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'Why the Uncanny?' by Pippa Goldschmidt

Why write about the uncanny? Sigmund Freud described the uncanny as ‘not the strange, but the familiar become strange’, and since I last wrote a blog for Luna about our upcoming anthology Uncanny Bodies, this definitely feels like a state of mind that we can recognise. Because of corona, everyone’s lives have been transformed in a miriad of ways we are only perhaps beginning to come to terms with. What was normal and unremarkable is now a possible threat. What we took for granted has been taken away from us. So, although the concept of the uncanny is over a hundred years old, it has no problems with staying up to date.

This anthology was motivated by a desire to bring together creative writers and academics in humanities to explore the uncanny and its relation to the environment, to illness and to our own (human and non-human) bodies. (The earlier blog has a complete list of our contributors.)

Because the uncanny can’t easily be categorised, the editors thought it was appropriate to encourage our contributors to go beyond their usual modes of thinking and writing, and explore new ways of expressing themselves.

The resulting anthology has a wonderful mixture of poems, short stories, dramatic dialogues and academic essays. The last is truly remarkable in the way the academic authors have taken risks and blended together different ways of expressing their ideas, drawing on their own lives and using non-academic modes of expression such as poems.

As one of the three editors (along with Drs Gill Haddow and Fadhila Mazanderani) I’m proud of all the work we’re presenting in ‘Uncanny Bodies’ and in future blogs I’m going to be discussing how the anthology explores different aspects of the uncanny.


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