NABOKV-L post 0014301, Thu, 7 Dec 2006 22:33:51 -0500

Subject
Memorability and defamiliarization
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--- Stan Kelly-Bootle <skb@BOOTLE.BIZ> wrote:
>We are left to ponder WHY poetry is so ‘memorable’
when each >unrolling word/phrase is presumably fresh,
cliché-free, and >unexpected — and therefore packed
with ‘information’ -- and >therefore more taxing to
memorize? Of course, one can mention >meter and rhyme
as common mnemonic aids.

Literary critics, not often statisticians, refer to
this as defamiliarisation (ostranenie). It is
precisely because a word/phrase is new that it is
memorable. Nabokov's work, as it were, makes Shklovsky
(and Bakhtin) familiar.
Best,
Piers Smith

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