By Laurie Ruth Johnson
Esthetic anxiousness analyzes uncanny repetition in psychology, literature, philosophy, and movie, and produces a brand new narrative concerning the centrality of aesthetics in sleek subjectivity. the customarily terrible, yet occasionally additionally stress-free, adventure of hysteria might be a cultured mode in addition to a mental nation. Johnson's elucidation of that country in texts via authors from Kant to Rilke demonstrates how estrangement can produce attachment, and repositions Romanticism as an engine of modernity.
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Extra info for Aesthetic Anxiety: Uncanny Symptoms in German Literature and Culture (Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft, Volume 141)
Woozley (London: Collins, 1964), Book I, “Introduction,” Sec. 7. ”63 Weber says that reverting to repetition forces Freud to establish a reciprocal relationship in his thinking between love and loss, and between the pleasure principle and the death drive. ” By “autonomy,” Casey means that memory can be liberated from not only the initial perception or sensation that created it, but from the individual remembering subject as well. Uncanny memory, which is a repetition of repressed content but also something new, and which is the liberation of sensation from affect, thus goes “beyond mind” and appears in bodies (often within the context of psychosomatic disorders), in significant places (of commemoration, or of evocation)—it appears out in the world, in aestheticized and anxious form.
Uncanny Anxiety and Sublime Awe Acknowledged or otherwise, anxiety courses through the history of modern aesthetics. In an early treatise on classical art entitled On the Imitation of the Greeks (Gedancken über die Nachahmung der Griechischen Werke in der Mahlerey und Bildhauer-Kunst, 1755), Johann Joachim Winckelmann chooses, of all sculptures, the Laocoön, a depiction of agonizing death, to exemplify “noble simplicity and still grandeur” (“edle Einfalt und stille Grosse”). In the wake of Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten’s attempt to unite the science of sense perception with transcendental judgment in the Aesthetica of 1750-1758, the number of texts devoted to aesthetic theory increases, and their focus on beauty is attended frequently by a fear of decay.
Turning the juxtaposition of “nature” and “mother” in a still-anxious but more personal and less murderous direction, Clara says: If children had been given to me and then they were all taken away, I could never consider it as chance or a temporary fortune to have been the mother of these souls; I would feel—yes, I would know—that they belong to me eternally and I to them and that no power on Earth or in heaven could take them from me or me from them. )9 Clara here describes a response to the loss of love objects that could be called eternal mourning—the permanent attachment of libido to something permanently lost.
Aesthetic Anxiety: Uncanny Symptoms in German Literature and Culture (Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft, Volume 141) by Laurie Ruth Johnson