Aesthetic Anxiety: Uncanny Symptoms in German Literature and by Laurie Ruth Johnson

By Laurie Ruth Johnson

Esthetic anxiousness analyzes uncanny repetition in psychology, literature, philosophy, and picture, and produces a brand new narrative in regards to the centrality of aesthetics in glossy subjectivity. the usually terrible, yet occasionally additionally relaxing, adventure of tension may be a classy mode in addition to a mental kingdom. Johnson's elucidation of that country in texts through authors from Kant to Rilke demonstrates how estrangement can produce attachment, and repositions Romanticism as an engine of modernity.

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Extra resources for Aesthetic Anxiety: Uncanny Symptoms in German Literature and Culture (Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft, Volume 141)

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2 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans. Werner S. Pluhar (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1987) 45: 174; Gregg Horowitz uses aspects of this section of the third critique in his larger argument that Kant “discovers aesthetic modernism,” Sustaining Loss: Art and Mournful Life 26, et al. 3 Alex Potts, Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994) 166; he addresses Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (Dresden, 1764) 160-161.

A “principle of the past” very much like Schelling’s was of interest to Freud as well. In the therapeutic context, he focused on patients’ present rerepresentations of their memories of the past rather than on attempting to reconstruct precisely what had happened in the real past. And, in the context of his work as an amateur anthropologist and collector of artifacts from ancient cultures, he was motivated to collect and interpret representations of an idea of the past rather than to engage in precise historical reconstruction.

Im seelisch Unbewußten läßt sich nämlich die Herrschaft eines von den Triebregungen ausgehenden Wiederholungszwanges erkennen, der wahrscheinlich von der innersten Natur der Triebe selbst abhängt, stark genug ist, sich über das Lustprinzip hinauszusetzen, gewissen Seiten des Seelenlebens den dämonischen Charakter verleiht, sich in den Strebungen des kleinen Kindes noch sehr deutlich äußert und ein Stück vom Ablauf der Psychoanalyse des Neurotikers beherrscht. ] Freud, The Uncanny [Das Unheimliche] 1.

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