the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Posted by rigorousm on October 12, 2015

These and other sundry obstacles, all of them oriented toward rupturing the smooth flow of narrative, are tools in the service of what Shklovsky called ostranenie, which is variously translated as “estrangement,” “defamiliarization” or simply “making strange.” In Theory of Prose, Shklovsky would distinguish between “recognition” and “seeing.” Ordinary perception falls into the former category: we don’t see objects so much as recognize them according to pre-existing patterns of thought. The world arrives “prepackaged” and passes us by without a graze. “And so, held accountable for nothing, life fades into nothingness. Automatization eats away at things, at clothes, at furniture, at our wives, and at our fear of war.”

The point for Shklovsky was to find a way to shake ourselves out of this collective stupor so that we might see the world in all its startling brightness and, presumably, act on what we see.

— “Making Strange: On Victor Shklovsky,” Ben Ehrenreich for The Nation (link to article)

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