Defamiliarisation / Ostranenie

(223 words)
  • Editors

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

Russian Formalist critics who pioneered literary theory in the early years of the twentieth century held that it was an essential part of the art-work to defamiliarise the conventions used in making previous art, in order to make the reader (or viewer or hearer) more conscious of the artistic processes involved , and hence to refresh our perception of the world. This was crucially the argument of Viktor Shklovsky in his seminal essay “Art as Technique” where he famously argued that “art exists so that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone . . . . Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important.” The Formalist appreciation of “m…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Editors. "Defamiliarisation / Ostranenie". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001
[, accessed 26 November 2015.]