The article concerns the phenomenon of so-called «literary theory» in the West in the second half of the twentieth century. While in the first half of the century literary studies (and humanities in general) sought to justify their own autonomy, i.e. independence from other disciplines and systematic philosophy, struggling against the traditions of the nineteenth century, in the second half of the twentieth century literary theory tried to preserve the autonomy principle of «literariness» and at the same time to go beyond this principle by relying on other disciplines (particularly linguistics). Although the achievements of that trend seem to be controversial and problematic, some questions literary theory raised in its own time are still relevant today.
literary theory; humanities; revolutionary science / normal science; formalistic paradigm; the autonomy principle.