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(1977). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXXVIII, 1974: The Double and the Devil. The Uncanniness of The Sandman. Sarah Kofman. Pp. 25-56.. Psychoanal Q., 46:178-178.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXXVIII, 1974: The Double and the Devil. The Uncanniness of The Sandman. Sarah Kofman. Pp. 25-56.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 46:178-178

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXXVIII, 1974: The Double and the Devil. The Uncanniness of The Sandman. Sarah Kofman. Pp. 25-56.

Kofman discusses the novel by E. T. A. Hoffman, The Sandman. She takes issue with Freud's analysis (in his essay, "The 'Uncanny'") of the origins of the effect of strangeness in the novel. Although she believes Freud correctly criticized traditional aesthetics for its neglect of the uncanny, she feels that his emphasis on the themes of castration and the return of the repressed in this novel does not fully explain its uncanny effect. His thematic reading erroneously economizes the complex structure of the novel.

In reviewing the structure of the novel, Kofman develops the theme of the imaginary and the real and the theme of the animate versus the inanimate, the latter a theme which Freud had dismissed. Emphasizing the use of doublings in the novel, she notes the ambiguity and uncertainty about these doubles. In contrast to Freud, who believed that the loss of vision was a symbolic castration, Kofman understands the theme of vision to be symbolic of a creation by mimicry, rather than real procreation. The hero of the novel is a victim of illusions, who preferred an inanimate double of life (the doll Olympia) to life itself. The hero preferred artistic creation to life—creation by way of the eyes and illusion, rather than by genital procreation. Loss of vision for the hero would have been symbolic not of castration but of the recovery of sexuality and of real life. The author marshalls much evidence for her interpretation of The Sandman and attempts to show how these elements contribute to the novel's uncanny character.

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Article Citation

(1977). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXXVIII, 1974. Psychoanal. Q., 46:178-178

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