The postmodern uncanny: or establishing uncertainty

Kelso, Sylvia (1997) The postmodern uncanny: or establishing uncertainty. Paradoxa: studies in world literary genres, 3 (3). pp. 456-470.

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[Extract] Although "On the Uncanny" has been called a landmark text in psychoanalytic approaches to literature, what struck me most in reading Freud's essay was a repeated impression of uncertainty. Freud admits at once that "the uncanny" is a widely varying subjective perception; his etymological research constructs "unheimlich" as a kind of third leg for a German word which already wavers between the meanings of comfortable or friendly and those of covert, even two-faced. He himself unsettles Jentsch's formulation, to make the uncanny either an outburst of "animism" that should have been subdued by the reality principle, or a manifestation of individual neuroses such as the castration complex. But Freud then reneges to confess that "there are other elements" beside these, whose discussion would "open the door to doubts about what exactly is the value of our general contention that the uncanny proceeds," in a retreat to known territory, "from something familiar that has been repressed".

Item ID: 37340
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1079-8072
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2017 04:34
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200506 North American Literature @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature @ 100%
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