The uncanny is the weird, the strange, the mysterious, a mingling of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Even Freud, patron of the uncanny, had trouble defining it. Yet the uncanny is everywhere in contemporary culture. In this elegant book, Nicholas Royle takes the reader across literature, film, philosophy, and psychoanalysis as he marks the trace of the uncanny in the modern world. Not an introduction in the usual sense, Nicholas Royle's book is a geography of the uncanny as it manifests (...) itself - and disturbs our thinking - in a range of disciplines. (shrink)
In this entertaining and provocative introduction, Royle offers lucid explanations of various key ideas, including deconstruction, undecidability, iterability, differance, aporia, the pharmakon, the supplement, a new enlightenment, and the democracy to come. He also gives attention, however, to a range of less obvious key ideas of Derrida, such as earthquakes, animals and animality, ghosts, monstrosity, the poematic, drugs, gifts, secrets, war, and mourning. Derrida is seen as an extraordinarily inventive thinker, as well as a brilliantly imaginative and often very funny (...) writer. Other critical introductions tend to highlight the specifically philosophical nature and genealogy of his work. Royle's book proceeds in a new and different way, in particular by focusing on the crucial but strange place of literature in Derrida's writings. He thus provides an appreciation and understanding based on detailed reference to Derrida's texts, interwoven with close readings of such writers as Shakespeare, Coleridge, P.B. Shelley, Poe, Emily Brontë, Franz Kafka and Elizabeth Bowen. In doing so, he explores Derrida's consistent view that deconstruction is "a coming-to-terms with literature". He emphasizes the ways in which "literature", for Derrida, is indissociably bound up with other concerns, such as philosophy and psychoanalysis, politics and ethics, responsibility and justice, law and democracy. (shrink)
These are the first published extracts of a Covid-19 diary, co-written over two years (2020–22). The authors are concerned to both record and analyse the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic altered the sense and experience of inside and outside, home and world, self and other. Grief—both personal and ecological—is uncircumventable. At the same time, the virus provokes critical thinking on how ‘another life is possible’. Literature and music are key forces in the authors' shared and interweaving reflections.
This essay is an exercise in the phenomenology – and post-phenomenology – of reading in relation to Elizabeth Bowen’s The Hotel (1927), a novel that thematizes and reflects on the uncanny status of reading and provokes in response an experimental critical ABC. Special attention is given to the work of French psychoanalyst Charles Baudouin in foregrounding the role and effects of suggestion in reading. Engaging with the concerns of writing and reading fiction in the ‘Anthropocene’ (especially in the form of (...) what is here called twi-fi) and drawing on notions of literary anachrony, cryptaesthetic resistance, queerness and deferred effect, the essay offers a new critical appreciation of the singularity of Bowen’s novel. (shrink)
The popular image of Japanese society is a steroetypical one - that of a people characterised by a coherent set of thought and behaviour patterns, applying to all Japanese and transcending time. Ross Mouer and Yoshio Sugimoto found this image quite incongruous during their research for this book in Japan. They ask whether this steroetype of the Japanese is not only generated by foreigners but by the Japanese themselves. This is likely to be a controversial book as it does not (...) contribute to the continuing mythologising of Japan and the Japanese. The book examines contemporary images of Japanese society by surveying an extensive sample of popular and academic literature on Japan. After tracing the development of "holistic" theories about the Japanese, commonly referred to as the "group model", attention is focused on the evaluation of that image. Empirical evidence contrary to this model is discussed and methodological lacunae are cited. A "sociology of Japanology" is also presented. In pursuit of other visions of Japanese society, the authors argue that certain aspects of Japanese behaviour can be explained by considering Japanese society as the exact inverse of the portayal provided by the group model. The authors also present a multi-dimensional model of social stratification, arguing that much of the variation in Japanese behaviour can be understood within the framework as having universal equivalence. (shrink)
This piece seeks to explore notions of commemoration and autobiography with particular reference to the life and work of Laura Marcus. Special attention is given to her Auto/Biographical Discourses, Virginia Woolf and Autobiography, as well as Paul de Man’s essay ‘Autobiography as De-Facement’, the work of Jacques Derrida, and Woolf’s ‘biography’, Orlando.
This essay takes up the phrase “not now” as a way of trying to explore various aspects of Derrida’s work especially in the contexts of temporality, apocalypse, mourning and spectrality. It focuses on a range of Derrida’s texts, including Of Grammatology, “Ousia and Grammē,” the “Envois” in The Post Card, “No Apocalypse, Not Now,” “The Time is Out of Joint,” and Demeure: Fiction and Testimony. Attention is also given to the strange workings of “not now” in children’s literature (in particular (...) David McKee’s Not Now, Bernard) and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. (shrink)
This text seeks to analyse a dream in which Freud writes to the author. Particular attention is given to the notion of treatment and, in a memorable phrase from Hélène Cixous, ‘how to treat the dream as a dream’. Royle draws on diverse references, and focuses on a range of Freud's writings, in order to explore the relationship between psychoanalysis and literature. Particular attention is given to free association, deferred effect and the epistolary.
Royle's text considers the importance of psychoanalysis in the writings of Cixous and Derrida, in particular in terms of Cixous's description of Freud as ‘the Shakespeare of the Night’. An exploration of what Derrida terms ‘thinking analysis’ in Cixous's writing is pursued via readings of Freud and Popper-Lynkeus, Derrida's ‘To Speculate — on Freud’, and telepathic or magical thinking in Shakespeare. It concludes with A Midsummer Night's Dream and with what Royle considers perhaps the most beautiful ‘because’ in Shakespeare.
‘On the Run’ explores various aspects of ‘imagining Derrida’/‘Derrida imagining’, as well as the notion of a deconstructive imaginary. The text is at once critical, autobiographical and phantomatic or fantastical. Attention is given to Derrida's interests in cinema and ghosts, friendship and imagination, telepathy and literature. The question of a ‘deconstructive imaginary’ is pursued through discussion of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Wallace Stevens and Sigmund Freud, in particular. The paper concludes with a meditation on dreams about dead people.
“Poetry, Animality, Derrida”: this title is traced by a play of the letter, by the chance of an acronym: “pad.” This pad – the random drawing up of these three letters, p, a, d – is perhaps untranslatable. As such, it might bear witness to Jacques Derrida's memorable remark about poetry, translation, and the materiality of words: “The materiality of a word cannot be translated or carried over into another language. Apocalypse distracted: deranged, absent‐minded, diverted apocalypse. Not in some merely (...) maniacal or else nihilistic manner: it is necessary to reckon, as always in Derrida's writing, with the workings of deconstruction as what he calls a “strange strategy without finality”, with “distracted apocalypse” as a figure of that. Derrida's commentary on Lawrence's poem is too rich and suggestive to be readily summarized. (shrink)