The Uncanny

(2749 words)
  • Deborah Griggs (University of Maryland)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Although most discussions of the uncanny begin with Freud’s essay on the subject (Das Unheimliche, 1919), the term has captured the imagination of literary and philosophical discussions reaching far beyond the everyday meaning of the eerie or strange or the limited context of the Gothic or horrific to reexamine the most central ideas about perception, narrative, and language.

An explicit connection to the Gothic is established by Freud himself through his use of E.T.A. Hoffman’s story The Sandman to illustrate a key phenomenon associated with the uncanny: the confusion of automata – or cyborgs – with living beings. However, aside from this …

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Citation:
Griggs, Deborah. "The Uncanny". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 October 2005; last revised 02 June 2006.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1253, accessed 25 October 2014.]


Related Groups

  1. Psychoanalysis