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And with defamiliarization come both the slowing down and the increased difficulty impeding of the process of reading and comprehending and an awareness of the artistic procedures devices causing them. The technique appears in English Romantic poetry, particularly in the poetry of Wordsworth , and was defined in the following way by Samuel Taylor Coleridge , in his Biographia Literaria : "To carry on the feelings of childhood into the powers of manhood; to combine the child's sense of wonder and novelty with the appearances which every day for perhaps forty years had rendered familiar To illustrate what he means by defamiliarization, Shklovsky uses examples from Tolstoy , whom he cites as using the technique throughout his works: "The narrator of ' Kholstomer ,' for example, is a horse, and it is the horse's point of view rather than a person's that makes the content of the story seem unfamiliar.

Ordinary speech and literary language have thereby changed places see the work of Vyacheslav Ivanov and many others. Defamiliarization also includes the use of foreign languages within a work.

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At the time that Shklovsky was writing, there was a change in the use of language in both literature and everyday spoken Russian. As Shklovsky puts it: "Russian literary language, which was originally foreign to Russia , has so permeated the language of the people that it has blended with their conversation.

Narrative plots can also be defamiliarized. The Russian formalists distinguished between the fabula or basic story stuff of a narrative and the syuzhet or the formation of the story stuff into a concrete plot.

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For Shklovsky, the syuzhet is the fabula defamiliarized. What Shklovskij wants to show is that the operation of defamiliarization and its consequent perception in the literary system is like the winding of a watch the introduction of energy into a physical system : both "originate" difference, change, value, motion, presence.


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The use of defamiliarization both differs and defers, since the use of the technique alters one's perception of a concept to defer , and forces one to think about the concept in different, often more complex, terms to differ. The influence of Russian Formalism on twentieth-century art and culture is largely due to the literary technique of defamiliarization or 'making strange', and has also been linked to Freud's notion of the uncanny.

Defamiliarization has been associated with the poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht , whose Verfremdungseffekt "estrangement effect" was a potent element of his approach to theater. In fact, as Willett points out, Verfremdungseffekt is "a translation of the Russian critic Viktor Shklovskij's phrase 'Priem Ostranenija', or 'device for making strange'". Science fiction critic Simon Spiegel , who defines defamiliarization as "the formal-rhetorical act of making the familiar strange in Shklovsky's sense ," distinguished it from Brecht's estrangement effect.

To Spiegel, estrangement is the effect on the reader which can be caused by defamiliarization or through deliberate recontextualization of the familiar. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Comparative Literature. Berlina, Alexandra ed. Viktor Shklovsky: A Reader. Translated by Berlina, Alexandra. The Novel of the Future.

Formalist Theory

Russian Formalism PDF. Lee T.

Lemon and Marion J. The Uncanny. New York: Routledge.


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  • Defamiliarization - Wikipedia?
  • Strachey, James ed. Readings in Russian poetics : formalist and structuralist views. The Formal methodis a code of literary criticism, having its analogues in other than verbal arts, which arose in Russia shortly before the s. Part of a larger momentum which in general turned away from theory as a means to understanding art, as for instance, did scholarship in the fine arts in Germany, the Formalists undertook to establish literary study on a new, specific basis.

    About the Book

    They wished to limit themselves to the actual instance of art in front of them, and to bring to it only such materials as would an empirical investigator; theirs was, in the words of a spokesman, "a special scientific discipline concerned with literature as a specific system of facts. These are the issues raised by the Formalists. The subsequent history of their movement is an elaboration of this theoretical ground.

    Examples of Formalist thinking from the movement's origins through its major redefinitions and most significant expansions show much of the notable work that has been done in furthering the cause of literary studies as a systematic discipline. This volume is a collection of the most important contributions concerning the Formalist school, most of them translated for the first time from the Russian or the Czech. The editors have included articles on the general literary theory, on problems in the study of poetry, on selected problems in prose, and on specific literary works including some by Dickens and O.