By Laurie Ruth Johnson
Esthetic nervousness 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, event of tension may be a cultured mode in addition to a mental nation. Johnson's elucidation of that nation in texts by way of 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)
However, the dialectical move of the uncanny in our modernity, for Schelling, is not from irrationality to rationality and back again, but rather reflective of a reciprocity between and co-existence of sensation (or perception) and 44 Aeschylus, The Oresteia, trans. Richmond Lattimore (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1953). See Victoria Nelson, The Secret Life of Puppets (Cambridge and London: Harvard UP, 2001), esp. 1-23. 46 Schelling, AS 6: 661. 47 Ibid, 661. 45 Aesthetic Anxiety and the Uncanny 39 reaction (or affect), and between forgetting (repressing) and remembering (repetition, return).
Goschen, 1893) 9: 20; paraphrased in Zelle, Angenehmes Grauen. Literaturhistorische Beiträge zur Ästhetik des Schrecklichen im achtzehnten Jahrhundert 412. 15 Karl Philipp Moritz, Fragmente aus dem Tagebuche eines Geistersehers, in Werke, ed. Horst Günther (Frankfurt am Main: Insel, 1981) 3: 302. ’” He examines essays on aesthetic theory written in nineteenthcentury England, such as Anne Laetitia Barbauld’s On the Pleasure Derived From Objects of Terror and An Enquiry Into the Kinds of Distress Which Excite Agreeable Sensations (1825), in order to analyze a Gothic aesthetics of fear already, in my view, anticipated by German philosophers and psychologists a few decades prior.
2. 1. Uncanny Anxiety and the Embodied Mind Forty years before the publication of Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology, Ludwig Tieck’s sprawling novel William Lovell (1795-96) reads in part as an extended display of uncanny encounters figured at once as psychosomatic disorders and as aesthetic revelations. In Lovell, which imitates English fiction but also responds to anxieties specific to the German late Enlightenment, uncanny experience is grounded in the body and in illness. William’s conviction that “the slower or faster circulation of blood […] basically determines the differences in a person’s inclinations” (“die langsamere oder schnellere Zirkulation des Blutes […] im Grunde die Verschiedenheit in den Gesinnungen des Menschen aus[macht]”)27 influences 26 Wolfgang Albrecht identifies the late Enlightenment (“Spätaufklärung”) as beginning in the 1780s and lasting into the early decades of the nineteenth century; during this time, leading assumptions of the Enlightenment were already being consistently critiqued and revised.
Aesthetic Anxiety: Uncanny Symptoms in German Literature and Culture (Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft, Volume 141) by Laurie Ruth Johnson