Monday, September 21, 2015

Carnival of the Uncanny

Before we begin our discussion of Freud's essay and the short story embedded in it, E. T. A. Hoffmann's "The Sandman," I wanted to post a jumble of links and thoughts about this subject so we could have some fun, albeit some uneasy, disquieting and dissonant pleasure.

As you know already from the Glossary, the Uncanny refers to "an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of the uncomfortably strange. Because the uncanny is familiar, yet strange, it often creates cognitive dissonance within the experiencing subject due to the paradoxical nature of being attracted to, yet repulsed by an object at the same time. Freud’s discussion of the concept centers on examples of doubling, repetition, seemingly meaningful patterns within coincidence, the experience of deja-vu, and the sometimes ambiguous boundary between life and death, especially in relation to artificial animation." With the Uncanny we enter the realm of dopplegangers, ghosts, indeterminacy, automata, ambiguity, robots, hauntings, synchronicity and pareidolia. Meaning gone strange, everything just slightly, disturbingly, askew.

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