Abstract

ABSTRACT In an attempt to further develop debates at the intersection of cognitive and unnatural narratology, the article argues in favor of a framework for capturing immersion–defamiliarization interaction in narratives, which involves the possibility of defamiliarization being an embodied phenomena that does not adversely affect immersion. The article argues that when framing scalar models of the immersion–defamiliarization axis in embodied predictive processing and in the psychology of art, defamiliarization can in some cases take an embodied form, which does not obstruct immersion. The argument is developed with three interrelated claims showcasing that immersion requires some degree of defamiliarization in the first place, that stylistic features, far from being transparent, can mitigate defamiliarization effects in unnatural narratives and sustain immersion because of emotional charge, and those reflective or critical attitudes associated with defamiliarization can take a form of intuitions and sensations, remaining embodied rather than distanced and cerebral. The article illustrates this point by analyzing Anna Kavan’s avant-garde novel Ice, which is both a staple of unnatural narratives and unusual for its immersive capacities.

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