112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

Introduction to "The Uncanny Art of Reading"

Heidi Schlipphacke, University of Illinois, Chicago

As Freud reminds us in his 1919 essay “The Uncanny” (“Das Unheimliche”), the uncanny encounter is both a familiar and an unfamiliar one. Perhaps a product of post-sacral modernity, uncanny feelings frequently haunt our encounters with an Other and with literary texts, for the play between the known and the foreign constitutes the art of interpretation. Reflecting on temporal and figural literary hauntings may open up a discussion about how the act of reading literature rehearses the uncanny encounter with the Other in productive ways.

Proposal: 

As Freud reminds us in his 1919 essay “The Uncanny” (“Das Unheimliche”), the uncanny encounter is both a familiar and an unfamiliar one. Perhaps a product of post-sacral modernity, uncanny feelings frequently haunt our encounters with an Other. In the 2014 PAMLA Forum, we are particularly interested in uncanny encounters with texts, as it is precisely the play between the known and the foreign that constitutes the art of interpretation. The act of reading itself can be uncanny, as one encounters familiar signs and narratives shaped into unfamiliar constellations. The 2014 PAMLA Forum will reflect on various aspects of temporal and figural literary hauntings, opening up a discussion about how the act of reading literature rehearses the uncanny encounter with the Other in productive ways.