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Famous Like Me > Writer > S > Viktor Shklovsky

Profile of Viktor Shklovsky on Famous Like Me

Name: Viktor Shklovsky  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 24th January 1893
Place of Birth: St. Petersburg, Russia
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Viktor Borisovich Shklovsky (or Shklovskii; Russian: Виктор Борисович Шкловский; Saint Petersburg, 24 January (O.S. 12 January) 1893; Leningrad, 6 December 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).


In English, by Viktor Shklovsky:

  • A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs, 1917-1922 (1923, translated in 1970)
  • Zoo or Letters Not About Love (translated in 1971)
  • Mayakovsky and his circle (1941, translated in 1972)
  • Third Factory (translated in 1979)
  • Theory of Prose (translated in 1990)
  • Leo Tolstoy (1928, translated in 1996)
  • The Technique of the Writer's Craft (1928)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Viktor Shklovsky