Freud the uncanny essay summary


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Freud's general thesis: The uncanny is anything we experience in adulthood that reminds us of earlier psychic stages, of aspects of our unconscious life, or of the primitive experience of the human species. It sees itself as stronger than reality; e. These are common conceptions of primitive life. Freud is not entirely satisfied with his own conclusion.


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Not everything that returns from repression is uncanny. Return of the repressed is a necessary condition for the uncanny, but not a sufficient one. Something else must also be at play here in order to create the experience of the uncanny. To understand this, Freud returns to the study of fiction for help. But Freud asks why our experience of the uncanny in our real-life experiences and in fiction are different.

His answer we know it already! Fairy tales, for example, give many instances of uncanny events that are not experienced by the reader as uncanny. The readers adjust their sensibility to the fictional world. See "Uncanny" In other words, since uncanny events seem "normal" in the fairy-tale world, and we adjust our expectations to the "normal" state of this fictional reality, we as readers do not gain a sense of the uncanny. Or, we might say: since the characters in the fictional world of fairy tales do not see fantastic events as unusual or uncanny, but take them as a matter of course, the reader also is not led to find these things out of the "ordinary" for the depicted world.

The author promises truth and verisimilitude, but then breaks this promise. Schelling's idea is more basic—a familiar thing brought into the light when it should have remained hidden is uncanny. The linguistic investigation is followed by a number of examples of the uncanny from literature, real life experience, and Freud's case files.

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Freud establishes early on that fantasy and fairy tales do not produce in us a sense of the uncanny, since they are consciously removed from reality. However, animistic beliefs or childhood neuroses thought to have been overcome, but brought back either in full force or as hideous reminders, do lead us to experience the uncanny. It also seems to be highly relevant to proponents of today's zeitgeist , who eschew belief in spirits or the supernatural, yet seem wracked with genuine terror by any reminder of societal or personal religious history.

A brief, fascinating read that I would recommend without qualification. Jan 27, Lydia Presley rated it really liked it Shelves: essays , , non-fiction. I'm going to start this review out by saying I think Freud was a little bit of a whackadoodle. Just putting that out there.


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  7. That said, there are some things in this book that make sense - in an uncanny way see what I did there? The first essay on Screen Memories had me scratching my head and questioning my childhood memories. The essay on Creative Writing and Dreams had me looking at all those creative sorts around me with a new insight.

    The Uncanny Summary & Study Guide

    Then there is the Uncanny essay. First, let me say that for being such a "big" name, Freud defies the stereotype of boring essays by making these remarkably approachable and interesting. In a way, they almost read like fiction - what with all the "subjects" he casually throws into the conversation. Now, the uncanny essay - I am studying it so much this summer and it is a treasure trove of delights.

    Stop for a moment and think about it. Can you define uncanny? If you can't - this essay is for you. You might want to skip the first part, although if you read it I can talk to you and let you know just how the first part is uncanny in and of itself! Highly, highly recommend, especially if you are a fan of the horror or "uncanny" genre of book.

    Will give you fantastic insights into just what is making those hairs on the back of your neck raise.

    The Psychology of the Uncanny

    Apr 30, Katelis Viglas rated it it was amazing Shelves: psychology , psychiatry-anti-psychiatry. An excellent, not well-known work by Sigmund Freud.

    I refer excactly to the essay under the title,"The Uncanny" Das Unheimliche. Many awful pshychanalitic interpretations are fortunately absent. Many older freudian motifs return, but the way the writer proceeds from one matter to the next is so slight, impreceptible. It can be included among the freudian works of literary criticism, especially as regards the genre of imaginative literature.

    As usually, many human believes are revealed to be il An excellent, not well-known work by Sigmund Freud. As usually, many human believes are revealed to be illusions, or so considered. The neurotic symptoms are the revival of the child and the primitive. But exactly because the Subject is always guilty, the interpretations of the cultural phenomena are reduced ecxlusively to pshychological causes in a mechanistic, of nineteenth century's positivistic interpretative schema. Instead of the Object, it is the Subject to which all the properties of the uncanny are attributed. Freud's views on magic and superstition are based mainly on James Frazer's, Godlen Bought, and of course are so much old fashioned, as, for example, Ludwig Wittgenstein has observed; magic doesn't derive only from the belief of omnipotence of thoughts, but may reflects the social conditions of an era.

    Well, where is the uncanny? Apr 22, Taylor rated it it was amazing. Four of Freud's other essays are collected here as well as "The Uncanny. In other words, it wasn't quite as much fun to read because Four of Freud's other essays are collected here as well as "The Uncanny. In other words, it wasn't quite as much fun to read because you couldn't extrapolate quite as freely in reference to your own psychology; and isn't it applying Freud to one's self that, while certainly no his most important trait, is what constitutes his most attention retaining quality?

    I would recommend the Introduction, if you can look past the fact that it's longer than "The Uncanny" itself. The insights, particularly in reference to the status of "The Uncanny" in the Freudian canon as, odd or, well, uncanny in itself seems worthy of some emphasis and would have been lost on me otherwise.

    The essay on the creative writer is of particular interest if you write or write about writers. I skipped the essay on da Vinci for the time being, too much other stuff to read. Call me a slacker. Dec 14, Lisa Feld rated it liked it Shelves: annotated-bibliography. This is one of the difficulties of rereading stuff that was important to you when you were younger: I knew exactly what this essay was about and the important advice it gave about writing in general and writing horror in particular.

    Really useful stuff. And I went back and read it and it said nothing of the sort. The first section sort of hints at it, but mostly it's just teenage Lisa's wacky reinterpretation of Freud. Which I wouldn't mind, except that it makes it bloody hard to use for an anno This is one of the difficulties of rereading stuff that was important to you when you were younger: I knew exactly what this essay was about and the important advice it gave about writing in general and writing horror in particular. Which I wouldn't mind, except that it makes it bloody hard to use for an annotation.

    May 13, Austin Sisson rated it really liked it. A good distillation of Freud's oft-simplified theories of sexual repression and the underpinnings of dreams, emotions, and neuroses. The essays are ordered well; by the time you reach the non-linear and winding " The Uncanny," you've been equipped with most of the tools needed to parse it. Apr 22, Basila Hasnain rated it really liked it. He is Freud after all , must I review? Jun 11, Steve rated it liked it. All throughout my undergraduate years I had heard how important a work The Uncanny is, and yet, despite taking the options to study Gothic texts whenever I was able, I'd never actually read it in full.

    Well, now I finally have! And it was The lengthy section offering translations of the origin term could have easily been condensed, and he often spends several pages making a point, only to then say "Okay, bu All throughout my undergraduate years I had heard how important a work The Uncanny is, and yet, despite taking the options to study Gothic texts whenever I was able, I'd never actually read it in full.

    Jan 09, Kirk Johnson rated it liked it. This book has its moments of interest - perhaps demented, precariously structured interest, but moments none the less fascinating for that. The last essay, 'The Uncanny' of the book's title, holds the most interest, especially if viewed, as quoted in the introduction to the book, as 'less like an essay than like a strange theoretical novel' Helene Cixous ; it really does feel like reading a good horror story.

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    Sadly, though, there's little of the thrill of Studies in Hysteria, or Drea This book has its moments of interest - perhaps demented, precariously structured interest, but moments none the less fascinating for that. Sadly, though, there's little of the thrill of Studies in Hysteria, or Dreams, or Everyday Life, or even perhaps Jokes, as the arguments never cohere in such grand manner, and much of it struck me as involuntarily hilarious, especially in Freud's daring but overreaching historical psychoanalytical short story dressed up as real thoughts.

    The introduction by David McClintock is sometimes useful, at other times just a rehash of the main text. The translation itself is quite readable, though perhaps not at the level of Joyce Crick's translations of other Freud works - but that might be a reflection of the original text itself. Still, that splendid cover can only be admired! Nov 02, Laura rated it really liked it. This collection of essays has been titled The Uncanny by Penguin editors, which is a rather misleading marketing ploy.

    Sigmund Freud never collected together these essays, which are quite diverse in terms of scope and themes. The Uncanny is only one among them and in my opinion one of the least convincing. But if you are interested in the psychoanalytical theories of creativity this book should feature in your list of classics among those by Jung, Kris, Rank, Adler, and Hammer. Let me sum up every Freud essay I've ever read: "Its about dicks and castration, except when it isn't, even though it totally still is.

    Also even though I'm totally discredited as a psychologist somehow I'm still extremely relevent when studying literature so you're gonna have to read a different essay on dicks each year.

    Essay on Freud's Viewss of The Uncanny in Hoffmann's Sand-Man -- Sigmund

    Jan 26, Arjun rated it it was amazing. Feb 13, Jack Robinson rated it it was ok. How do you even begin to rate Freud? Jan 10, Michael rated it liked it.

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