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 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.
The poor student’s response to this revelation is a complete mental breakdown followed by a long illness, but he eventually comes to his senses and is reunited with Clara.
The couple climb the town hall tower in their hometown one day and Nathanael uses one of Coppola’s spyglasses to take a closer look at what Clara has described as a strange-looking “grey bush that truly seems to be advancing towards us” (Hoffmann, p. The young man is gripped by madness and the story ends with his leaping from the top of the tower, an act watched by the lawyer Coppelius – he has mingled with the crowd below.Throughout his childhood, Hoffmann’s protagonist Nathanael was tormented – even traumatized – by his imaginings about the Sandman, the German version of the Norwegian Ole Lukkøye or Jon Blund [Ole or Jon Shut-Eye].A series of popular comic books by Neil Gaiman is called , but the characters and stories have remarkably little to do with the German figure.The argument is based on the premise that is conditional on not-knowing – on what Plato called doxa, i.e.“belief not justified by knowledge” – and that the phantoms will vanish in line with the state of not-knowing (this became a widely held view, also defended by Epicurus).In the context of art, Freud disagrees with this line of thought and writes this about the plot development in Hoffmann’s story: It is no longer valid to speak of “intellectual uncertainty”; we know now we are not to be presented with a madman’s fantastic imaginings, behind which we, full of sober superiority, can recognize a rational reality and our impression of the uncanny [ in many contexts reaches its most convincing literary form if the author “for a long time does not allow us to guess the conditions he has chosen for the world he has created” (p.266) or if, throughout the narrative, it remains unclear whether we are dealing with natural or so-called supernatural events.[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.