Deakin University
Browse

File(s) under permanent embargo

The uncanny mask and the fiction writer

Version 2 2024-06-13, 11:50
Version 1 2020-05-28, 10:58
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-13, 11:50 authored by M Takolander
This paper explores the connection between the mask and fiction writing. Freud has theorised the identifications of writers and readers with the masks of literary personae, but my interest in this essay is with how the mask of a narrator or character can function uncannily to impede identification. I am also interested in research emerging from neuroscience, socobiology and robotics, the last of which has drawn attention to the ‘uncanny valley’, an affect generated by cybernetic beings that deny–by virtue of their mask-like faces–the neuronal mirror activity fundamental to human identity. Both Freudian and emerging scientific research provide the context for the question I ask here: how might we understand the affect generated by a fiction writer who uses the uncanny mask of a narrator or character to refuse opportunities for identification and to elicit, instead, an uncanny crisis in subjectivity within the reader? To answer this question, I employ a hybrid autoethnographic methodology that recognises the primacy of feeling when it comes to the experience of the uncanny and that acknowledges my own compromised position as a writer invested in such unfriendly or sadistic affects.

History

Journal

New writing

Volume

18

Pagination

136-148

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

1479-0726

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

2

Publisher

Taylor & Francis