Processes of Repression: Image, Illusion, and the Uncanny

By Pablo Petrucci.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 4, 2014 $US5.00

Anneleen Masschelein describes the ‘uncanny’ as a term with plurality of meaning, oscillating between flimsiness and richness of depth, and also benefiting from modern “keyword search” methods that allow for a unique conceptual life across disciplines. While multiple meanings are sometimes viewed as problematic, the following paper will explore the image as illusion in relation to distinct definitions of the uncanny. Each definition demonstrates how plurality of meaning still leads us to understanding the psychological and socio-political consequences of illusory images in the cultural landscape. Particular attention here will be paid to the 1951 film “The Tales of Hoffmann” - an adaptation of Jacques Offenbach’s opera about a man incapacitated with idealized images of illusory beauty. Mladen Dolar’s essay on “Lacan and the Uncanny” speaks to the nature of gender difference in this opera, and the illusory image of beauty as removing the real presence of women. Additionally, this paper will examine Renée Bergland’s “The National Uncanny,” a book that critiques the spectral image of Native Americans as not only illusory, but a tool for political and cultural removal. In each work, illusory images remove those who cannot properly represent themselves.

Keywords: Uncanny, Enlightenment, Images, Illusion, Freud, Jentsch, Renée Bergland, Ghosts

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2014, pp.109-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 4, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 339.359KB)).

Pablo Petrucci

M.A. Candidate and Research Assistant, Department of Communication and Culture, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada