In the first post in this series, I outlined Viktor Shklovsky’s fundamental concepts of device (priem) and defamiliarization (ostranenie) as presented in the first chapter of Theory of Prose, “Art as Device.” This time around, I’d like to look at the start of Chapter 2 and try applying it to contemporary writing (specifically to the New Sincerity). As before, I’m proposing that one can actually use the principles of Russian Formalism to become a better writer and a better critic.
My mom recently (finally) started using email. I set up a yahoo account for her and she doesn’t understand the concept of passwords, so neither my father or I can use our yahoomail accounts, as we must keep her ‘signed in’ at all times. The few times when I signed her out, she freaked. She has officially acclimated/regressed like the rest of us. Now she emails me every day ad infin asking me to edit her emails to her friends in China. This was today’s discourse: