Saturday, 11 December 2010

Notes from Introduction to the Uncanny by Nicholas Royle

Royle Nicholas, 2003, Introduction to the Uncanny, Manchester, Manchester University Press

- Uncanny involves feelings of uncertainity regarding reality of who one is and what is being experienced

- It is not simply an experience of strangness or alienation but also a link of the familiar and unfamiliar taking the form of something familiar unexpectedly arising in a strange and unfamiliar context

- Feeling of Uncanniness may come from coincidences, a sense of things 'fated' or 'meant to happen'

- Uncanny can result in something grusome and terrible - death, corpses, cannibalism , live bural, the return of the dead

- framing and boarders create limited experience or feeling of nostalgia or 'home sickness' compulsion to return to an inorganic state

-Heidegger, 20th century believed the character of our being in the world is uncanny
"the surrealism of the habitual"

- A effect not classed as uncanny but has similiar ideas - "In turning the object... from something ordinary, familiar, immediately accessible, into something peculiar, striking, unexpected." (Brecht, 2003, Pg 5)

Uncanny Definitions
1. Mischievous, Malicious (obselete)
2. Careless/uncautious
3. Unrealable, not to be trusted
4a. of persons: Not quite safe to trust or have dealings with associated with supernatural arts or powers
b. Partaking of a supernatural character, mysterious, werid, uncomfortably strange or unfamiliar
c. In comb - Unpleasantly servere or hard
5. Dangerious, unsafe

- Johnson's account of 'new world' ghostliness of machines but also of feelings, concepts and beliefs

4. Film 

- Film and Photography emerged to undermine unique identity of objects and people, reproducing the appearances creating a parallel world of phantasmatic doubles alongside the concrete world (Royle, 2003, Pg 75)

- Photographic image - question of the double
- Film - idea that frame started to move the frame is never still

- Everyone has an eerie double "Ewer's film is uncanny because film is uncanny" (Royle, 2003, pg77)
- "Film is in it's essence a world of doubles." (Pg 78)

- The image, the spectator, the gaze, voyeurism, fetishism, objectification of the woman, the flashback, etc rise feelings of uncanniness - film industry contains such feelings to tame the 'domestic audience'

- Film extra - sense of ghostly double impelled by fantasy or dream of identity engaged in minor part, one of the crowd

6. Silence, Solitude and ... 

- "Did you say something?
- I heard a voice
- In your head?
- No, in yours." (Royle, 2003, Pg 107) - idea of insanity and listening to personalities created by subconcious

- unfamiliar becoming familiar to one's self state and mind

7. Darkness

- Freud's essay returns to idea of 'Uncanniness' moving around in the darkness - idea of concealed, kept from us

- The origin of Uncanny effect of silence, darkness and solitude
-Losing one's way in the dark

- Frightened of the dark, Children frightened of strangers and not seeing the person they love and rely on

12. The Double

-  "the double is uncanny harbinger of death one may want one's double dead but death of the double will always be the death of oneself"

- 'Name' itself becomes 'uncanny harbinger'
- capable of outliving it's bearer and belonging to a stranger as well as self
- inhuman with the name e.g Romeo would be a stranger without his name because he wouldn't be who he is as a person

- idea of heart not truely belonging to us
- " a certain exteriorty of the automaton" (Derrida, 2003, pg 93) of a foreign body and deathly power of repetition ( unfamiliar within our own bodies).

15. Manifestations of insanity: Hunger and contemporary fiction

- impression of automatic process at work behind appearance of mental activity
- self and multiple identity

- Hunger - the cause of fits and manifestations
- 'phantom effects'
- "it's the darkness of the 'I', I in a state of utter absense of self" (Galloway, 2003, Pg 217)

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