Aesthetic distance (distance, psychic[al] distance, dramatic illusion)
Aesthetic distance (distance, psychic[al] distance, dramatic illusion): A separation between the audience and a work of art that is necessary for the audience to recognize and appreciate the work as an aesthetic object. The term has also been used to refer to the relatively objective perspective writers may maintain toward their work. Such objectivity allows the writer to relate the story and present its characters without recourse to personal, judgmental commentary. Distance, however, does not imply complete detachment. Rather, it allows the writer (and audience) to view the work “free” from overly personal identifications and thus to render (and experience) its contents fully and freely.
In “Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory” (1967), German critic Hans Robert Jauss used aesthetic distance in a new way. In the context of reception theory (a type of reader-response criticism), the term refers to the difference between how a work was viewed when it was originally published and how that same work is viewed today.