Friday, October 12, 2012

My Life in Formalism

If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.”

The other day I went to a lecture on Formalism, and the lecturer explained to us how, according to Formalism, literature uses literary devices to “roughen” or alter normal language and to defamiliarize ordinary situations. 
            Formalists like Victor Shklovsky contend that in our everyday lives we become so used to certain ideas or situations that we never stop to question them, or even notice them. We stop truly seeing.
            Later on, I nearly walked past my maths teacher. I just didn’t see her, because I wasn’t expecting to see her, and I wasn’t even paying attention to the people passing me on the street.  I just assumed that they were all complete strangers.
Question of the day:  Is there an unpretentious way of talking about how life imitates art?