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Viktor Shklovsky

Viktor Borisovich Shklovsky (or Shklovskii; Russian. Ви́ктор Бори́сович Шкло́вский ; 24 January [O.S. 12 January] 1893 – 6 December 1984) was a Russian and Soviet literary theorist. critic, writer, and pamphleteer .

Shklovsky was born in St. Petersburg. Russia. His father was Jewish (with ancestors from Shklov ) and his mother was of German/Russian origin. He attended St. Petersburg University .

During the First World War. he volunteered for the Russian Army and eventually became a driving trainer in an armoured car unit in St. Petersburg. There, in 1916, he founded OPOYAZ (Obshchestvo izucheniya POeticheskogo YAZyka—Society for the Study of Poetic Language), one of the two groups (with the Moscow Linguistic Circle ) that developed the critical theories and techniques of Russian Formalism .

Shklovsky participated in the February Revolution of 1917. Subsequently the Russian Provisional Government sent him as an assistant Commissar to the Southwestern Front where he was wounded and got an award for bravery. After that he was an assistant Commissar of the Russian Expeditionary Corps in Persia (see Persian Campaign ).

Shklovsky returned to St. Petersburg in early 1918, after the October Revolution. He opposed bolshevism and took part in an anti-bolshevik plot organised by members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. After the conspiracy was discovered by the Cheka. Shklovsky went into hiding, traveling in Russia and the Ukraine, but was eventually pardoned in 1919 due to his connections with Maxim Gorky. and decided to abstain from political activity. His two brothers were executed by the Soviet regime (one in 1918, the other in 1937) and his sister died from hunger in St. Petersburg in 1919. [1]

Shklovsky integrated into Soviet society and even took part in the Russian Civil War. serving in the Red Army. However, in 1922, he had to go into hiding once again, as he was threatened with arrest and possible execution for his former political activities, and he fled via Finland to Germany. In Berlin. in 1923, he published his memoirs about the period 1917–22 under the title Сентиментальное путешествие, воспоминания (Sentimental'noe puteshestvie, vospominaniia. A Sentimental Journey ), alluding to A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne. an author he much admired and whose digressive style had a powerful influence on Shklovsky's writing. In the same year he was allowed to return to the Soviet Union. not least because of an appeal to Soviet authorities that he included in the last pages of his epistolary novel Zoo, or Letters Not About Love .

The Yugoslav scholar Mihajlo Mihajlov visited Shklovsky in 1963 and wrote: "I was much impressed by Shklovsky's liveliness of spirit, his varied interests and his enormous culture. When we said goodbye to Viktor Borisovich and started for Moscow, I felt that I had met one of the most cultured, most intelligent and best-educated men of our century." [2]

He died in Moscow in 1984.

Writer and theorist

In addition to literary criticism and biographies about such authors as Laurence Sterne. Maxim Gorky. Leo Tolstoy. and Vladimir Mayakovsky. he wrote a number of semi-autobiographical works disguised as fiction, which also served as experiments in his developing theories of literature.

Shklovsky is perhaps best known for developing the concept of ostranenie or defamiliarization (also translated as "estrangement") in literature. [3] He explained the concept in the important essay "Art as Technique" (also translated as "Art as Device") [4] which comprised the first chapter of his seminal Theory of Prose. first published in 1925. He argued for the need to turn something that has become over-familiar, like a cliché in the literary canon, into something revitalized: [5]

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. [ citation needed ]

Shklovsky was one of the very early serious writers on film. A collection of his essays and articles on film was published in 1923 (Literature and Cinematography. first English edition 2008). He was a close friend of director Sergei Eisenstein and published an extensive critical assessment of his life and works (Moscow 1976, no English translation).

Beginning in the 1920s and well into the 1970s Shklovsky worked as a screenwriter on numerous Soviet films (see Select Filmography below), a part of his life and work that, thus far, has seen very limited attention. In his book Third Factory Shklovsky reflects on his work in film, writing: "First of all, I have a job at the third factory of Goskino. Second of all, the name isn't hard to explain. The first factory was my family and school. The second was Opoyaz. And the third – is processing me at this very moment." [6]

  • A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs, 1917–1922 (1923, translated in 1970 by Richard Sheldon)
  • Zoo, or Letters Not About Love (1923, translated in 1971 by Richard Sheldon) – epistolary novel
  • Knight's Move (1923, translated in 2005) – collection of essays first published in the Soviet theatre journal, The Life of Art
  • Literature and Cinematography (1923, translated in 2008)
  • Theory of Prose (1925, translated in 1990) – essay collection
  • Third Factory (1926, translated in 1979 by Richard Sheldon)
  • A Hunt for Optimism (1931, translated in 2012)
  • Mayakovsky and his circle (1941, translated in 1972) – about the times of poet Vladimir Mayakovsky
  • Leo Tolstoy (1963, translated in 1996)
  • Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar (1970, translated in 2011)
  • Energy of Delusion: A Book on Plot (1981, translated in 2007)

Select filmography (as writer)

  • Serena Vitale: Shklovsky: Witness to an Era. translated by Jamie Richards, Dalkey Archive Press, Champaign, London, Dublin, 2012 ISBN 978-1-56478-791-0 (Italian edition first pub. in 1979)
  • English Translation of "Art as Technique": pages 15–21 Literary Theory. An Anthology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2004. ISBN 1405106964
  • Shklovsky, Viktor: A Reader (ed. by Alexandra Berlina). Bloomsbury 2017.
  1. ^ Shklovsky, Письма внуку .
  2. ^ Mihajlo Mihajlov, Moscow Summer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965), p. 104.
  3. ^ Carla Benedetti (1999) The empty cage: inquiry into the mysterious disappearance of the author
  4. ^ Viktor Shklovsky (1917) Art as Technique
  5. ^ Peter Brooker, Andrzej Gasiorek, Deborah Longworth (2011) The Oxford Handbook of Modernism p.841
  6. ^ Viktor Shklovshky: Third Factory. Dalkey Archive Press 2002, pp.8–9.
  7. ^ Antti Alanen: Film Diary – Amerikanka

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Victor Shklovsky

Victor Shklovsky

Potebnya and his numerous disciples consider poetry a special kind of thinking - thinking by means of images; they feel that the purpose of imagery is to help channel various objects and activities into groups and to clarify the unknown by means of the known. (717)

poets are much more concerned with arranging images than with creating them. Images are given to poets; the ability to remember them is far more important than the ability to create them. (718)

By "works of art," in the narrow sense, we mean works created by special techniques designed to make the works as obviously artistic as possible. (718)

(Potebnya) ignored the fact that there are two aspects of imagery: imagery as a practical means of thinking, as a means of placing objects within categories (metonymic); and imagery as poetic, as a means of reinforcing an impression (metaphoric).

as perception becomes habitual, it becomes automatic. (720)

art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important. (720)

Tolstoy makes the familiar seem strange by not naming the familiar object (defamiliarizing). He describes an object as if he were seeing it for the first time, an event as if it were happening for the first time. In describing something he avoids the accepted names of its parts and instead names corresponding parts of other objects. (721)

An image is not a permanent referent for those mutable complexities of life which are revealed through it; its purpose is not to make us perceive meaning, but to create a special perception of the object - it.

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Viktor Shklovsky: making things strange

Viktor Shklovsky: making things strange

In Tolstoy's Kholstomer (Strider ). a horse is sometimes the narrator.
Image credit: Phil Roeder

In his 1917 essay, ' Art as Technique', Russian writer Viktor Shklovsky argues that often we don't notice things because they are familiar to us. However, art (a term that Shklovsky uses in a broad sense to include literary writing) can present things in a strange or unfamiliar way, which makes us look at them for longer:

Habitualization devours work, clothes, furniture, one's wife, and the fear of war. "If the whole complex lives of many people go on unconsciously, then such lives are as if they had never been." [Shklovsky is quoting Tolstoy's diary ] And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. 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.

You might like to read the full text of 'Art as Technique'. which was published in English translation in Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays . ed. by L,T. Lemon and M, J. Reis, pages 3 - 24.

What do you think of Shklovsky's description of the purpose of literary writing? Does his argument apply to all literary texts? Are there genres where you would expect to find this technique more frequently? Can you think of any examples in texts you have read / are reading where something is presented in a strange way that makes you notice it? And can you think of any limitations to Shklovsky's argument?

  • 'Strider: the story of a horse' (short story) in Leo Tolstoy, The Devil and other Stories ed. by Richard Gustafson, trans. by Louise Maude and Aylmer Maude (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) or available on the Great Authors website .
  • The chapter on Russian Formalism (pages 24 to 45) in Modern Literary Theory: a comparative introduction ed. by Anne Jefferson and David Robey (London: Batsford, second edition, 1986)
Date posted:

Sunday 29 June 2014

Viktor Shklovsky: definition of Viktor Shklovsky and synonyms of Viktor Shklovsky (English)

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definition - Viktor Shklovsky Viktor Shklovsky

Shklovsky was born in St. Petersburg. Russia. His father was Jewish and his mother was of German /Russian origin. He attended St. Petersburg University.

During the First World War. he volunteered for the Russian Army and eventually became a driving trainer in an armoured car unit in St. Petersburg. There in 1916 he founded the OPOYAZ (Obshchestvo izucheniya POeticheskogo YAZyka—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.

Shklovsky participated in the February Revolution of 1917. Then he was sent by the Russian Provisional Government as an assistant Commissar to Southwestern Front where he was wounded and then got an award for bravery. After that he was an assistant Commissar of the Russian Expeditionary Corps in Persia (see Persian Campaign ).

Shklovsky returned to St. Petersburg in early 1918, after the October Revolution. He opposed bolshevism and took part in an anti-bolshevik plot of Socialist-Revolutionary Party members. After the conspiracy was revealed by the Cheka. Shklovsky went into hiding traveling over Russia and the Ukraine but was eventually pardoned in 1919 due to his connections with Maxim Gorky. and decided to abstain from political activity. His two brothers were executed by the Soviet regime (one in 1918, the other in 1937) and his sister died from hunger in St. Petersburg in 1919. [ 1 ]

Shklovsky integrated into the Soviet society and even took part in the Russian Civil War serving in the Red Army ; but in 1922 he had to go into hiding again and to flee from Russia escaping arrest for his previous activities. In Berlin in 1923 he published his memoirs about 1917-22 called Sentimental'noe puteshestvie, vospominaniia (A Sentimental Journey ) after A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne. In the same year he was allowed to return to the USSR.

The Yugoslav scholar Mihajlo Mihajlov visited Shklovsky in 1963 and wrote: "I was much impressed by Shklovsky's liveliness of spirit, his varied interests and his enormous culture. When we said goodbye to Viktor Borisovich and started for Moscow, I felt that I had met one of the most cultured, most intelligent and best-educated men of our century." [ 2 ]

He died in Moscow in 1984.

In addition to literary criticism and biographies about such authors as Laurence Sterne. Maxim Gorky. Leo Tolstoy. and Vladimir Mayakovsky. he wrote a number of semi-autobiographical works disguised as fiction, which also served as experiments in his developing theories of literature.

Shklovsky is perhaps best known for developing the concept of ostranenie or defamiliarization (also translated as "estrangement") in literature. [ 3 ] He explained the concept in the important essay "Art as Technique" (also translated as "Art as Device") [ 4 ] which comprised the first chapter of his seminal Theory of Prose. first published in 1925. He argued for the need to turn something that has become over-familiar, like a cliché in the literary canon, into something revitalized: [ 5 ]

"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. [ citation needed ]

Bibliography

In English, by Viktor Shklovsky:

  • A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs, 1917-1922 (1923, translated in 1970 by Richard Sheldon)
  • Literature and Cinematography (1923. republished in 2008)
  • Zoo, or Letters Not About Love (1923, translated in 1971 by Richard Sheldon) - epistolary novel
  • Mayakovsky and his circle (1941, translated in 1972) - about the times of poet Vladimir Mayakovsky
  • Third Factory (1926, translated in 1979 by Richard Sheldon)
  • Theory of Prose (1925, translated in 1990) - essay collection
  • Leo Tolstoy (1963, translated in 1996)
  • Knight's Move (1923, translated in 2005) - collection of essays first published in the Soviet theatre journal, The Life of Art
  • Energy of Delusion: A Book on Plot (1981, translated in 2007)
  • Literature and Cinematography (1923, translated in 2008)
  • Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar (1970, translated in 2011)
References
  • English Translation of "Art as Technique": pages 15-21 Literary Theory. An Anthology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2004. ISBN#: 1405106964
External links

The Russian Formalist, Victor Shklovsky, Re-Interprets Literature in Art As Technique blogging

The Russian Formalist, Victor Shklovsky, Re-Interprets Literature in Art As Technique

Russian Formalism was a literary movement in Russia that started in 1915, where literary scholars like Victor Shklovsky, Andrei Bely, and Potebnya had multiple theoretical aesthetics to how literature can be interpreted. In Victor Shklovsky’s article, Art As Technique, Shklovsky re-interprets Potebnya’s perspective about literature from reality and fantasy. After reading Shklovsky, Potebnya, and Bely’s perspective about art and literature from Shklovsky’s article, Art As Technique, I will argue that literature and art can be approached from various perspectives.
In Victor Shklovsky’s article, Art As Technique, Shklovsky argues, “Art is thinking in images.” (775). Shklovsky’s purpose in arguing this interpretation is because he generalizes art to broaden its viewer’s horizons of how it can be interpreted. Art, from Shklovsky’s perspective, is a broad subject and can lead to multiple accusations. When analyzing art to images, Shklovsky is basically describing a typical work of art to symbolize something abstract. The way Shklovsky’s argument is a re-interpretation of fantasy and reality, is that when producing a work of art, you are transforming fantasy into a reality. The reason why art and literature from Shklovsky’s perspective can have multiple accusations, is because when Shklovsky says; “Art is thinking in images,” he is stating that art can be approached from various perspectives. Other then Shklovsky’s interpretation about art, the Russian Formalist, Potebnya has his interpretation about literature.
Like Shklovsky, that argues, “Art is thinking in images,” Potebnya expands on Shklovsky’s argument, and argues that “Without imagery there is no art, and in particular no poetry.” (775). On the other hand, Potebnya also writes:
“Poetry, as well as prose, is first and foremost a special way of thinking and knowing. Poetry is a special way of thinking; it is, precisely, a way of thinking in images, a way which permits what is generally called economy of mental effort, a way which makes a sensation of the relative ease of the process.” (775).

As a reader reading Potebnya’s perspective about art and literature in general, Potebnya is basically saying that art and literature are a unique way of gaining knowledge. In other words, Potebnya is saying that learning from fantasy, which is art and literature, can transform into a reality. Like Shklovsky, that argues, “Art is thinking in images,” Potebnya re-interprets Shklovsky by saying that art and literature cannot only open its readers accusations about a text. Other then Shklovsky and Potebnya’s perspectives about literature, Andrei Bely, not only supports both Shklovsky and Potebnya, but also re-interprets his own perspective about literature and adds new words that symbolize tropes.
Andrei Bely, in Art As Technique, supports Potebnya’s perspective that “Poetry equals imagery,” but at the same time, Bely not only argues that symbolism is equivalent to poetry, but that there are two aspects to imagery, which is what Potebnya fails to acknowledge. Bely writes “Imagery as a practical way of thinking, as a means of placing objects within categories; and imagery as poetic, as a means of reinforcing an impression.” (776). For example, Bely gives two terminologies, which are metonymic and metaphoric. Metonymic is defined as “A little bit of a whole,” while metaphoric, is defined as “An artistic word of describing something.”
The way that Bely describes fantasy and reality in his argument, is that he not only describes literature to a work of art, but also, emphasizes more on symbolism, and to what a work of art or literature would symbolize to a viewer. As oppose to Shklovsky and Potebnya, Bely describes a work of art to be very broad, and have some allegorical meaning to its viewer.
In my opinion, as a reader reading Victor Shklovsky’s article, Art As Technique, it turns out that my argument is correct, that literature and art can be approached from various perspectives according to not only Victor Shklovsky, but also, Potebnya and Andrei Bely.

Work Cited
Shklovsky, victor. “Art As Technique.” The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends.
3rd Ed. Comp. David H. Richter. For Bedford/St. Martin’s. (775-84). 2007. Print.

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