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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 2
Description 2 ROBERT E. HELBLING PART I: In the Grotto of the Grotesque Most of us, in our less responsible hours, have watched on TV or in the movies one of those mysteries where the heroine, frightened but curious, walks down into the cellar of a haunted house to discover the source of some dreadful wailings. Our reaction is usually self-contradictory: "how silly of her!" Yet, we cannot wait to find out what secret is buried down there. Vicarious fright and fascination mingle with a half-stifled laughter, since we find the situation and ourselves mildly ridiculous. This response may have something in common with the effect the so-called "grotesque" has on us. And the critic who ventures into the abode of the grotesque is in a similar frame of mind to that of our heroine: a little daft and fatally curious. But more to the point: he is comparable to Menelaus in the Greek myth venturing into the grotto of Proteus with the fatuous intent of pinning down the wily creature, for the grotesque is indeed a slippery, protean concept. As a matter of fact, the term is derived from grotta, the Italian for "cave." The origins of our modern concept of the grotesque are harmless enough. Some fifteenth century excavations in a huge grotta in Rome brought to light a series of fanciful murals decorating the Domus Aurea ("Golden House") of Nero, the palace of Titus and others. This decorative style is characterized by a strange interweaving of plant, animal, human, and architectural forms, amounting, in Santayana's words, to "a rejection of the natural conditions of organisation."1 Natural physical realms disintegrated and were reassembled in a novel way to suit the whims and fancies of the artist - a horse with legs of leaves, a human head leering out of a tulip blossom, for instance. In his celebrated treatise, De Architectura, Vitruvius, the first century B.C. architect, engineer, and ardent defender of classical simplicity, had roundly denounced the new style as decadent mumbo jumbo. But the sixteenth century became fascinated with it, witness Pinturicchio's decorations of the ceiling vaults at the library of the Cathedral of Siena, Raffael's rather subdued examples in the papal loggias of the Vatican, or Signorelli's exuberant creations in the Orvieto Cathedral. Though fascinated by the newfangled style, the critics of the day did not quite know what to make of it and passed it off as the product of the sogni dei pittori, the vagrant dreams of painters. Goethe, in his Italianate mood, found most grotesques frolicsome, overlooking their occasional sinister qualities. And Hegel, forever sniffing out
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 005-RNLT- helblingR_ Page 2.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 320007
Reference URL