature of the shifter, both symbolic and indexical, yet again illuminates the importance of the poetic function: every word in a poem refers to the poem as signans while simultaneously standing in existential relation to the poem as signatum.
Jakobson's argument for the indexical function of the linguistic sign was formulated clearly by 1957. The next step, the last phase of Jakobson's development, completed the recuperation of Peirce and the defiance of Saussure by arguing that linguistic signs might also be iconic. Jakobson referred to not only Peirce but other American linguists, including Benjamin Lee Whorf, William Dwight Whitney, Leonard Bloomfield, and Edward Sapir. In “Quest for the Essence of Language” (1971), Jakobson cites Peirce: “Every algebraic equation is an icon, insofar as it exhibits by means of the algebraic signs (which are not themselves icons) the relations of the quantities concerned.” Any algebraic formula appears to be an icon, “rendered such by the rules of commutation, association, and distribution of the symbols.” Thus, “algebra is but a sort of diagram,” and “language is but a kind of algebra.” Peirce thus “vividly conceives” the iconicity of syntax, that “the arrangement of the words in the sentence…must serve as icons, in order that the sentence may be understood.”
Words are always symbolic, and as shifters they may also be indexical. Jakobson cites Peirce again: “It would be difficult, if not impossible, to instance an absolutely pure index, or to find any sign absolutely devoid of the indexical quality” (1971). And, through syntax, Jakobson tries to argue that the arrangement of words, if not each word, is iconic: syntax itself does not conform to the law of pure linearity. Jakobson goes on to cite Whorf, who, with his emphasis on “the algebraic nature of language” knew how to abstract from individual sentences the “designs of sentence structure” and argued that “the patternment aspect of language [i.e., syntax] always overrides and controls the lexation or name‐giving aspect.” Saussure's insistence on the linearity of the semiotic chain had obscured precisely this: just as an algebraic formula specifies relations, distributions, and commutations without any referential function whatsoever, so the arrangement of words specifies proportion and disposition prior to reference. This, we might hazard, is obviously so in the case of a sonnet or an epitaph; and as the poetic function is present, however minimally, in all messages, so every utterance must be analyzable in terms of its “sound‐shape” (1971).
This is the argument of Jakobson's final monograph, written with Linda Waugh (1979). In this venture, Jakobson and Waugh find a most surprising ally in Saussure, whose “only finished writing during his professorship in Geneva…would have innovated the world‐wide science of poetics, but…was unduly hidden,” because it was regarded as merely “futile digressions,” until it was published in summary form by J. Starobinski (1971). Saussure detected anagrams or “hypograms” concealed by dispersion through lines of Latin verse. Yet, far from being a crazed obsession, this work was a specific challenge to Saussure's own postulate of linearity. The disposition of proper names as hypograms is virtually algebraic: in linear sequence, the name is hidden, and it is disclosed in spatial terms as iconic. The regrettable delay in the publication of Saussure's anagrammatic studies meant that Jakobson's sixty‐year struggle against Saussure was in part upstaged by Saussure himself, as Jakobson generously recognized.
Jakobson's theory of the iconicity of language—perhaps his single greatest contribution to semiotics, poetics, and linguistics—has itself been disdained within linguistics and treated with insufficient respect in semiotics. Its implications concern the uniqueness of language among sign systems: is language special because, unlike all other sign systems, it is exclusively symbolic? Or does its power lie in the fact that it is the only sign system that operates in all the Peircean modes, symbolic, indexical, and iconic? Positivists and most linguists prefer the former explanation; students of poetry and poetics have yet to explore the consequences of the latter claim.
Armstrong, D., and C. H. van Schooneveld, eds. Roman Jakobson: Echoes of His Scholarship. Lisse: De Ridder, 1977.Find this resource:
Burks, A. W. “Icon, Index, and Symbol.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 9.4 (1949): 673–689.Find this resource:
Grzybek, P. “Some Remarks on the Notion of Sign in Jakobson's Semiotics and in Czech Structuralism.” Znakolog: An International Yearbook of Slavic Semiotics 1 (1988): 113–128.Find this resource:
Holenstein, E. Roman Jakobson's Approach to Language: Phenomenological Structuralism. Translated by C. and T. Schelbert. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976.Find this resource:
Jackson, J. H. “Hughlings Jackson on Aphasia and Kindred Effect in the Production of Speech, Together with a Complete Bibliography of His Publications on Speech.” Brain 38.1 (1915): 1–190.Find this resource:
Jakobson, R. “Quest for the Essence of Language.” In Selected Writings, vol. 2, Word and Language, edited by R. Jakobson, pp. 345–359. The Hague: Mouton, 1971.Find this resource:
Jakobson, R. Language in Literature. Edited by K. Pomorska and S. Rudy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987.Find this resource:
Jakobson, R. On Language. Edited by L. Waugh and M. Monville‐Bruston. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990.Find this resource:
Jakobson, R., and L. Waugh. The Sound Shape of Language. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979.Find this resource:
Jespersen, O. Language: Its Nature, Development and Origin. London: Allen and Unwin, 1922.Find this resource:
Plato. The Collected Dialogues. Edited by E. Hamilton and H. Cairns. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961.Find this resource:
Rudy, S. Roman Jakobson 1896–1982: A Complete Bibliography of His Writings. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1990.Find this resource:
Starobinski, J. Words upon Words: The Anagrams of Ferdinand de Saussure (1971). Translated by O. Emmet. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.Find this resource:
Striedter, J. Literary Structure, Evolution, and Value: Russian Formalism and Czech Structuralism Reconsidered. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989.Find this resource:
Toman, J. The Magic of a Common Language: Jakobson, Mathesius, Trubetskoy, and the Prague Linguistic Circle. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995.Find this resource:
A Tribute to Roman Jakobson, 1896–1982. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1983.Find this resource:
Voloshinov, V. Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. Translated by L. Matejka and I. R. Titunik. New York and London: Seminar Press, 1973.Find this resource:
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Archives and Special Collections
- Jakobson, Roman, 1896-1982
- Roman Jakobson papers
- Date [inclusive]
- 141.5 cubic feet (137 record cartons, 12 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 7 folios, 1 film reel)
- Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.
- Language of Materials
- In addition to English language materials there are also materials in French, German, Russian, Czech, and other Slavic languages.
- This collection documents the career of Roman Jakobson. Jakobson was Samuel Hazzard Cross Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and General Linguistics at Harvard University from 1949 until becoming emeritus in 1965. He was concurrently, appointed in April 1957, Visiting Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 1957-1958, reappointed Visiting Institute Professor for a six month period beginning July 1958. He continued in his role at MIT until he became emeritus in 1970. Known as the founder of modern structural linguistics, he elaborated sophisticated theories of language and communication that have had significant effects on such disciplines as anthropology, art criticism and brain research. Published and unpublished writings by Jakobson, correspondence, and research and lecture notes document Jakobson's scholarly contributions to linguistics, poetics, mythology, folklore, literature, and cognitive studies. The collection also includes Jakobson's correspondence with linguist Prince Nikolai Sergeevich Trubetskoy and extensive materials concerning Jakobson's lifelong study of the Russian classic epic, Igor’ Tale.
Roman Jakobson Papers, MC 72, box X. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institute Archives and Special Collections, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Roman O. Jakobson, 1896-1982, A.B., Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages, Moscow; A.M. 1918, Moscow University; Ph.D. 1930, Prague University, taught at Masaryk University in Brno, Czechoslovakia, 1933-1939. He fled to Scandinavia when the Nazis invaded and came to the United States in 1941, where he began teaching at l'Ecole Libre des Hautes in New York. He was visiting professor of linguistics at Columbia University, 1943-1946, then was appointed to the Thomas G. Masaryk Chair of Czechoslovak Studies, a position he occupied from 1946 to 1949. In 1949 he joined the faculty of Harvard University, where he was Samuel Hazzard Cross Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and General Linguistics until he became emeritus in 1965. He was concurrently, appointed in April 1957, Visiting Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 1957-1958 and reappointed Visiting Institute Professor for a six month period beginning July 1958. He continued in his role at MIT until he became emeritus in 1970.
Jakobson's role in linguistics is unique. His work helped to define modern linguistics and gain its recognition as an independent science. He expanded the borders of linguistics to incorporate such areas as phonetics, semantics, poetics, Slavic studies, language acquisition and pathology, and mythology. His main contributions were to establish phonological distinctive features, to define constants and tendencies, variants and invariants, to discover unity in variety, with respect for the individual and unique in language. He drew upon the work of earlier linguists, especially Ferdinand de Saussure and Baudouin de Courtenay. However, his concept of linguistics and his introduction of structural methods were original and influenced linguists all over the world.
A prolific writer, his works include books and articles on linguistic subjects, mythology, and epic poetry and metrics, including works on the Igor' Tale. Known as the father of modern structural linguistics, he elaborated sophisticated theories of language and communication that have had significant effects on such disciplines as anthropology, art criticism, and brain research.
|Roman Jakobson: A Brief Chronology, compiled by Stephen Rudy|
|Note:||Titles of Jakobson's lectures at congresses and conferences that were later published are not included here; instead, cross-references are provided to Roman Jakobson 1896-1982: A Complete Bibliography of his Writings, 1990.|
|1896||Born in Moscow September 28, Old Style (October10, New Style), son of Osip Abramovič Jakobson, a prominent industrialist, and Anna Jakovlevna Jakobson, née Vol'pert.|
|1914||A.B., Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages, Moscow; entered Moscow University.|
|1915||Along with several students of the Historical-Philological Faculty at Moscow University, Jakobson founded the Moscow Linguistic Circle in March, and served as its President until 1920; organized intensive field work in Russian dialectology and folklore during the summer vacations of 1915 and 1916.|
|1918||A.M., Moscow University.|
|1918-20||Research Associate at Moscow University.|
|1919||Wrote Novejšaja russkaja poèzija (1921b), May, in Moscow; intended as an introduction to Xlebnikov's Collected Works.|
|1920||Professor of orthoepy, Moscow Dramatic School.|
Arrived in Prague, July 10, as translator for the first Soviet Red Cross Mission to Czechoslovakia; remained in Czechoslovakia until the Nazi occupation in 1939, officially becoming a Czech citizen in 1937.
|1921||Novejšaja russkaja poèzija published.|
|1922||O češskom stixe published.|
|1926||Prague Linguistic Circle founded, Oct. 6, with Jakobson as its Vice-President.|
|1928||Attended the First International Congress of Linguists, The Hague, April 10-15 (see 1928b).|
|1929||<title render="italic">Remarques sur l'evolution phonologique du russe comparee a celle des autres langues slaves</title> published.|
Attended the First International Congress of Slavic Philologists, Prague, Oct. 6-13 (see 1929f).
Began work as head of the East Slavic section (Ostslavisches Referat) of the journal <title render="italic">Slavische Rundschau</title>, edited by F. Spina and G. Gesemann and published by Walter de Gruyter and Co., Berlin, from 1929 until 1939
|1930||Ph.D., German University in Prague; dissertation <title render="italic">Über den Versbau der serbokroatischen Volksepen</title> (cf. 1933c).|
Suicide of Majakovskij, April 15 (see 1930d).
Attended the International Phonological Conference, Prague, Dec. 18-21.
|1931||<title render="italic">K xarakteristike evrazijskogo jazykovogo sojuza</title> published.|
Moved from Prague to Brno, end of the year.
|1932||Attended the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Amsterdam, July 3-8 (see 1933c).|
|1933||Attended the Third International Congress of Linguists, Rome, Sept. 19-26 (see 1935a).|
|1933-34||Assistant Professor, Masaryk University, Brno.|
|1934-37||Visiting Professor, Masaryk University.|
|1935||Lectured on "Poetry of the Hussite Period" in the Prague Linguistic Circle, April 29 (see 1936f).|
Visited Bulgaria, July-August.
|1936||Attended the Fourth International Congress of Linguists, Copenhagen, Aug. 27-Sept. 1 (see 1938h).|
|1937-39||Associate Professor of Russian Philology and Old Czech Literature, Masaryk University.|
|1938||Lectured on the fundamentals of phonological analysis, Prague Linguistic Circle, March 21.|
Death of N. S. Trubetzkoy, June 25.
Attended the Third International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, University of Ghent, July 18-22 (see 1939a).
|1939||Abandons Brno after the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, March 15; hides in Prague while awaiting exit visas.|
Arrives in Denmark, April 21; visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen.
Leaves Denmark for Norway in early September; visiting professor at the University of Oslo.
|1940||Following the Nazi invasion of Norway on April 9, flees North, entering Sweden at Särna; visiting professor at the University of Uppsala.|
|1941||<title render="italic">Kindersprache, Aphasie und allgemeine Lautgesetze</title> (1941a) published.|
Arrives in the United States on June 4, at New York harbor.
|1942||Appointed to the Faculté des Lettres, École Libre des Hautes Études, New York, as Professor of General Linguistics, and to the Institut de Philologie et d'Histoire Orientale et Slave as Professor of Slavic Philology; taught there 1942-1946.|
Worked at the New York Public Library, April-Sept., on organizing its collection of Aleutian language and folklore materials.
|1943||Moudrost starých Čechů published.|
|1943-46||Visiting Professor of Linguistics, Columbia University.|
|1944||Founding member of the Linguistic Circle of New York and its journal Word.|
|1946||Appointed to newly formed Thomas G. Masaryk Chair of Czechoslovak Studies, Columbia University, which he occupied until 1949.|
|1948||Results of collective work with H. Grégoire and M. Szeftel on the oldest Russian epic published: La Geste du Prince Igor'.|
|1949||Appointed Samuel Hazzard Cross Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and of General Linguistics, Harvard University.|
Elected corresponding member of the Societé Finno-Ugriénne, Helsinki and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
|1950||Delivered the Ilchester lecture at Oxford on Slavic epic verse, May 10 (see 1952f).|
Elected hononary member of the International Phonetic Association, the Philological Society (London), and the American Acoustical Society.
|1952||<title render="italic">Preliminaries to Speech Analysis</title>, written in collaboration with C. G. M. Fant and M. Halle, published.|
Attended the International Symposium of Anthropology, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, June (see 1953d).
|1953||Attended the Clark University Conference on Expressive Language (see 1955a).|
|1955||Attended the Third International Congress of Slavists, Belgrade, Sept. 15-Sept. 21 (see 1957h).|
Elected member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences.
|1956||<title render="italic">Fundamentals of Language</title>, co-authored with M. Halle, published.|
President of the Linguistic Society of America.
Attended the first meeting of the International Committee of Slavists as the American representative, Moscow, May 17-22; while in Moscow lectured on general and Slavic linguistics in America, Moscow University, May 21; On the development of phonetics in America, Linguistic Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, May 23; On Majakovskij, Institute of World Literature, May 24.
|1957||Appointed Visiting Institute Professor, MIT; reappointed Visiting Institute Professor for a six month period beginning July 1958. He continued in his role at MIT until becoming emeritus in 1970, a position held concurrently with his Harvard chair until he became emeritus at Harvard in 1965.|
Attended the Eighth International Congress of Linguists, Oslo, August 5-9 (see 1958a).
Attended the International Conference on the Life and Work of J. A. Comenius, Prague, Sept. 23-26 (see 1960j).
Discussion with Niels Bohr on the relation of linguistics to the physical sciences, MIT, Nov. 25; lectured at MIT on "Linguistics and Physics," Nov. 25.
Elected President of the Permanent International Council for Phonetic Sciences.
|1958||Attended the Conference on Poetic Language at Indiana University, April 17-19 (see 1960d).|
Attended the Fourth International Congress of Slavists, Moscow, Sept. 1-10 (see 1958b).
Visited Hungary, with a cycle of lectures in Bucharest, Oct. 3-6 (see 1959i).
Attended the Polish Conference on Literary Theory, Krynica, Oct. 16-20, with lectures on "The Linguistic Aspects of Poetics" and "Linguistics and Metrics."
|1959||Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Spring semester.|
Attended the Internationales Symposion Zeichen und System der Sprache, Erfurt, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 (see 1962e).
Founding editor of <title render="italic">The International Journal of Slavic Linguistics and Poetics</title>.
Elected member of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
|1960||Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 1960 1961.|
Attended the Symposium on the Structure of Language and Its Mathematical Aspects, April 14-15 (see 1961a).
Attended the International Conference on Poetics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, August 18-27 (see 1961c).
Elected Foreign Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and Letters.
|1961||Attended the Conference on Language Universals, New York, April 13-15 (see 1963e).|
Attended the Fourth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Helsinski, Sept. 6-9 (see 1962r).
Attended the Twelfth International Congress of Byzantine Studies, Ochrid, Sept. 10-16 (see 1961e).
Awarded Honorary Doctorates, Cambridge University, June 8; the University of Chicago, May 4; the University of Oslo, Sept. 4.
Elected Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy in the section of Polite Literature and Antiquities.
|1962||<title render="italic">Selected Writings</title>, vol. I: <title render="italic">Phonological Studies</title> published.|
Attended the Ninth International Congress of Linguists, Cambridge, Mass., August 27-Sept. 1 (see 1964d).
Visited Moscow in connection with the meeting of the International Committee of Slavists, Oct. 1-10.
|1963||Delivered the Ilchester Lecture at Oxford University on parallelism in Russian folk poetry, May 19 (see 1966f).|
Attended the Ciba Foundation Symposium on Language Disorders, London, May 21-23 (see 1964b).
Attended the Fifth International Congress of Slavists, Sofia, Sept. 17-23 (see 1963b).
Attended the Conference on Speech, Language and Communication, Brain Research Institute, UCLA, Nov. 10-13 (see 1966c).
Awarded Honorary Doctorates, Uppsala University, May 31; University of Michigan, June 7.
|1964||Attended the Symposium on the Byzantine Mission to the Slavs, The Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, Washington, D.C., May 7-9 (see 1966p).|
Attended the Seventh International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Moscow, August 3-10 (see 1970j).
Attended the International Conference on Slavic and General Metrics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, August 24-31.
Attended the AFCRL Symposium on Models for the Perception of Speech and Visual Form, Boston, Nov. 11-14 (see 1967b).
|1965||Visited Italy, Jan. 12-Feb. 2, with numerous lectures at Italian scholarly societies and universities.|
|1966||<title render="italic">Selected Writings</title>, vol. 4: <title render="italic">Slavic Epic Studies</title> published.|
Visiting Fellow, Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, June-July.
During a visit to the Soviet Union attended the Twelfth International Congress of Psychology, Moscow, August 4-11; the International Seminar on Speech Production and Speech Perception, Pavlov Institute, Leningrad, August 13-16; the Semiotic Seminar at the University of Tartu, Estonia, August 19-25; the Shota Rustaveli Commemoration, University of Tbilisi, Georgia, Sept. 5.
Attended the Colloque international de sémiologie, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kazimierz, Sept. 13 18.
Awarded Honorary Doctorates, University of New Mexico, June 9; University of Grenoble, Oct. 22; University of Nice, Nov. 6.
Elected Honorary Member of the Czechoslovak Academy of Arts and Sciences in America, Sept. 3.
|1967||Honorary Doctorate, University of Rome, Jan. 30.|
Visited Japan, July.
Visited Moscow, August 17-24; Warsaw, August 24-28; Bucharest, August 28-Sept. 5, for the Tenth International Congress of Linguists (see 1969c); Zagreb and Dubrovnik, Sept. 5-16; Paris, Sept. 16-23.
|1968||Attended the Sixth International Congress of Slavists, Prague, Aug. 6-13 (see 1968g).|
Awarded Honorary Doctorates, Charles University, Prague, Aug. 13; Purkyne University, Brno, Aug. 15.
Awarded Golden Medal of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Aug. 21.
Visited Brazil, Sept. 4-29, with numerous lectures at various Brazilian universities.
Participated in the meeting of the Special Committee for Social Sciences of UNESCO, Paris, Oct. 2-4; lecture on "The Essentials and Goals of Contemporary Linguistics in Relation to Other Sciences," Oct. 3 (cf. 1969c).
Attended the Symposium "Languages in Society and the General World" organized by Olivetti in Milan, Oct. 14-17 (see 1970d).
Visiting Professor of Slavic Languages and of Linguistics, Princeton University, with six seminars on "Linguistic Reflections on Sound and Meaning," Winter 1968-69.
|1969||Gave the Heinz Werner Lectures, Institute on Developmental Psychology, Clark University, March 6-7, on "The Paths from Infancy to Language."|
Visiting Professor, Brown University, Spring semester, with a course "Introduction to Linguistic Analysis of Poetry."
Visiting Fellow, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California, June-August.
Participated in the Prague Symposium on Constantine the Philosopher, Sept. 14-18 (see 1970i).
Visiting Professor at Brandeis, winter semester, 1969-70, with a course on Modern Poetics.
Awarded Honorary Doctorate, Zagreb University, Dec. 18.
|1970||Visiting Professor, Brown University, winter semester, 1970-71, with a course on The Creative Power of Language.|
Awarded Honorary Doctorate, Ohio State University, Oct. 26.
|1971||<title render="italic">Selected Writings</title>, vol. 2: <title render="italic">Word and Language</title> and the second edition of <title render="italic">Selected Writings</title>, vol. 1 published.|
Attended the Convegno Internazionale "Premarinismo e Pregongorismo," Rome, April 19-21 (see 1973b).
Visiting Professor, Yale University, Nov., with three lectures on "Current and Perpetual Questions in the Structural Analysis of Language and Verbal Art."
|1972||Professeur d'état, Collège de France. Four lectures, Feb. 3-8.|
Doctor honoris causa and Francqui Professor, Catholic University of Louvain. Degree awarded Feb. 14; term of the Chaire Francqui, Spring semester (see 1973l).
Visited Hungary, Oct. 20-27, as a guest of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Bulgaria, Oct. 27-Nov. 5, as a guest of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; Portugal, Nov. 20-30, as a guest of the Instituto de Alta Cultura.
Visiting Professor, Collège de France, Dec.
|1973||<title render="italic">Questions de poétique</title> published.|
Attended the Seventh International Congress of Slavists, Warsaw, August 21-27 (see 1973d).
Visiting Professor, New York University, Fall Semester.
|1974||Visited Madrid as a guest of the Sociedad de estudios y publicaciones, May 18-31.|
Attended the Congress of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, Milan, June 2-6 (see 1975g).
Lectured at the University of Zurich, June 9-15.
Attended the Puškin Symposium, New York University, Nov. 16-17 (see 1976a).
Attended the Golden Anniversary Symposium of the Linguistic Society of America, Dec. 27 (see 1979c).
Elected Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.
|1975||<title render="italic">N. S. Trubetzkoy's Letters and Notes</title> published.|
Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University; conferment ceremony, March 18. Lectured at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Israel Institute for Poetics and Semiotics, Tel Aviv, March 23.
Lectured at Wolfson College, Oxford University, May 16-17.
Lectured at Bielefeld University, May 21-22; University of Cologne, May 26-27; the Rheinisch-Westfalische Akademie, Dusseldorf, May 28 (see 1977d).
|1976||Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Letters, Columbia University; conferment ceremony, May 12.|
Visited Scandinavia, with lectures at Lund University, Sept. 4-5; University of Stockholm, Sept. 8; Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sept. 9; Norwegian Society of Linguistics, Oslo, Sept. 11-12.
Attended the Johns Hopkins University Centennial Celebration: The Charles Sanders Peirce Symposium on Semiotics and the Arts, Sept. 26 (see 1977e).
|1977||Elected Foreign Member, Humanities Section, Societas Scientarum Fennica.|
|1978||Attended the International Conference on the Semiotics of Art at the University of Michigan, May 3-6, with a lecture on "The Significance of Sounds in Speech and Poetry."|
Attended the Tribute to Claude Lévi-Strauss at the U.S. Embassy, Paris, Nov. 8 (see 1985p).
|1979||<title render="italic">Selected Writings</title>, vol. 5: <title render="italic">On Verse, Its Masters and Explorers</title> and <title render="italic">The Sound Shape of Language</title> (with Linda R. Waugh) published.|
Attended the Jerusalem Einstein Centennial Symposium, March 16 (see 1980f).
Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy, Copenhagen University, June 1.
Lectured on "Some Urgent Linguistic Tasks" at Moscow State University, Sept. 29 (see 1985f).
Attended The International Symposium on the Problem of Unconscious Mental Activity under the auspices of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, Tbilisi, Oct. 1-5 (see 1978f).
|1980||<title render="italic">Dialogues</title> (with Krystyna Pomorska) published.|
Kathryn W. Davis Professor of Slavic Studies, Wellesley College, with lectures on "Unusual Paths of Russian Language, Literature and Culture," Feb. 12, March 4 and March 18.
Lectured on "Brain and Language" at the University of Minnesota, March 13; Yale University, April 23; New York University, May 6 (see 1980e).
|1981||<title render="italic">Selected Writings</title>, vol. III: <title render="italic">Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry</title> published.|
Awarded the International Feltrinelli Prize for Philology and Linguistics, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, Jan. 16 (see 1981m).
Awarded Honorary Doctorates, Brandeis University, May 24; Oxford University, June 24.
|1982||Awarded the Hegel-Preis of the International Hegel Society and the City of Stuttgart (see 1984a).|
Died on July 18 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Scope and Contents of the Collection
While the scope and content notes with each series of guide to the Roman Jakobson papers describe the contents of the collection sequentially, this note provides a topical overview of Jakobson's life and accomplishments and suggests where in the collection material on a topic may be found. Because so much revolves around Czechoslovakia, a discussion of relevant material is first, followed by a description of materials on specific scholarly topics.
Jakobson came to Czechoslovakia as a young man of twenty-four in 1920 as a member of the first Soviet foreign mission. There he continued his education, adopted Czechoslovakia as his cultural homeland, became a professor of linguistics, and established a reputation as one of the foremost linguistic scholars of pre-war Europe.
Unfortunately, the collection contains little material from this crucial and formative period of Jakobson's life. In 1939, when he fled to escape Nazi persecution, most of his personal and professional papers were lost. A few items, including correspondence with Count N. S. Trubetzkoy and some of his notebooks of lectures, were hidden by friends and later sent to him in the United States.
As a press attaché of the first communist government in Europe, Jakobson was often viewed with suspicion, both personally and professionally (see Series 7). However, as he continued his studies in Prague and later taught at Masaryk University in Brno, participating actively in the intellectual and artistic life of the country, his contributions won him the respect of his colleagues and new countrymen (see writings about Jakobson between 1920 and 1939).
Jakobson was one of the founders in 1926 of the famous Prague Linguistic Circle, and he served as vice-president for thirteen years. Originally an association of six linguists, it grew into the most advanced and influential linguistic school of thought in pre-war Europe. Unfortunately, no papers survive from this important era in Jakobson's life.
Also lacking is documentation on Devetsil, an avant-garde group of prominent young poets, writers, and artists who enthusiastically supported new socialist ideas. (They chose for their name the Czech word for a healing herb.) Two poems by Vítězslav Nezval, an outstanding young poet and member of Devetsil, written for Jakobson and probably in Nezval's hand, can be found in General Correspondence (Subseries 8A, box 119c, folder 94). There are also some letters from another member, Jaroslav Seifert, winner of the 1984 Nobel Prize for Literature. These letters are from the 1960s and are filed in Universities - Foreign (Series 3, box 4, folders 19-22). Jakobson's activities as a professor of linguistics at Masaryk University from 1930 to 1939 are documented in lecture notes and course outlines. These provide comprehensive summaries of some of Jakobson's views and research on Czech medieval poetry, Russian phonology and grammar, and the Byzantine mission (Subseries 6B, Unpublished Writings, box 31).
The collection also contains a nearly complete record of Jakobson's scholarly output from the Czech years, copies of and some background material for nearly 300 articles and studies he wrote between 1926 and 1939 (Subseries 6A, Published Writings). As his reputation grew, he received increasing support from the Czech scholarly community, which recognized his contribution to the development of Czech linguistics and literary analysis (Series 7, box 38).
Jakobson's ties to Czechoslovakia remained strong after his escape in 1939. His respect for Czech culture and tradition were publicized in Moudrost starých Čechů (The Wisdom of the Old Czechs), his detailed defense of Czech culture against the pseudo-scientific attacks promoted by Nazi collaborators (boxes 9 & 10). The work was the result of extensive study and research, reflected partially in previously published articles (1938i, 1939f, & 1939g) and documented further by extensive research notes.
Once in the United States, Jakobson contributed to Czech journals and Czech American newspapers (see Subseries 6a, Published Writings) and spoke out strongly against Czech emigré author Egon Hostovsky for portraying Czech intellectuals as Nazi collaborators in his book Seven Times in the Main Role. Jakobson argued that writers should be held morally responsible for what they publish. This position embroiled him in a debate with other emigrés who advocated artistic freedom under any circumstances. Jakobson's arguments and the fierce attacks of his opponents are well documented (box 32, folders 47 & 48; box 38, folder 48).
After the Communists took power in Czechoslovakia in 1948, Jakobson's ties with the country were cut off. Under the liberal Dubcek regime, Jakobson was invited to attend the Slavic Congress held in Prague in 1968. His second visit followed the Soviet invasion in 1969 when Jakobson attended a symposium on Constantine the Philosopher. Jakobson sensed that it might be his last visit and delivered a moving address at the close of the symposium expressing his undiminished affection for the country and heritage in which he had spent his early manhood (Unpublished Writings, box 35, folder 19).
Jakobson continued to correspond with friends in Czechoslovakia. Letters from friends such as linguist Bohuslav Havranek and Ladislav Novomesky, writer, poet, friend, and member of Devetsil, reveal the close ties Jakobson maintained with that country. The correspondence with Jan Mukarovsky, an eminent structuralist and close friend, ends in 1948, when Mukarovsky recanted his former work and rejected his friends.
Researchers looking for material on specific topics should look first in Published Writings. The documentation of Jakobson's published work is organized chronologically, based on Stephen Rudy's bibliography ( Roman Jakobson 1896-1982: A Complete Bibliography of His Writings, 1990), but the topical arrangement of Selected Writings can be used as a subject guide. The Published Writings section includes a large amount of notes and background material on the subjects Jakobson wrote about, filed with the appropriate articles. The material in Published Writings is not referred to in this description. See instead the Scope and Contents note for Series 6.
General Linguistics and Structuralism
The term "structuralism" was probably first used by Jakobson at the I International Congress of Linguistics in The Hague in 1928. Jakobson and the Prague Linguistic School developed the structuralist and functional approach to language and the concept of markedness, starting in the area of phonology, which was later extended to morphology and syntax.
Jakobson continued to develop his particular method of structural analysis throughout his career. He first introduced it to American students in his courses at École Libre and Columbia. As an early example we have notes for a course called "Structural Linguistic Analysis" from the 1940s (box 32, folder 38).
The principles of structural analysis and the concept of a synchronic and diachronic view of language are summarized in transcripts of two lectures Jakobson gave in Prague in 1957: "Synchronie a diachronie v jazykovědě" and "Zásady strukturální analýzy" (box 34, folders 37-42). Drafts and numerous notes for an entry for Enciclopedia Italiana in the 1970s summarize Jakobson's most general ideas of structuralism (Unpublished Writings, box 36, folders 1-15).
Jakobson's linguistic studies are represented in the collection by his lectures, of which there are transcripts, tapes, and notes. In 1976-1977 Jakobson presented a number of lectures on the history of linguistics in which he gave an overview of the development of the field. These include "Saussurean and Contemporary Linguistics" of 1965, the "History of Linguistics" series from the 1970s, "Six Decades I have Witnessed" of 1976, "Three Lectures" and "Remarks on Structuralism" of 1976, and "Present Vistas" given at MIT in 1977 (box 36).
Jakobson's early linguistic research was oriented to phonology and done with the cooperation of other prominent linguists such as Horace Lunt, Morris Halle, and Gunnar Fant. This research is documented in materials related to his activities at Harvard and MIT. For more detailed information, see the Scope and Contents note for Universities - United States - Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The records filed under "Linguistics" and "Research Laboratory of Electronics" document research in communication processes (box 3, folders 74 -77 & 80-82).
One of the richest sources on linguistics in the unpublished material is the complete transcript of ten lectures presented at the International Seminar in Linguistic Theory in Tokyo in 1967 (where Jakobson presented his linguistic theories in detail). It is likely that it was for these lectures that Jakobson drew together his notes on various areas of linguistics, now filed in Unpublished Writings, box 35, folders 32-57.
During his career, Jakobson made major contributions to the study of Slavic antiquities, literature, mythology, and folklore, both oral and written, as well as poetics and comparative studies.
As early as the 1930s, Jakobson was captivated by the Cyrillo-Methodian mission. Course notes from classes taught at Masaryk University in 1936-1937 show that his interest was not only from the linguistic perspective, i.e., Church-Slavonic as the oldest Slavic script and literary language, but from a social viewpoint as well. He saw in the work of Constantine the Philosopher (Cyril) the earliest evidence of attempts at national self-determination and the first manifestation of democratic ideals (box 31, folders 79 & 80). Notes from the 1950s concerning the Christianization of the Slavs offer more insight into Jakobson's views on the significance of the subject (box 33, folders 29 & 30).
While Jakobson's scholarly contributions to Slavic studies were many, his efforts to encourage and support the spread of Slavic programs in the United States and Europe were equally important. Once in the United States, Jakobson became a leading figure in the organization of Slavic departments at Columbia and Harvard, and he helped find jobs for many emigrants from Nazi Europe (box 2, folders 13-15 & 29-31). Notes and drafts of courses and lectures on Slavic history and civilization illustrate the material he used to train a new generation of Slavists (Unpublished Writings, box 32).
Jakobson worked tirelessly to organize Slavists in an international network. Correspondence, work plans, resolutions, minutes, and reports document his organizing efforts and his participation in Slavic conferences, congresses, and symposia. Records of the Slavic International Congresses and the International Committee of Slavists present a picture of an international community of scholars and Jakobson's influence on that community, as well as an outline of the development of Slavic studies in the United States over a period of forty years (boxes 4 & 5). Additional material on Slavic congresses and publications is found in Universities - United States - Harvard University (Dumbarton Oaks, box 2, folder 47). Included is Jakobson's correspondence with his longtime colleague and friend, Byzantine scholar Father Francis Dvorník.
Jakobson, a Russian native, taught Russian language and literature throughout his life. Notes from his earliest lectures from Brno deal with all aspects of the Russian language, especially Russian phonology (box 31, folders 48-60). The course notes represent the essence of Jakobson's approach to Russian studies, showing all his innovations in linguistics, most significantly the development of his theory of distinctive features.
Jakobson continued to develop his phonological investigation of the Russian language at Harvard in the early 1950s. With Gunnar Fant and Morris Halle, he systematically defined the relationships among all known phonetic features (box 2, folders 55-59; box 6, folders 37 & 38).
Drafts and extensive notes document Jakobson's work on Russian morphology (Russian declension, nouns, and verbs) where Jakobson applied the principles he discovered in his phonological studies. The material documents Jakobson's innovative approach to the study of the structure of the verb and the Russian case system. There are, in all, ten courses on Russian, including a comprehensive set of lecture notes from the Harvard years.
Numerous notes and drafts illustrate his interest in Russian literature. Much of Jakobson's work on Russian epic tradition is documented in his work on the Igor' Tale, the classic epic, the authenticity of which Jakobson demonstrated in 1948 in La Geste du Prince Igor (Scope and Contents note, Published Writings). Jakobson's relationship with his friend Vladimir Maíàkovskii found expression in his structural insights into several of Maíàkovskii's poems (see Published Writings). In an interview with Swedish radio Jakobson remembered him as a friend as well as a poet (box 36, folder 35). There is also a transcript of a discussion at the Institute of World Literatures in Moscow in 1956 where Jakobson talked about his publications about Maíàkovskii and his relationship with Teodor Nette (box 34, folder 36).
Jakobson's work on Russian poetess Marina Tsvetaeva is documented in a response to Simon Karlinsky's review of the English translation of Tsvetaeva's poems. Jakobson analyzed her poem "Pis'm" (A Letter) in detail and drafted a short article criticizing Karlinsky's failure to understand her verses (box 34, folders 94-96; box 35, folder 1). Notes for studies on Pasternak, Esenin, and Pushkin document more of Jakobson's work on Russian poetry (box 35, folders 10, 22-27).
As a major Russian scholar, Jakobson was asked to act as consultant on several projects with other scholars and institutions. Correspondence with Wayne State University, 1963-1967, documents his role as consultant on the publication of a new Russian dictionary (box 4, folder 6) and a Russian textbook published by the Nature Method Center. The textbook's method was based on learning vocabulary and grammatical structure in the situational context (box 30, folders 73-77).
In 1980 Jakobson presented a series of lectures, "Universal Paths of Russian Language, Literature, and Culture," at Wellesley College. Notes for this series summarize his work and views on Russian language and literature (box 36, folders 74-80).
According to Umberto Eco in "The Influence of Roman Jakobson on the Development of Semiotics," Jakobson was "the major catalyst in the contemporary semiotic reaction," and his entire work was a quest for semiotics. Jakobson's linguistic writings testify to that observation.
Jakobson himself did not publish extensively on the subject of semiotics. We have only notes contained in four folders in Unpublished Writings (box 35, folders 65-68). He gave important lectures on the subject, however, such as "Signatum a Designatum" delivered at the Colloque International de Semiologie in Krazmierz, Poland, in 1966, of which we have a draft (box 34, folder 77). There are also notes for "Some Questions of Linguistic Semantics," given in Moscow in 1966, and other lectures given in Chicago and France in 1970 and 1972.
Additional material describing Jakobson's interest in the subject of semiotics is found in records of his participation in semiotic congresses, symposia, conferences, and seminars (box 5, folders 21-23; box 6, folders 4-11), including correspondence with Umberto Eco, Julia Kristeva and others. Some of the letters concern Jakobson's attendance at events and some are related to reviews of books and articles on semiotics, revealing Jakobson's cooperation with the journal Semiotics.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Archives and Special Collections (Copyright 1986)MIT Libraries
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139-4307
The collection is open for research.
Intellectual Property Rights
Access to collections in the Institute Archives and Special Collections is not authorization to publish. Separate written application for permission to publish must be made to the Institute Archives. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection.
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Controlled Access Headings
- Ecole libre des hautes études (New York, N.Y.).
- Masarykova universita v Brně
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Committee for Communications Sciences
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy
- Ossabaw Island Project Foundation
- Pražský linguistický kroužek
- Benveniste, Emile, 1902-1976
- Bruner, Jerome S. (Jerome Seymour)
- Dvornik, Francis, 1893-
- Eco, Umberto
- Fant, Gunnar
- Ferrell, James
- Halle, Morris
- Hand, Wayland Debs, 1907-
- Havránek, Bohuslav
- Holenstein, Elmar
- Jakobson, Roman, 1896-1982
- Lord, Albert Bates
- Lotz, John, 1913-1973
- Lunt, Horace Gray, 1918-
- Lévi-Strauss, Claude
- Moyakovsky, Vladimir
- Mukařovský, Jan
- Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich, 1899-1977
- Nezval, Vitězslav, 1900-1958
- Novemsky, Ladislav
- Picchio, Riccardo, 1923-
- Pirkova, Svatava
- Pomorska, Krystyna
- Ridder, Peter de
- Rudy, Stephen
- Schapiro, Meyer, 1904-1996
- Schmitt, Francis Otto, 1903-1995
- Schoonveld, C. H. van
- Sebeok, Thomas A. (Thomas Albert), 1920-2001
- Seifert, Jaroslav, 1901-1986
- Simmons, Ernest Joseph, 1903-1972
- Sommerfelt, Alf
- Stankiewicz, Edward
- Svejkovsky, Frantisek
- Szeftel, Marc
- Trubetskoi, Nikolai Sergeevich, kniaz, 1890-1938
- Tsvetaeva, Marina, 1892-1941
- Wasson, Roger G.
- Waugh, Linda R.
- Wellek, Rene
- Whatmough, Joshua, 1897-1964
- Wolfson, Harry Austryn, 1897-1974
- Worth, Dean S.
- Czech language--Research.
- Czech literature--Research.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology--Faculty.
- Slavic languages--Research.
- Slavic literature--Research.
- Structuralism (Literary analysis)--History.
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Jakobson, Roman. Selected Writings. 8 vols. ʾs-Gravenhage: Mouton, 1962-1988 MIT Libraries
Roman Jakobson, 1896-1982: A Complete Bibliography of His Writings, compiled and edited by Stephen Rudy. Berlin; New York : Mouton de Gruyter, 1990. MIT Libraries
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Index of Correspondents
Series 8, alphabetical correspondence, not included in this index. Researchers are advised to check names in both this index and the folder list for Series 8.
- Aalto, Pentti: folder 5:29
- Abrams, Samuel: folder 6:39
- Adrianova Peretz, V.: folders 11:28-31
- Ahrends, Günther: folders 4:34-35
- Albrecht, Pavel: folder 4:13
- Allen, W. S.: folder 26:55
- Almeida, D. de: folder 5:50
- Alonso, Damaso: folder 4:55
- Altbauer, Moshe: folder 30:10
- Ambak, Emilio: folder 6:23
- Amsterdamski, Stefan: folder 4:52
- Anderson, Virgil A.: folder 5:78
- Andic, V. E.: folder 5:88
- Andreǐchin, L.: folder 22:73
- Angere, I.: folders 13:67-70
- Arlandi, Gian Franco: folders 5:47-48
- Armstrong, Daniel: folder 1:58
- Arndt, Richard T.: folder 5:82
- Arnold, Godfrey E.: folders 12:44-46
- Aubert, Marcel: folders 11:28-31
- Audibert, Louis: folders 27:60-62, 28:52
- Austerlitz, Robert: folders 13:41-42
- Auty, Robert: folders 4:77, 4:89, 6:39
- Avanesov, R. I.: folders 4:68, 4:74
- Badiou, A.: folder 4:31
- Bailey, Richard W.: folder 5:18
- Baird, Cynthia: folder 4:7
- Bakhmeteff, Boris A.: folders 11:28-31
- Bakvis, Claude: folder 4:74
- Bar Hillel, Yehoshua: folder 5:53
- Barricot, John: folder 13:8
- Basilius, Harold A.: folders 12:44-46
- Baskakov, V. N.: folder 24:17
- Bassine, F. V.: folder 5:55
- Bataillon, Marcel: folder 23:12
- Baumgärtner, Klaus: folder 16:91
- Bayerová, Libuše: folders 4:19-22
- Bazell, C. R.: folders 12:44-46
- Beaulieux, Léon: folders 11:28-31
- Bedeschi, Giuseppe: folder 36:15
- Beebe, John Fred: folders 13:67-70
- Bellert, Irena: folder 4:18
- Beloded, I.: folder 4:85
- Belosel'skiǐ, Sergeǐ: folder 2:48
- Benedict, Katherine H.: folders 11:28-31
- Beneš, Pavel: folders 4:19-22
- Benveniste, Émile: folders 11:28-31, 12:44-46
- Ben Zvi, Yehiel: folder 4:41
- Berardinelli, Cleonice: folder 18:44
- Bergsland, Knut: folders 12:44-46
- Berkowitz, Diane: folder 3:100
- Berlin, Isaiah: folder 4:28
- Bernardini, Gilberto: folder 4:42
- Bernet, Rudolf: folder 4:13
- Bernstein, Marver H.: folder 3:101
- Bernstein, Richard J.: folders 6:44-45
- Betz, E. H.: folder 4:15
- Bezasse, R.: folder 4:31
- Bghdoyan, Shogher: folder 6:24
- Bierwisch, Manfred: folder 4:36
- Billington, James H.: folder 6:41
- Birnbaum, Henrik: folders 3:107, 22:88-91
- Biron, Robert H.: folder 3:108
- Bishop, Thomas: folder 3:119
- Blache, Stephen: folder 4:18
- Blane, Andrew: folders 19:66-68, 22:110
- Blankoff, Jean: folder 4:14
- Blanquart, E.: folder 5:29
- Bloch, C. E.: folder 1:4
- Bloch, Inles: folders 11:28-31
- Blonsky, Marshall: folders 5:47-48
- Bluhme, H.: folder 5:36
- Blumensath, Heinz: folder 3:125
- Blumenthal, Gerda R.: folder 4:10
- Blumstein, Sheila E.: folder 26:55
- Bolelli, Tristano: folders 4:42, 4:43, 4:45
- Bolinger, Dwight: folder 6:3
- Bond, Godfrey W.: folder 4:28
- Bonfante, Giuliano: folder 4:43
- Bonino, Davico Guido: folder 7:53
- Bonnier, Koukla: folder 27:60-62
- Borbé, Tasso: folders 5:47-48
- Borchette, Margot: folder 21:19
- Borgerhoff, E. B. O.: folder 3:125
- Borgström, Carl Hj.: folders 12:44-46
- Bormanzhikov, Arash: folder 4:73
- Borovičková, Blanka: folders 4:19-22
- Borowitz, Sidney: folder 6:27
- Bostrong Kruckenberg, Anita: folder 4:57
- Bouda, K.: folders 12:44-46
- Bouissac, Paul: folders 6:9, 19:39
- Bowra, Maurice: folder 19:39
- Bradford, Albert: folder 6:33
- Bradley, William: folder 6:38
- Branca, Vittore: folder 4:44
- Brang, Peter: folder 4:58
- Brettschneider, Gunter: folder 26:78
- Broch, Olaf: folders 11:28-31, 12:9
- Brodzka, Alina: folder 30:19
- Bronowski, J.: folders 3:108, 6:39
- Brown, Demig: folders 4:71-72
- Brown, Edward J.: folder 3:102
- Brown, F. Seth: folder 3:108
- Brown, James I.: folders 6:44-45
- Brugsch, Heinrich G.: folder 27:3
- Bruner, Jerome S.: folders 4:28, 5:81
- Buchsbaum, Betty: folder 3:100
- Bundy, McGeorge: folder 4:77
- Burbank, John H., Jr.: folder 23:39
- Burbank, Suzanne G.: folder 23:39
- Burgi, Richard: folder 4:70
- Busch, Laura: folder 3:100
- Byvanek, A. W.: folder 1:4
- Caceres, Velasquez Artidoro: folder 4:51
- Câmara, J. Mattoso, Jr.: folders 12:44-46, 18:44
- Campos, Haroldo de: folders 4:16, 16:91, 18:44
- Canonge, Elliott D.: folders 12:44-46
- Cantineau, J.: folders 11:28-31
- Čapek, Milič: folder 5:88
- Cappelletti, Vincenzo: folder 36:15
- Carene, Carlo: folder 28:110
- Carlsson, Sten: folder 4:57
- Carmel, Yosef: folder 4:41
- Carrasco Zanini, Juan: folder 4:49
- Carrelli, Antonio: folder 4:43
- Carter, Penny: folder 27:48
- Cerulli, Enrico: folders 4:42-43, 21:19
- Červenka, Miroslav: folders 4:19-22
- Chalupecký, Jindřich: folders 4:19-22
- Chalupný, Emil: folders 4:19-22
- Chapin, Paul G.: folder 6:26
- Charbonneau, René: folder 5:32
- Chatman, Seymour: folder 5:49
- Chatterji, Suniti Kumar: folder 5:36
- Cheremeteff, Serge: folders 11:28-31, 12:9
- Chertok, Léon: folders 5:54-55
- Chmelař, Vilém: folders 4:19-22
- Cibulka, Josef: folders 4:19-22
- Čiževskij, Dmitrij: folders 11:28-31
- Clair, Jean: folder 5:82
- Clark, Mary C.: folder 4:10
- Clemens, Cyril: folders 6:44-45
- Cocuzzi, Antonio L.: folder 4:43
- Coder, David: folder 6:25
- Cohen, Marcel: folder 30:110
- Cohen, Yehezkel: folders 5:40, 27:25
- Colaclides, Peter (Pierre): folders 17:70-72, 23:5, 28:34
- Cole, Desmond: folders 12:44-46
- Colucci, Michele: folders 22:10-12
- Comer, Suzanne: folder 4:4
- Cone, Edward: folder 3:125
- Contini, Gianfranco: folder 17:35
- Cook, K.: folder 4:29
- Corman, Cid: folder 4:47
- Corti, Maria: folder 17:35
- Coteanu, I.: folder 23:44
- Coudert, Ferdinand W.: folder 5:87
- Cowan, J. M.: folder 5:68
- Curschmann, Michael: folder 5:38
- Cutter, Preston S.: folder 5:79
- Cýrívski, D.: folders 11:28-31
- D'Andrea, Thomas: folder 4:10
- D'Arms, Edward F.: folders 6:37-38
- Dal, Erik: folder 2:47
- Dallin, Alexander: folder 3:112
- Daneš, František: folders 4:19-22
- Daňhelka, Jirří: folders 4:19-22, 13:51
- Daugherty, D. H.: folder 5:68
- Davies, R. T.: folder 3:102
- Delacroix, Denise: folder 3:105
- Delatre, Pierre: folder 26:55
- Derbyshire, William W.: folder 4:10
- Der Manuelian, Haig: folder 6:24
- De Somer, P.: folder 4:14
- Devoto, Giacomo: folder 6:8
- Dewey, Horace W.: folders 4:70, 73
- Diamandopoulos, Peter: folder 3:100
- Diemer, Alwin: folder 5:59
- DiGiovanna, Joseph: folder 5:41
- Di Giovanna, Joseph J.: folder 4:45
- Dil, Anwar S.: folder 24:5
- Dix, William S.: folder 3:125
- Djahukian, G. B.: folder 5:39
- Docter, J. H.: folder 6:39
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- Scatton, Ernest: folder 28:64
- Schaff, Adam: folders 5:2-4, 5:28, 5:59, 6:39
- Schapiro, Meyer: folders 3:119, 5:40, 6:10-11, 6:39, 14:21, 17:35, 19:39, 23:79, 27:3, 35:75
- Schenker, Alexander M.: folders 4:9, 4:70, 28:51
- Scherrer, Philip: folders 11:28-31
- Scheuner, U.: folder 4:39
- Schlosser, Patricia: folder 3:102
- Schmidt, J. E.: folders 6:44-45
- Schmitt, Franvis O.: folders 6:44-45
- Schnaiderman, Boris: folder 27:59
- Schneider, H.: folders 11:28-31, 12:9
- Schnelle, H.: folders 4:34, 27:3
- Schobinger, Jean Pierre: folder 4:58
- Schooneveld, Cornelius H.van: folders 1:58, 4:68, 4:74, 5:86, 22:110
- Schultz, Milan: folders 4:19-22
- Schultze, H.: folder 20:75
- Schwarzenberg, František: folder 5:88
- Scollon, Ronald: folder 26:55
- Sebeok, Thomas A.: folders 3:115, 6:5, 6:7-10, 6:17, 12:44-46, 13:67-70, 23:23, 23:59
- Sedláková, Miluše: folders 4:19-22
- See, Richard: folder 6:26
- Segal, Dmitrij: folders 27:63, 28:9, 30:24
- Segre, Cesare: folders 5:21-22, 6:9-11, 17:35, 26:55
- Seifert, Jaroslav: folders 4:19-22
- Seiler, Hansjakob: folders 4:39, 5:36, 6:7, 6:32, 25:14
- Senn, Alfred: folders 4:68, 4:71, 4:73-74, 4:76, 11:28-31
- Šerech, Jury: folders 11:28-31, 12:9
- Setchkareff, Vsevolov: folder 5:9
- Ševčenko, Ihor: folders 2:47, 5:24, 12:9
- Shakhmatov, A.: folders 28:72-73
- Shapiro, David: folder 6:18
- Sherozia, Apolon: folder 5:55
- Shevelov, George Y.: folders 4:70-71
- Shimkin, Demitri B.: folders 12:44-46
- Shulman, Marshall: folders 4:15, 5:66
- Sieveking, Vincent: folders 5:47-48
- Signatary: folder 6:8
- Signorini, Simonetta: folder 4:45
- Sigurd, Bengt: folders 4:56, 25:53, 30:24
- Simmons, Ernest J.: folders 4:68, 4:70-71, 4:73, 5:68, 11:28-31
- Simmons, John S. G.: folder 13:8
- Simonsohn, S.: folder 4:41
- Sivertsen, Eva: folder 4:50
- Skardžius, Pranas: folder 5:87
- Skinhøj, Erik: folder 4:27
- Škvorecký, Josef: folder 28:86
- Skwarczyńska, Stefania: folders 5:2-4, 6:9, 13:83
- Slater, J. E.: folders 5:40, 6:39
- Smallwood, Anne: folder 4:28
- Smetánka, Emil: folder 119:58
- Smith, Esther Elder: folder 5:78
- Smith, Henry Lee, Jr.: folders 12:44-46
- Smith, Svend: folders 12:44-46
- Sodamura, Tadashi: folders 20:11-13
- Soffiette, James P.: folders 12:44-46
- Sokol, Elena: folder 30:48
- Soloviev, Alexandre: folders 11:28-31, 15:77
- Solovnik, A.: folder 13:8
- Sommer, Jason: folder 3:100
- Sommerfeld, Aimée: folder 4:50
- Sommerfeld, Alf: folders 1:4, 5:36
- Součková, Milada: folders 25:33, 28:52, 28:86
- Sovijarvi, Anti: folders 5:35-36
- Spillner, Bernd: folder 4:39
- Spongano, Raffaele: folder 4:45
- Springer, George P.: folders 13:67-70
- Spurr, Jeffrey B.: folders 6:44-45
- St.Clair Sobell, James O.: folder 4:74
- Stahr, Elvis J.: folder 3:115
- Stankiewicz, Edward: folders 3:109, 4:71, 22:99 101, 28:51
- Stankov, V.: folder 26:68
- Stanojčić, Živojin: folder 22:22
- Stavěl, Cyrillus: folders 9:12-15
- Steele, Richard D.: folder 28:64
- Stegagno Picchio, Luciana: folders 4:43, 18:44
- Steiner, Peter: folder 36:69
- Steiner, Wendy: folder 5:18
- Steinitz, Inge: folder 23:59
- Steinitz, Renata: folder 23:59
- Steinitz, Wolfgang: folder 4:36
- Stenbok Fermor, Elizabeth: folders 11:28-31
- Stender Peterson, Adolph: folders 4:69, 4:76
- Štěpán, Václav: folders 4:19-22
- Stevens, Kenneth N.: folder 6:3
- Stewart, Duncan: folders 4:28-29
- Stieglitz, Harry: folder 4:15
- Stilman, Leon: folder 4:73
- Stoikov, Stoiko: folder 6:38
- Stojadinović, Miloslav: folder 19:79
- Stoltz, Merton P.: folder 3:102
- Stolz, Benjamin A.: folders 5:18, 24:68
- Stone, Sheppard: folder 6:3
- Strada, Vittorio: folder 28:110
- Strakhovsky, Leonid: folder 4:70
- Strelsky, Nikander: folder 5:68
- Strunk, Klaus: folder 4:33
- Strunk, Oliver: folders 2:47, 29:49-51
- Struve, Gleb: folder 4:70
- Struve, L.: folders 11:28-31, 12:9
- Studdert Kennedy, Michael: folder 26:55
- Šturm, Rudolf: folders 3:119, 5:88
- Sulowski, Jan: folder 23:23
- Sus, Oleg: folders 4:19-22, 4:70
- Sutton, Francis X.: folder 6:3
- Sutton, Joseph L.: folder 3:115
- Švejda, Jiří: folders 4:19-22
- Svejkovský, František: folders 4:19-22, 16:108-110, 30:60
- Švelec, Franjo: folder 4:60
- Svoboda, Victor: folder 3:121
- Swayree, Cleon O.: folder 6:3
- Sweeney, John L.: folder 14:21
- Swiggart, Peter: folder 19:39
- Szawola: folder 25:14
- Szeftel, Marc: folders 11:28-31, 12:9, 19:66-68
- Szépe, György: folders 5:47-48, 6:9
- Szymczak, Mieczysław: folders 4:52, 5:4
- Sørensen, Holger Steen: folder 4:27
- Takahashi, M.: folders 13:67-70
- Talbot, Alice Mary: folder 2:47
- Tartak, I. L.: folders 11:28-31
- Taylor, Douglas MacRae: folder 26:55
- Tellez, Pedro Berruecos: folder 4:49
- Testa, Daniel P.: folder 4:3
- Thass Thienemann, Theodore: folder 20:75
- Thomas, Lawrence L.: folder 4:70
- Thompson, John: folders 6:1, 6:31
- Thomson, David Cleghorn: folder 1:4
- Tichý, F. R.: folders 4:19-22
- Tigrid, Pavel: folders 4:19-22
- Tikhova, Maríà: folders 29:49-51
- Titunik, I. R.: folders 8:88-90
- Togelez, K.: folders 12:44-46
- Tolbert, W. M.: folder 3:112
- Tolstoǐ , N. I.: folder 4:75
- Towner, Lawrence W.: folder 5:16
- Trabant, Jürgen: folders 4:42, 28:72-73
- Trávníček, František: folder 119:58
- Trebiatowski, Włodzimierz: folders 5:3-4
- Treugutt, Stefan: folder 4:52
- Trojan, Felix: folder 5:36
- Trubetzkoy, N. S.: folder 28:110
- Trypučko, Josef: folders 11:28-31
- Tuchman, Maurice: folder 6:18
- Turner, Gordon B.: folders 5:3, 5:9, 5:11, 5:68
- Turski, Stanisław: folder 4:52
- Twaddell, W. Freeman: folders 12:44-46
- Tyler, William R.: folder 2:47
- Ughi, Ignazio: folder 4:45
- Uhlenbeck, E. M.: folders 13:67-70
- Uhrskov, Eva: folder 4:27
- Unbegaun, Boris: folders 11:28-31
- Václaková, Jaroslava: folders 4:19-22
- Václavek, Bedřich: folders 8:29-40
- Valesio, Paolo: folder 17:35
- Valjavec, Fritz: folders 11:28-31
- Vallier, Dora: folders 4:28, 6:4, 27:60-62, 35:75
- Valoch, Jiří: folders 4:19-22
- Van Breda, Herman Leo: folder 4:13
- Vance, Eugene: folder 25:42
- Van der Pol, Balthazar: folders 12:44-46
- Van Dessel, Nora: folder 4:14
- Van Dijk, Teun A.: folder 26:61
- Vašica, J.: folder 30:110
- Vasmer, Max: folder 4:69
- Vassiliev, V. M.: folders 11:28-31, 12:9
- Velimirović, Miloš: folders 29:49-51
- Verbeke, G.: folder 4:14
- Vergun, D. N.: folders 11:28-31
- Vernadsky, George: folders 11:28-31
- Verón, Eliseo: folder 4:11
- Verosky, Joan: folders 13:67-70
- Veyrenc, J.: folder 4:31
- Vickery, Walter: folder 3:123
- Vidal, Anne-Marie: folder 5:76
- Viebahn, Renate von: folder 3:121
- Vinder, Josef: folder 35:75
- Vinogradov, V. V.: folders 4:68, 4:76-77, 4:84
- Vittitow, Patricia T.: folder 3:100
- Vitula, Jiří: folders 4:19-22
- Vlášek, J.: folders 4:19-22, 119:58
- Vodička, Felix: folders 4:19-22
- Voegelin, Ermine W.: folder 5:65
- Vogt, Hans: folder 4:50
- Voigt, Melvin J.: folder 3:108
- Voigt, Vilmos: folder 23:59
- Volek, Bronislava: folders 4:19-22
- Vorlat, Emma: folder 4:13
- Voss, John: folders 5:4, 5:63
- Wade, Allison: folder 6:33
- Wainhouse, Austryn: folder 6:39
- Wallace, W. S.: folders 11:28-31
- Wängler, Hans: folders 5:35-36
- Wapner, Seymour: folder 3:111
- Wardhaugh, Ronald: folder 4:10
- Wasson, Roger Gordon: folders 4:31, 5:84-87
- Waugh, Linda R.: folders 3:113, 4:3, 26:55
- Weaver, Warren: folder 6:37
- Weems, Benjamin F.: folder 4:18
- Weil, Irwin: folder 3:124
- Weinreich, Max: folder 6:41
- Weinreich, Uriel: folders 3:112, 4:73-74, 4:77, 30:110
- Weinrich, W.: folder 4:39
- Weisskopf, Victor F.: folder 5:63
- Wellek, Renė: folders 5:84-85, 11:28-31, 19:39
- Wells, Rulon: folders 12:44-46
- Wendahl, Ronald W.: folders 12:44-46
- Wesep, H. B. van: folder 6:37
- West, Clifford B.: folder 6:31
- West, Elanor Torrey: folders 6:31-33
- Whatmough, Joshua: folders 11:28-31, 12:44-46
- White, Elaine F.: folder 3:100
- Whitfield, Frank J.: folder 4:70
- Wierczyński, Stefan: folder 13:83
- Wierzbianska, Barbara: folder 6:36
- Wiggins, Henry: folder 3:117
- Wiktorow, Klaudia: folder 3:121
- Williams, Frank: folder 4:28
- Winkler, Christian: folder 6:4
- Winner, Thomas G.: folders 3:102, 4:73, 4:76, 28:34
- Wolff, Etienne: folder 4:32
- Wolfson, Harry A.: folders 9:12-15, 13:83
- Wolinksu, Wanda: folder 6:36
- Wollman, Slavomír: folders 4:19-22, 4:88-91
- Wolpert, Vladimir M.: folders 4:28, 4:37
- Wood, C. B.: folder 6:33
- Woodward, Vann C.: folder 5:68
- Worth, Dean S.: folders 4:28, 4:87-91, 5:1-4, 5:11, 13:67-70, 28:64
- Wünschová, Felicita: folders 4:19-22
- Wynne, Lorraine: folder 3:121
- Yakobson, Sergius: folders 1:4, 28:110
- Yamaguchi, Hideo: folder 4:47
- Yamaguchi, Takehisa: folder 4:47
- Yilmaz, Hüsseyn: folder 4:8
- York, Herbert: folder 3:108
- Young, Manoog S.: folder 6:24
- Zack, Léon: folder 23:59
- Zagiba, Franz: folder 4:64
- Zakrewski, Bogdan: folder 26:74
- Zakrzewski, Michal S.: folder 6:32
- Zarechnak, Michael: folder 5:88
- Zawacki, Edmund: folder 4:69
- Zenkl, Petr: folder 1:7
- Zepl, Stewart: folder 27:3
- Zerner, Henri: folder 21:19
- Zhechev, T.: folder 28:21
- Zhirmunskiǐ, Vitaliǐ: folders 11:28-31
- Zide, Norman: folder 3:109
- Zollinger, Heinrich: folder 4:34
- Zorina, Libuše: folders 4:19-22
- Zółkiewski, Stefan: folder 4:52
- Zubini, Xavier: folder 4:55
- Zwicky, A. M.: folder 3:110
- Zwirner, Eberhard: folders 5:30, 5:35-37
- Zych, Wiestaw: folder 5:4
Return to Table of Contents »
Series 1. Biographical Materials
Scope and Contents note
This small series provides an overall picture of Jakobson's life and professional career. Although there is some material from the earlier years in Russia and from Czechoslovakia during the inter-war period, the bulk of the series documents the post-World War II era in the United States. The material is arranged by subject, then chronologically within subjects.
There is little material from Jakobson's student days in Russia. The only official record from Moscow University that survived mentions his receipt of the Buslaev Prize in 1915 (for his work on North Russian folk epics), his graduation, and his two years at Moscow University, where he remained after graduation in 1918 as a research associate preparing for an academic career in the Department of Russian Language and Literature. Both the original document in Russian and a 1928 German translation are in the collection. The translation was evidently created for the German University in Prague, where Jakobson received his Ph.D. in linguistics in 1930.
Jakobson's life in Czechoslovakia, from his arrival in 1920 as a member of the first Soviet foreign mission, through his years in Prague, then on the academic staff at Masaryk University in Brno, is represented only in a small amount of correspondence and a few official documents (box 1).
Jakobson considered returning to the Soviet Union, especially after the rise to power of the Nazi party in Germany in 1933, but followed the advice of Czech officials and remained in Czechoslovakia. However, neither Jakobson's acceptance of Czech citizenship in 1937 nor his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy from Judaism in 1938 (box 1, folder 2) could protect him from the Nazis. Correspondence documents his dramatic escape from Czechoslovakia following the German takeover in March 1939 and the efforts of Masaryk University, his brother Sergius, Professor Sommerfelt of the University of Oslo, and Danish and Norwegian authorities to secure Jakobson's safety. Their combined efforts resulted in his departure for Copenhagen on April 23, 1939. The number of Slavists from many countries willing to help attests to the prestige he already enjoyed throughout Europe (box 1, folder 4).
Jakobson arrived in the United States in 1941 and, like other refugees, faced a series of adjustments. A list of over 100 courses he was prepared to teach, as well as resumes and curricula vitae, reveal some of his efforts to secure an academic position (box 1, folder 10). Jakobson's professional activities after his escape from Czechoslovakia in 1939 are documented in his two Reports on Scholarly Activities, probably prepared in support of his permanent appointment at Columbia in 1945. Written in Czech (as he continued to do until 1949), the reports reveal that, despite two years spent intermittently teaching and keeping one step ahead of the Nazis in Denmark, Norway, and finally Sweden, and four years of getting settled in the United States, Jakobson remained a remarkably prolific author (box 1, folders 14 & 15). In addition to the Reports on Scholarly Activities, Jakobson assembled a selection of reviews of his work by notable Slavists, including Meillet, Trubetzkoy, Sommerfelt, and Van Wijk. (For more information on the reviews, see Series 7.)
Like many immigrants in 1941, Jakobson encountered hostility from members of the American academic community who feared that the influx of European intellectuals threatened their jobs. Correspondence and his own curricula vitae describe Jakobson's first appointment in the United States in 1941 at the École Libre des Hautes Études in New York City, a French university in exile, where he was Professor of Linguistics and Slavonics. In 1943 he became Visiting Professor of Comparative Linguistics at Columbia University (box 1, folders 11-13).
Jakobson's professional life is detailed in the Annual Reports he compiled between 1944 and 1982. The reports serve as a main reference source for his activities (box 1, folders 18-36). Honors from universities and scholarly associations, publications or works in progress, conferences and congresses attended, and lists of lectures he gave in the United States and twenty-five other countries document his international importance as a scholar and linguist.
Family correspondence illuminates Jakobson's ties with several members of his family. Letters spanning a period of fifty years document the friendly relationship he maintained with his first wife, Sonya Haas, until her death in 1982 (box 1, folder 75). He remained close to members of her family as well, as letters from his brother-in-law, Hugo Haas, a well known Czech actor, suggest (folder 73). Correspondence with his second wife, Svatava Pirkova Jakobson, attest to professional as well as personal ties between them (folder 76). The loving bond between Jakobson and his mother is documented in a correspondence covering sixty years (folder 78).
The hundreds of letters of condolence received by Krystyna Pomorska Jakobson reveal the extent of Jakobson's personal and professional network throughout the world and the great loss the linguistic community felt at his death in 1982 (box 1, folders 82-86 and box 2, folders 1-4).
Personal Documents: The Soviet Union 1921
Czechoslovakia, Ph.D. diploma 1930
Czechoslovakia: Appointments 1930-1948
Czechoslovakia: Appointments 1934-1947
Czechoslovakia: Escape, including correspondence 1939
United States 1941-1982
United States 1941-1982
Letters of Recommendation 1939-1950
Restricted for 75 years from date of creation.
Zpráva o činnosti pražského linguistického kroužku (Report on the activities of the Prague Linguistic Circle) 1926-1936
List of courses at the Czech Language and Literature Department of the Masaryk University, Brno 1930s
List of Lectures and Courses Offered to American Universities 1941-1942
Resumés and Short Biographies 1940-1982
Reports on Jakobson's Scholarly Activities (1939-1945): Drafts
Reports on Jakobson's Scholarly Activities (1939-1945): Typed versions
Reports on Jakobson's Scholarly Activities (1939-1945): Related material
Annual Reports 1944-1982
Annual Reports 1977
Annual Reports, posters 1969-1977
Annual Reports, posters 1969-1977
Honorary Doctorate, Copenhagen undated
Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Promotion ceremony 1980
Roman Jakobson's Festschrift, correspondence 1965-1966
Roman Jakobson's 80th Birthday Volume 1973-1974