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Viktor Shklovsky

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de:Viktor Sklovskij Viktor Borisovich Shklovsky (or Shklovskii) (January 24, 1893December 6, 1984) was a Russian and Soviet critic, writer, and pamphleteer.

He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and attended St. Petersburg University. During the war served as a Commissar in the Russian army, as described in his memoirs, Sentimental'noe puteshestvie, vospominaniia (A Sentimental Journey).

He was the founder of the OPOJAZ (Obshchestvo izuchenija POeticheskogo JAZyka—Society for the Study of Poetic Language), one of the two groups, with the Moscow Linguistic Circle, which developed the critical theories and techniques of Russian Formalism.

In addition to literary criticism and biographies about such authors as Laurence Sterne, Maxim Gorky, Lev Tolstoy and Vladimir Mayakovsky, he wrote a number of semi-autobiographical works disguised as fiction.

Shklovsky developed the concept of ostranenie or defamiliarization in literature. He explained this idea as follows:

The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects ‘unfamiliar’, to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important." (Shklovsky, "Art as Technique", 12)

Shklovsky's work pushes Russian Formalism towards understanding literary activity as integral parts of social practice, an idea that becomes important in the work of Mikhail Bakhtin and Russian and Prague School scholars of semiotics.

He died in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg again).

Bibliography

In English, by Viktor Shklovsky:

he:ויקטור שקלובסקי
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