Page 7

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Title Power of "negative" thinking, The: the grotesque in the modern world
Subject Grotesque
Description The 45th Annual Frederick William Reynolds Lecture.
Creator Helbling, Robert E.
Publisher Frederick William Reynolds Association
Date 1982-11-30
Date Digital 2008-05-29
Type Text
Format image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications Original scanned on Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner and saved as 400 ppi uncompressed tiff. Display images generated in PhotoshopCS and uploaded into CONTENTdm Aquisition Station.
Resource Identifier,768
Source BH301.G74 H44 1982
Language eng
Relation Digital reproduction of "The Power of "negative" thinking," J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Rights Digital Image Copyright University of Utah
Metadata Cataloger Seungkeol Choe; Ken Rockwell
ARK ark:/87278/s6ks6pjf
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-08-04
ID 320034
Reference URL

Page Metadata

Title Page 7
Description THE POWER OF "NEGATIVE" THINKING 7 Other episodes are a trifle more mundane. In the opening section of Hoffman's Sylvesternacht, Victor Hugo might have found a prime example for his aestheticist theory, which purports that the grotesque serves as foil for the sublime - we may call this view "folism": Quasimodo putting into relief Esmeralda's beauty, the hideous physical shape of the hunchback accentuating the diaphanous purity of his soul. The excited narrator in Hoffman's tale has rediscovered his lost sweetheart, whom he finds to be more angelic than ever. Music from Mozart's "sublime E Flat Major Symphony" is heard. " 'I shall never let you go, your love . . . inspiring higher life in art and poetry . . . but didn't you return in order to be mine forever?' - Precisely at that moment, a clumsy, spider-legged figure with protruding frog's eyes came stumbling in, laughed foolishly, and shrieked: 'Where the devil has my wife gone?' "6 With a few precise strokes, Hoffmann has drawn a grotesque figure composed of human and animal traits, whose model might be found in some of Callot's engravings, creating an episode that provokes incipient terror palliated or neutralized by stifled laughter. But there may be more to Hoffman's tales than frequent lapses into nightmarish hallucinations. According to Hegel again, in some Romantic art and literature, grotesqueness is an inverted expression of the pure spirit which manifests its profound dissatisfaction with the phenomenal world by wreaking havoc with it, much as airborne kitchen utensils and oozing walls may betray the aberrations of an addled poltergeist.7 Here, another brief caveat is in order: Hoffmann's portrayal of the husband is no mere caricature. Genuine caricature renders familiar features more familiar through exaggeration, while neglecting others, thereby providing a bemused laughter of recognition, Mr. Nixon's nose and jowls, for instance. But if a nose takes on an independent life of its own, becomes a nose an sich as German philosophers would say, and saunters around in a Russian city, as in Gogol's tale, the familiar has become estranged, in this case literally and figuratively. Similarly, the insect and animal features of Hoffmann's figures have rather an "alienating" than "familiarizing" effect. But I must come to terms with the Romantic grotesque for which we have singled out somewhat arbitrarily and, to the experts rather questionably, E.T.A. Hoffmann. To a great extent, his works gave rise to a prominent and still much debated theory, advanced in 1957
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 010-RNLT- helblingR_ Page 7.jpg
Source Original Manuscript: The power of "negative" thinking : the grotesque in the modern world by Robert E. Helbling.
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-29
ID 320012
Reference URL