Monday, December 25, 2023

Verfremdungseffekt in Everyday Life

Boris Karloff (Bride of Frankenstein)

The Brechtian Verfremdungs or estrangement effekt was a theatrical innovation. The purpose was to reverse catharsis and produce a distantiafion which allowed for thought over feeling or sentiment. However avant garde and radical it might seem even now, this technique is subliminally derived from an everyday process that characterizes many interactions. The first impulse most people have when they meet a stranger is to step back, distance themselves and actually prevent a sympathetic reaction. It's a natural defensive reaction to see people out of the wrong end of the spyglass. Conversely when you lay down arms and literally move closer to the foreign object, your attitude undergoes a dramatic change. Identification and the dreaded catharsis is likely to eventuate. He or she is not as bad as you thought. You recognize your self in them. Estrangement may be an advanced piece of theatrical engineering. However in the stage of everyday life, it may leave you in the dust.

read the review of The Kafka Studies Department Booklife

and listen to "Every Little Bit Hurts" by Brenda Holloway

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