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heimlichunheimlichheimlich

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Jason Lieblang

on 21 November 2016

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Transcript of heimlichunheimlichheimlich

a literary theorist.
If Oedipus Rex moves a modern audience no less than it did the contemporary Greek one, the explanation ... is to be looked for in
the particular nature of the material
... which
makes the voice within

us
ready to recognize the compelling force of destiny within the Oedipus. ... His destiny moves us only because it might have been ours--because the oracle laid the same curse on us before our birth as upon him. (
Interpretation,
277-78, my bold)
"[In Leonardo's case] the
libido
avoids repression by being
sublimated
into curiosity from the beginning and by joining & strengthening the powerful investigative drive. ("Leonardo," 58, my bold)

He had simply transformed his (unrealizable sexual) passion into a thirst
for knowledge. (53, my bracket)
Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo
Virgil, Aeneid (Epigraph to Freud's Interpretation)
If I cannot bend the heavens above, I will move hell.
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding / Rebuffed the big wind.
My heart in hiding / Stirred for a bird
,---the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!
...
AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion / Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
AESTHETICS
Only rarely does the psychoanalyst feel impelled to engage in
aesthetic investigations
. ... Yet now and then [he does feel impelled]. One such [instance] is the
'uncanny.'
... On this topic we find virtually nothing in the detailed accounts of aesthetics, which ... prefer to concern themselves with
our feelings for the beautiful
, the grandiose and the attractive ... rather than with their opposites,
feelings of repulsion and distress
.
("The Uncanny," 123, my brackets)
... that branch of philosophy traditionally concerned with the nature of
beauty
, of
the sublime
, and especially in art & nature; but not only with what makes a thing beautiful, but also
with the feelings, sensations and emotional impulses
such a thing generates in the perceiver.
NEGATIVE AESTHETICS
An aesthetic examination of the 'uncanny' (123-4):

it's a special species of the frightening --
what distinguishes it
?

what's distinctive about
its
'affective nucleus'
that
creates
the unique kind of fear & dread
in us
that it does?
P124: Method & the Conclusion (already)
1. Investigate the se
mantic
history of the Germa
n
word '
unheimlich
'
2. What is it about ce
rtain things
that evoke in us the s
ense of the uncanny?
!!!: "the uncanny is
that species of the
frightening that goe
s

back to what was
once well known an
d has long

been
forgotten."
?
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT THE
HISTORY OF THE WORD ...
?
historical linguist
Heimlich
becomes increasingly
ambivalent
, until it
finally
merges
with its antonym
unheimlich
.

The Uncanny (
das Unheimliche
, 'the unhomely') is
in some way
a species of the familiar (
das Heimliche
, 'the homely'). (P134)
(familial)
(intimate)
... parts - pudenda: genitalia
Let us relate this finding to Schelling's
definition of the uncanny:
Uncanny is everything that was meant to remain secret and hidden and has come into the ... open. (P132)
2.
What is it about (certain) persons & things,
sense impressions, experiences & situations
that evoke in us the sense of the uncanny?
I'm the robot
E. Jentsch:

the uncanny is a kind of intellectual uncertainty. (P125)

"... an excellent case: 'doubt as to whether an apparently animate object really is alive and, conversely whether a lifeless object might not perhaps be animate." (P135)
Jentsch's analysis of the uncanny only goes so far. In "The Sandmann" "the seemingly inanimate doll Olimpia is by no means the only one responsible for the incomparably uncanny effect of the story, or even
the one to which it is principally due
" (136).

castration anxiety?
the sense of the uncanny attaches directly to the figure of the Sand-man, and therefore to the idea of being robbed of one's eyes (138)
The study of dreams, fantasies and myths has taught us that anxiety about one's eyes, the fear of going blind, is quite often a substitute for the fear of castration. (139)
Coppelius 'the Sandman'- the robber of 'eyes' - is
the castrating father
.

He first kills the good father (who had protected Nathaniel's 'eyes').

He then
interferes with all of Nathaniel's love relationships
:

In his guise as Coppola he sells N. a spyglass that causes him to fall in love with a robot (and so abandon his fiancee) and then go insane

His later reappearance (as Coppelius) causes the re-onset of N's madness, the attempted murder of his fiancee and, finally, his own suicide.
BUT WHY?
What does the 'Sandman' (Coppelius, Coppola) do?
catches Nathaniel in the act of spying; is going to
drop hot coals in his eyes
(but the boy's father intervenes)
reappears as Giuseppe Copolla; sells Nathaniel a pocket
spyglass
(through which Nathaniel spies on Olimpia - an automaton) with whom he falls in love
reappears as Coppelius, whom a supposedly recovered and Nathaniel (on an outing with his fiancee) sees through the spyglass from atop a tower ...
seeing Coppeius again instantly drives Nathaniel mad. Attempts to kill fiance 'Clara,' then commits suicide
So, how do these particular narrative elements have an uncanny effect on the reader?
So, how do these particular narrative elements have an uncanny effect on the reader?
the fear of emasculation at the hands
of the father (his rival) for desiring the mother (his first love object) ...
...is re-invoked by the fear of the loss of eyes in the story
And so, FREUD the psychoanalyst reads the story roughly thus:
castration anxiety:
A
B
You can't help it - you are born wanting A; you necessarily develop a fear of B, which, in order to develop normally sexually you REPRESS (OVERCOME & FORGET)
The uncanny arises due to
the return of repressed
infantile anxiety.
Other uncanny experiences that signal the return of the (infantile) repressed:
... the idea of the double:
the Doppelgänger & ...
The uncanny arises due to the return of repressed infantile material.
Uncanny is what one calls everything that
was meant
to remain secret & hidden & has come into the open. (Schelling)
... & repetition (compulsion)
Strolling one
hot
summer afternoon ...
The Doppelgänger:
re-invokes repressed primary narcissism
you needed an
intense sense of self-love
in early childhood it mitigated your powerlessness & fear of death// in healthy development
you overcome it
- if not you could become schizophrenic//
being reminded of it
as an adult causes anxiety
...
Strolling one
hot
summer afternoon ...
Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny
- the development of the individual mirrors that of the race.

the uncanny reminds us of our repressed childhood narcissism but also of the narcissistic thinking that defined early man (and defines primitive man)
Other forms of the uncanny explained (a more general theory):
the uncanny reminds us of:

"our old
animistic
view of
the universe, a view
characterized by the idea
that the world was peopled
with human spirits, by the
narcissistic
overrating of
one's own mental
processes ...."
"everything we now find uncanny is linked with remnants of animistic mental activity & prompts them to express themselves" (147).
Hopkins'
aesthetic
religiosity
!!!: "the uncanny is that species of the
frightening that goes back to what was
once well known and has long been
forgotten."
heimlichunheimlichheimlichunheimlichheimlichun
return of the repressed
castration anxiety
primary narcissism
animism
meant to remain secret
come into the open
Sigmund Freud: Explorer (Seeker & Revealer of 'Truth') in the Hidden Realms
1.
Just who is this Dr. Freud?
our
castration anxiety
"the concept of the double need not disappear along with this primitive narcissism" (142)
a special authority/
conscience/
(super-ego)
What do we mean when we say something is
uncanny
?

It's
uncanny
how alike they look.

It's
uncanny
: it's almost like I know what you are thinking.

Definition from the Oxford English Dictionary
It's
uncanny
how alike they look.
It's
uncanny
: it's almost like I know what you are thinking.
It's
uncanny
. I was just thinking of you and then you called.
I got this
uncanny
feeling when I entered the place, it was almost as if I'd been there before.
the uncanny (noun)
An
aesthetic
investigation of the 'uncanny,' which evokes a certain 'quality of feeling' (219)

The uncanny is 'related to what is frightening' ... but is unique. Freud is "curious to know what the
common core
is which allows us to distinguish as
uncanny
certain things which lie within the field of what is frightening" (219)
1. "Either we can find out what meaning has come to be attached to the word 'uncanny' in the course of history"
2. "or we can collect all those properties of persons, things, sense impressions, experiences and situations which arouse in us the feelings of uncanniness, and then infer the unknown nature of the uncanny from what all these examples have in common."
"I will say at once that both courses lead to the same result: the uncanny is
that class of the frightening which leads back to what is
known of old
and
long familiar
" (220).
HEIMLICH
The meaning of
heimlich
overlaps with that of its opposite
un
heimlich
. Semantically this strange word comes full circle.
'unheimlich' (the uncanny) reveals what is private and concealed, what is hidden, not only from others but also from the self. (it is the
mark of the return of the repressed
)
"the sense of the uncanny attaches directly to the figure of the Sand-man, and therefore to the idea of being robbed of one's eyes" (230).
"The study of dreams, fantasies and myths has taught us that anxiety about one's eyes, the fear of going blind, is quite often a substitute for the fear of castration" (231).
The uncanny arises due to the return of repressed infantile material
(of which the fear of castration is exemplary)
The uncanny arises due to the return of
repressed infantile material
(of which
primary narcissism
is exemplary)
The double (
doppelgänger
)
Jason: What's Stevie Dog doing?

Leni: Him playing with Leni.

Jason: Oh, he's playing with you?

Leni: Him playing with Leni.
Strolling one
hot
summer afternoon ...
"the concept of the double need not disappear along with this primary narcissism" (235)
a special authority/
conscience/
(super-ego)
heimlichunheimlichheimlichunheimlichheimlichun
return of the repressed
castration anxiety
primary narcissism
animism
must
repeat
The uncanny is anything experienced
as an adult which reminds you of:
earlier psychic stages,
aspects of unconscious life,
or the primitive experience
of early humans
69
69
69
Strolling one
hot
summer afternoon ...
62
62
62
must repeat ... must repeat ... must repeat ... (237)
Recall
Interpretation of Dreams
, 280: "[Oedipus'] destiny moves us only because it might have been ours ... It is the fate of us all, perhaps, to direct our first sexual impulse towards our mother and our hatred and murderous wish against our father."
"
Hemlich
thus becomes increasingly ambivalent, until it finally merges with its antonym
unheimlich
" (226).
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