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'Defamiliarization' is a term used for the first time by the Russian Formalists in general and Victor Shklovsky in particular. In the formalistic emphasis on the structural emanation of meaning in a literary text especially the poem through the evocation of sounds, syntax and tropes, 'defamiliarization' refers to a literary process of alienating the language of poetry/literature from regular mass-speech and specializing it in differential terms. This would be in exact opposition with the Romantic linguistic project of bridging the gaps between regular speech and poetic speech/language.
This idea leads on to Bertolt Brecht's idea of the 'alienation effect' where the theatrical spectacle defamiliarizes itself from reality so as to evade the realistic fallacy of creating a theatre of illusions. In post-structuralism/deconstruction much later, when the entire accent shifts from similarity to alterity or difference, the formalist idea of defamiliarization is reinstated in a way, as it were.
the artistic technique of forcing the audience to see common things in an unfamiliar or strange way, in order to enhance perception of the familiar.
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