Freud Unheimliche Essay

Freud Unheimliche Essay-33
In modern German, however, the sense of “homey cosiness” is contained within the words .Freud’s definition of the uncanny starts at this point and his interpretation is illustrated by a quotation from Sanders’s dictionary that strongly appealed to him, and which Sander in turn quoted from the nineteenth-century writer Karl Friedrich Gutzkow’s novel is what one calls everything that should have remained secret, or concealed, but which has emerged into the open.” Indeed, to quote Freud’s own take on the word: “Generally, we are reminded that the word 2 Indeed, not only Norwegian translators struggle to find the right word to encompass the German concept.

In modern German, however, the sense of “homey cosiness” is contained within the words .

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With regard to the latter in particular, he is at least as preoccupied by what is written in the context of (Grimm), i.e.

“confiding, friendly, trusting”; other perfectly possible versions include “comfortable” and “cosy”.

We soon realize that he must be the frightening creature who caused the death of Nathanael’s father.8 Coppola sells spyglasses and spectacles and, as eventually becomes clear, has manufactured the artificial eyes of the automaton Olimpia, a clockwork wooden doll in the shape of a woman, constructed by a professor Spalanzani, and introduced as the professor’s daughter.

Nathanael, who believes her to be alive, becomes so besotted by this artificial creation that he forgets all about his own fiancée, Clara (or Klara)9 and tries by every means to gain the doll’s favour – a satire with touches of absurd black comedy.

As Freud points out in a footnote, the image of the father in is split into a good being, Nathanael’s natural father, and an evil counterpart, Coppelius – a pattern that is also seen in the pair Spalanzani/Coppola. The supposedly good King Hamlet, whom we encounter only in the shape of an apparition, seems above all to be typically are all father figures, there are certain difficulties about deciding where the boundaries are between them – difficulties that are further complicated by Spalanzani and Coppola jointly creating a daughter, as well as by the fact that Coppelius disappears or, in a sense, dies after the death of Nathanael’s father.

The entire narrative is infused with ambivalence and lack of certainty although, at one level, the reader will not feel any doubts – as Freud emphasizes in a polemic aimed at Ernst Jentsch, whose article “Zur Psychologie des Unheimlichen” (“On the psychology of the uncanny, 1906), claims that the sensation of horror has its origin primarily in the “intellectual uncertainty” arising in encounters with something new and unknown that one is unable to get a grip on or explain in any way.He specifically says, however, that there are more opportunities for generating horror in fiction than in reality, and also that his present discussion concerns a variant of that has its roots in rejected or primitive notions.Horror based on repressed “infantile complexes” should, according to Freud, be seen as a somewhat different proposition, a view that undeniably fits in with his idea that and Freud of course stresses in his analysis of Hoffmann that the reader’s uncertainty gradually disappears: what happens in the story is real within the framework of the fiction, and not the confabulations of a disturbed mind (unless one refuses to budge from the helpfully diffuse term “unreliable narrator”).In Hoffmann’s mind, the essentially kindly spirit takes on positively demonic qualities.He describes how an old nurse convinces Nathanael that, if the Sandman finds a child who won’t go to bed, he will steal the child’s eyes to feed his own offspring (the little Sandmen usually cluster together in a nest on the Half Moon and look like peculiarly nasty birds with hooked beaks; they eat human eyes, as other young birds eat worms or insects).7 Nathanael gradually comes to identify the unscrupulous lawyer Coppelius with the Sandman.[While I tumbled into the depths/ there appeared before my eyes someone/ almost voiceless as though from a long silence] What, has this thing appear’d again tonight? Sverre Dahl’s translation) – in English, “sinister; uncanny” – but the German word is something of a translator’s conundrum.Freud is clearly very much aware of this because, quite early in the essay, he examines several European languages to find possible, if often inadequate, words that are supposedly equivalent to , before scrutinizing his native language for shades of meaning, drawing on the German dictionaries by Daniel Sanders and the Brothers Grimm.Norwegian literary critic Henning Hagerup grapples with the notion of the uncanny in European language and literature.He also considers how today Marxist thought poses an unheimlich threat to the glorified, ahistorical arrogance of the capitalistic-neoliberal establishment.3 A survey of the titles given to his essay as translated into a range of languages offers us an overview of the real pitfalls and problems inherent in the task of the translators: Marie Bonaparte’s French version of , which means just about the same as Marie Bonaparte’s take on the Freudian term.The established English translation is “the uncanny”, an expression that always makes me imagine instructions on a label on “how to un-can”. Besides, all those who have paid attention to what Hoffmann has written know very well that he had a genius for playing on ambiguities – Freud, who is definitely one of the attentive readers, wrote that Hoffmann is “an author who, better than almost anyone else, succeeds in creating gruesome [ occupy many pages in the essay and are, to quote Harold Bloom, “unquestionably his strongest reading of any literary text”, although, as Bloom goes on to say, Freud’s approach shows a few oddities.


Comments Freud Unheimliche Essay

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