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 smooth subjectivity. the usually terrible, yet occasionally additionally stress-free, event of tension might be a classy mode in addition to a mental country. Johnson's elucidation of that kingdom 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)
Elsewhere Schlegel addresses memory and loss in more detail, in the context of thinking about the nature of what he calls “world consciousness,” or the “Welt-Ich”: “Das Welt-Ich hatte seinen Ursprung vergessen: es findet ihn wieder. Dieses Wiederfinden ist die Erinnerung: diese Erinnerung aber muß mit Schmerz und Reue verbunden sein, über den wo nicht gänzlichen, doch teilweisen Verlust der ursprünglichen Einheit, über den innern Zwiespalt und Kampf, der das Wesen des Welt-Ichs ganz zu zerrütten droht” (“World-consciousness had forgotten its origin: it finds it once more.
H. 47 For Schelling, “defeating the principle of the past” does not mean erasing the past, but rather something quite like Freud’s much later notion of repressing it. This repression enables a Homer to emerge, but Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology also acknowledges that the principle of the past will resurface as uncanny experience (it will “come to light”); this is a dialectical move. 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.
However, long before Freud acknowledges the repulsive and the frightening as legitimate categories of aesthetic investigation, there is an aesthetics of fear in Western thought and in the German tradition. This aesthetics of fear and dread (“Schreckens-” and “Schauerästhetik”) often is Friedrich Schelling, Clara, oder Zusammenhang der Natur mit der Geisterwelt, Sämmtliche Werke, ed. A. Schelling, vol. 9 (Stuttgart and Augsburg: Cotta, 1861) 29, 30. This edition is referred to henceforth as SW. The translation is Fiona Steinkamp’s in Clara, or On Nature’s Connection to the Spirit World (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002) 22.