As today I will have a meeting with my supervisors, and as I am expected to talk about what have I done so far, I was trying to wrap up things.
anyway, I decided to begin with giving a brief summary of the historical journey, the changes the concept uncanny has been through, a literature review of the concept uncanny let say. (which sounds quite a daft attempt.)
The concept of uncanny was developed by Freud in his 1919 dated essay. Though he was not the first one to point out to the concept-and most critics even argue it cannot be considered even as a concept due to its poor conceptualization- he was the one who really tried to deal with it. Anneleen Masschelein elaborates on the subject in her essay "A Homeless Concept: Shapes of the Uncanny in Twentieth-Century Theory and Culture."
According to Kofman and Cixous, Freud's complementary investigations are circular: the dictionary is called upon to corroborate the results of the case studies, but the one has no more reality than the other, because Freud merely confirms his interpretations by another interpretation. Not only is he thus trapped in the hermeneutic circle, he is also unable to distinguish between literal meaning and metaphorical meaning, between denotation and connotation, between reality and fiction.
Masschelein later argues that there is no point in trying to blame Freud not being able to conceptualize, frame the uncanny given the recent climax.
As Freud demonstrated in his article, the uncanny is, like many other concepts, a word taken from common language, which is metaphorically charged with a certain meaning. Therefore, it is impossible to reduce the origin of these kinds of concepts to just one text or to just one usage. On the other hand, there must always a "first" one to lift such a word from its ordinary context, and to put it forward as a topic for reflection, in this case Freud.
one of the critics of Freud even says that Freud was lucky that there exist such a work like "unheimlich."(I need a reference here). What if there was not such a word?
A recent article I have come across make this point a bit invalid. A text by Mark Wigley in Deconstruction and the Visual Arts: Art, Media, Architecture. The Domestication of the House: Deconstruction After Architecture is a quite moving work, for the ones that are uninitiated in philosophy like me.(Another issue that I dont know where to stand).
Wigley talks about the analogy between philosophy and the architecture, and Heidegger's elaboration on the subject. Heidegger takes "house" as the metaphor of all metaphors, or better put the proper place, proper meaning that makes metaphor possible.(metaphor is basically the displaced proper meaning in this line)
In this sense, the "lexiological pilgrimage" of Freud (as Nicholas Royle calls it) seems to be not totally baseless. (I find the etymological surveys in the academic papers, or in any kind of papers quite intriguing. It is not just creating an argument for the sake of an argument. It is a historical review as well.)
seeing house as the proper place, proper meaning also calls its exclusionary aspect. It needs to exclude the other to be a within. This is the point deconstruction and Derrida involves in the subject.
If we divide the different approaches towards uncanny in three different phases as Bart van der Straeten suggests, ( the 18th century: romantic period, the late 19th and early 20th century: the modernist period, and the period after 1960's: postmodernist period) this deconstructionist tendency falls under the rereading of Freud's text in 1960's.In which Freud's work was considered as an attempt to undermine the western logocentricism. It is an era where a postmodernist nostalgia for the repressed, subordinated part of the binary pair is at issue as Wendy Wheeler points at.
Anneleen Masschelein tells that:
a number of important readings of Freud's essay from a post-structuralist and/or deconstructive perspective have shaped the present form of the concept, and they function as theoretical landmarks in their own right. The most important examples are Cixous, Weber, Kofman and Hertz in the seventies and early eighties, more recent instances are Moller and Lydenberg.
Wigley, Mark. The Domestication of the House: Deconstruction after Architecture.Deconstruction and the Visual Arts: Art, Media, Architecture.USA: Cambridge University Press,1994.