Page 11

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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 11
Description THE POWER OF "NEGATIVE" THINKING 11 suggests genuine human involvement and moral sensibility as patently missed opportunities.13 To use Victor Hugo's paradigm: it is a search, though frustrated, of the sublime by way of the grotesque. To what extent such episodes evoke defensive laughter in us may be a moot point. The exorcist theory may prove too limited to corral the grotesque in all its protean shapes. Much has been written on the "comic," but the psychological etiology of the physical reflex associated with it - laughter - seems to be little understood. We may recall Ecclesiastes complaining: "I said of laughter, It is mad. And of mirth; What doeth it?" or the Capuchin monk who, according to the eighteenth-century essayist Joseph Addison, wrote "that laughter was the effect of Original Sin, and that Adam could not laugh before the Fall."14 For our purposes, I must restrict myself to suggesting the commonplace that there are many different kinds of laughter, foremost among them an anarchic or even sadistic one; as well as the joy of emancipation from old taboos - two rather unintellectual or emotional responses. But there is also a more intellectual kind of laughter, for instance the pleasure of seeing the joke, no matter how grim, or the mirth caused by the boldness and novelty in certain artistic or literary creations. Our feelings of fear, revulsion, or horror may likewise be of dual nature; half emotional, half intellectual; i.e., our primitive fear of the alien and abnormal may be aroused or our lingering moral and aesthetic values offended.15 There is no exacting grotesque "calculus." All we can say is that, depending on the compound of emotional/intellectual elements present, there may be a more comically oriented grotesque tending at the outer edges toward satire, and a more terrifying grotesque tending toward the gothic-macabre. In other words, the grotesque may be seen as a genus, rather than a species. PART II: The Power of "Negative" Thinking As I look at what I consider to be contemporary expressions of the grotesque, I question whether the comical, perceived or directly portrayed, merely serves the purpose of diminishing the horror or perplexity and making the nightmare more bearable - as we may have responded with nervous guffaws at the crudities displayed by the pubescent-girl-turned-harridan in Friedkin's primitive attempt at portraying the daemonic, in the sense of a supernatural, theologically grounded eveil, in his notorious film The Exorcist. The theory centering on horror shackled by defensive laughter is too simplistic to come to terms with the grotesque in our own age. Here, I come
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 014-RNLT- helblingR_ Page 11.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 320016
Reference URL