Page 6

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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 6
Description 6 ROBERT E. HELBLING and moral diffidence. We might object that there is a fair amount of grotesque stuff in the literature of the Enlightenment, that happy interlude between the stake and the guillotine, in Voltaire's Candide, for instance, or in Swift's Tale of the Tub. But in these works the grotesqueries clearly serve the aims of a pointed social satire, maybe because their authors could still have a modicum of confidence in the ultimate triumph of human reason. Reverting to our German Romantics, they were past masters in dredging up some pretty scary nightmare figures. But they did not do this to provide their readers with a cheap thrill. The general ambiance into which German Romanticism was born is permeated by a philosophy that postulated the presence of a free and absolute spirit behind the humdrum world of mere empirical understanding. Some Romantics such as Novalis went the mystic way and tried to find the identity of the self with that transcendental spirit through an inward journey of the soul (somewhat comparable to latter-day transcendentalists). Others immersed themselves in the fantasy world of the fairy and folk tale. (Parenthetically the fantastic is not identical with the grotesque. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Tolkien's hobbit world are not grotesque, through at times they may flirt with it, for the fantastic creates a world governed by its own esoteric laws rather than showing a disquieting estrangement of our world from itself.) Still other Romantics - and these are of topical interest to us - foremost among them E.T.A. Hoffmann, went the grotesque way. In their urge to find access to the "spiritual" realm hidden behind a rational facade, they created a dichotomous world where oneiric creatures, both frightening and comical, ugly and poetic, took possession of the soul or popped in and out of the protagonists' lives, blurring thereby the dividing line between dream and reality. Some episodes in The Elixirs of the Devil read like the literary equivalent of Bosch's or the Brueghel's infernal visions: I wanted to pray, when I became aware of a bewildering whispering and rustling. Persons whom I knew to be gentle were distorted into the wildest caricatures. Heads moved along on crickets' legs attached to their ears and sneered at me. Strange fowl - ravens with human faces - whirled in the air. I recognized the concertmaster from B, with his sister, who danced madly to the tune of a waltz which her brother played on his chest, which served as a violin. Belcampo, with an ugly lizard's face and mounted on a ghastly winged worm, violently approached me and wanted to comb my beard with a red-hot iron comb . . .5
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 009-RNLT- helblingR_ Page 6.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 320011
Reference URL