The Uncanny

(2749 words)
  • Deborah Griggs

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

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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Griggs, Deborah. "The Uncanny". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 October 2005; last revised 06 February 2006.
[, accessed 10 October 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Psychoanalysis
  2. Gothic, Grotesque& Supernatural Fiction