Russian Formalist, Victor Shklovsky, on DEFAMILIARIZATION as One of the Essential Roles of Art and Literature (1917)

Victor Shklovsky coined the term “defamiliarization” to describe the role that art and literature can play in turning us around in the world (so that we see things with fresh eyes):

Habituation devours works, clothes, furniture, one’s wife, and the fear of war . . . And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stony stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known.

Quoted in David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction, p. 53 (Viking 1992).

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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5 Responses to Russian Formalist, Victor Shklovsky, on DEFAMILIARIZATION as One of the Essential Roles of Art and Literature (1917)

  1. Kate Webb says:

    isn’t it ” stone stoney”?

  2. santitafarella says:

    I’d have to dig out the David Lodge book to double check, but I’m guessing you may be right. But stony/stony still works, I think. The point isn’t lost.

    —Santi : )

  3. Cath says:

    I checked – “stony stony” is right.

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