This essay explores the implications of Victor Shklovsky's concept of estrangement as it extends to the experience of Russian writers in exile, following the October revolution. The discussion, informed by diaspora theory, begins with Shklovsky's stay in Berlin in 1922–23, when border crossings were still possible. He argued for literature's independence from politics. The dynamics of diasporic literary life and its evolving “articulations of identity” are considered in the context of Soviet literary politics. The semantic unfolding of estrangement and its “historical metamorphoses” emerge in the work of two émigré writers. Aleksei Remizov relied on estrangement in linguistic and genre experiments in exile that encompass historical changes in the Russian language at home and abroad. The poet Vladislav Khodasevich argued for the creative continuity of Russian literature in exile, citing past models, from Dante to the Hebrew Poetic Renaissance in the Russian empire at the turn of the twentieth century.
Greta N. Slobin; Why the First-Wave Russian Literary Diaspora Embraced Shklovskian Estrangement. Poetics Today 1 December 2005; 26 (4): 697–718. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-26-4-697
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