THE UNCANNY IN «CARMILLA» BY J. S. LE FANU IN THE CONTEXT OF NIETZSCHEAN AND PSYCHOANALYTIC PERCEPTION


  • Tamara Kyrpyta
Keywords: Uncanny, ugly, beautiful, sublime, literary gothic, literature of horrors

Abstract

The article deals with the category of uncanny as an integral part of Gothic literature in the aspect of philosophical and aesthetic views. It traces the connection between the notions of «horrible», «ugly» and «sublime», as well as the artistic embodiment of this connection in the novella about the vampires «Carmilla» by J. S. Le Fanu. Sigmund Freud’s article «The Uncanny» gave literary critics one of the key concepts that are used in the analysis of Gothic literature and literature of horror. The Uncanny, according to Freud is something strange, which disguises itself as a familiar one, it is something that should be hidden, but suddenly showed itself. In Gothic, this is usually embodied in anthropomorphic objects that resemble humans (or other living creatures), but are not in truth: dolls, mechanical toys, art images, etc. That is, the things acquire properties unusual and uncharacteristic for them. At the heart of the horror literature as a successor to a Gothic novel lays the idea of the wrongness and disharmony. In this context, Freud’s «uncanny» echoes the Kantian notion of «sublime», as well as, to a certain extent, the paradox of the ugly put forward by N. Goodman. Kant’s «sublime» is aesthetically close to Freud’s «uncanny». This is something recognisable and at the same time immense, which gives a sense of grandeur and even holiness, and hence, causes surprise, connected with awe and fear. The ideal content of the sublime is far greater than its real embodiment. Following F. Nietzsche, who advocated aesthetic relativism and considered the irrationalDionysian impulse to be no less important than the rational Apollonian one, the postmodernists rejected the aesthetic distinction between Good and Evil and, consequently, the contrast between the Beautiful and the Ugly. Thus, N. Goodman, in his paradox of the ugly, says that under certain circumstances ugly objects can be perceived as attractive ones, and the beautiful arouses disgust. And J. Kristeva believes that it is through disgust caused by the ugly that catharsis occurs as purification from existential fear. We traced the features of the artistic embodiment of horror, disgust and uncanny in «Carmilla» by J. S. Le Fanu.

References

1. Burke, E. (1968). A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the sublime and Beautiful. Ed. James T. Boulton. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
2. Freud, S. (2004). The uncanny. In S. Freud. Literary Theory: An Anthology. (pp. 418–430). Maiden: Blackwell Publishing.
3. Kaplama, E. (2016). Kantian and nietzschean aesthetics of human nature: a comparison between the beautiful/sublime and Apollonian/Dionysian dualities. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 12(1), 166–217.
4. Kristeva, J. (1982). Powers of horror (Vol. 98). University Presses of California, Columbia and Princeton.
5. Le Fanu, J. S. (2008). Carmilla. In J. S. Le Fanu, In a Glass Darkly (pp. 207–272). Ware: Wordsworth Editions.
6. Rosenkranz, K. (2015). Aesthetics of ugliness: A critical edition. Bloomsbury Publishing.
7. Wilby, E. (2005). Cunning folk and familiar spirits: shamanistic visionary traditions in early modern British witchcraft and magic. ISBS.
Published
2020-12-22
How to Cite
Kyrpyta, T. (2020). THE UNCANNY IN «CARMILLA» BY J. S. LE FANU IN THE CONTEXT OF NIETZSCHEAN AND PSYCHOANALYTIC PERCEPTION. Anglistics and Americanistics, 1(17), 112-116. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.15421/382019
Section
RELEVANT ISSUES OF LITERARY STUDIES AND STYLISTICS