Note 37, Chapter 5 of the author's Christina Rossetti in Context which the University of North Carolina Press published in 1988. It appears in the Victorian web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright.
Jerome McGann, expanding upon the limited conception of estrangement articulated by the Russian Formalists, explains how the general effect of estrangement operates in literature: "The aesthetic effect of literature is profoundly related — paradoxical though it may seem — to the reader['s] ... view of history Aesthetic effect depends upon the distancing of the art work, the estrangement of it, its isolation from our immediacy. We say that it seems to occupy a place outside of time, as it were. But this is merely a way of saying that art works are forever placed in history, that is, in the vertical and horizontal circumstances which define human events" ("Keats and the Historical Method," 1026).
Last modified 24 June 2007