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Grammar of the Uncanny

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Inspired by the contemporary intersection between hermeneutics, phenomenology, and psychoanalysis on the one hand, and poetics on the other, this article is a study in the peculiar manifestation of strangeness that obtains within the self. It is a descriptive and autobiographical account of a disclosure that, though common, is irreducible to traditional categories of mimesis and ontology: the experience of displacement in self-consciousness and embodiment. Drawing upon insights by Sigmund Freud and Martin Heidegger, and in dialogue with the poetics of Jules Renard, the essay seeks to appreciate a certain grammar of ipseity that is formative of subjectivity and constitutive of the poetic vocation. Emphasis is placed on the productive quality of the “between” (Zwischen) as it obtains both geographically and internally, and the concentration potentially resulting from the “between” as one grapples to configure in language the experience of playing “host” to one’s own self.

Affiliations: 1: Boston College

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