Estrangement Effect [Verfremdungseffekt]

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Gerhard P. Knapp (University of Utah)
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Verfremdungseffekt (German Verfremdung = making strange something that is known or familiar) is commonly, if not very accurately, translated as “alienation effect”. Perhaps more appropriate, although less frequently encountered, are the translations “distancing” or “estrangement effect”. Verfremdungseffekt applies to the function of any theatrical device or technique designed to dispel the audience's notion that “reality” is directly represented or enacted on stage. Verfremdung creates an “estranged”, i.e. detached, and potentially rational, reception of a play, and thus counteracts the spectators' e…

3228 words

Citation: Knapp, Gerhard P.. "Estrangement Effect [Verfremdungseffekt]". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 December 2006 [, accessed 30 September 2023.]

355 Estrangement Effect [Verfremdungseffekt] 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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