PL EN


2012 | 47 | 4 | 147-162
Article title

“The Undiscovered Country”, “A Kind Behind the Door”, “Neverland”, or “A Small Unfocused Blur”: Uncanny Literary Definitions of Death

Title variants
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
Known yet unknown, undiscovered yet constantly discovered and re-discovered, death has always been a gold mine providing ideas, work and wages for scientists, sociologists, philosophers, artists, literary critics, and many others who find life’s provisionality in any way “uncanny”. This article looks at select literary definitions of death that present mortality as a concept both familiar and unfamiliar, comforting and discomforting, domestic and strange. Like the Freudian term “uncanny”, the nature of mortality is complex, mysterious and elusive. As Terry Eagleton (2003: 211) points out, “[d]eath is both alien and intimate to us, neither wholly strange nor purely one’s own”. While some of Freud’s ideas from his essay “The ‘Uncanny’” are used as the basis for discussion here, this analysis is not limited to a psychoanalytic perspective and includes psychological, sociological, medical and literary references which help explore different aspects of death in literature.
Keywords
Publisher
Year
Volume
47
Issue
4
Pages
147-162
Physical description
Dates
published
2012-12-01
online
2013-03-27
Contributors
  • University of Social Sciences (SAN), Łódź
References
  • Barrie, J. M. 1986 Peter Pan. London: Puffin Books.
  • Dickinson, Emily 1961 The complete poems of Emily Dickinson, in: Thomas H. Johnson (ed.). Boston - New York: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Kinnell, Galway 1994 Imperfect thirst. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1994a “Neverland”, in: Galway Kinnell, 79-81.
  • Larkin, Philip 2003 Collected poems. (Edited by Anthony Thwaite). London: Marvell Press and Faber and Faber. 2003a “Aubade”, in: Philip Larkin, 190-191.
  • O’Driscoll, Dennis 1982 Kist. Mountrath, Ireland: Dolmen Press. 1987 Hidden extras. London: Anvil Press Poetry.
  • Rilke, Rainer Maria 1969 Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke, 1910-1926. (Translated by Jane Bannard Green and M.D. Herter Norton.) (2 vols.) New York: Norton. [1910] 2009 The notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. (Translated and edited by Michael Hulse.) London: Penguin Books.
  • Roth, Philip 2005 “It no longer feels a great injustice that I have to die”, in: Martin Krasnik. 2007 Everyman. London: Vintage.
  • Shakespeare, William 1980 Hamlet. (Edited by T. J. B. Spencer.) London: Penguin Books. 1993 The illustrated Stratford Shakespeare. (Edited by Chancellor Press.) London: Chancellor Press. 1993a As you like it, in: William Shakespeare, 214-238.
  • Stevens, Wallace The collected poems. New York: Vintage Books. 1990a “Sunday morning”, in: Wallace Stevens, 66-70.
  • Whitman Walt [1855] 2001 Song of myself. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications.
  • Eagleton, Terry 2003 After theory. New York: Basic Books.
  • Freud, Sigmund [1919] 2001 “The ‘Uncanny’”, in: Vincent B. Leitch (ed.), 929-952.
  • Gaughen, Shasta (ed.) 2003 Coping with death. New York: Greenhaven Press.
  • Howarth, Glennys 2010 Death and dying: a sociological introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Kennedy, Douglas 2006 Review of Philip Roth’s Everyman, in: Guardian.
  • Kleinbard, David 1993 The beginning of terror: a psychological study of Rainer Maria Rilke’s life and work. New York: NYU Press.
  • Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth 2003 On death and dying. New York: Scribner.
  • Leitch, Vincent B. (ed.) 2001 The Norton anthology of theory and criticism. New York - London: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • Lynn, Joanne - Joan Harrold 2003 “Dealing with sudden death”, in: Shasta Gaughen (ed.), 84-89.
  • Rivkin, Julie - Michael Ryan (eds.) 2001 Literary theory: an anthology. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Rose, William 1973 “Rilke and the conception of death”, in: William Rose - G. Craig Houston (eds.), 41-84.
  • Rose, William - G. Craig Houston (eds.) 1973 Rainer Maria Rilke: aspects of his mind and poetry. New York: Haskell House.
  • Seale, Clive 1998 Constructing death: the sociology of dying and bereavement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Shklovsky, Victor [1917] 2001 “Art as technique”, in: Julie Rivkin - Michael Ryan (eds.), 17-23.
  • Wolff, Cynthia Griffin 1988 Emily Dickinson. Reading, MA: Perseus Books.
  • Yalom, Irvin D. 1980 Existential psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books.
  • DeGrazia, David 2011 “The definition of death”, in: Edward N. Zalta (ed.)., available at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/death-definition/index.html (date of access: 28th August 2011).
  • Guardian, the (no indication of author) 2006 “Death and devotion”. Review of Philip Roth’s Everyman. Guardian.co.uk. Guardian, available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2006/apr/29/featuresreviews.guardianreview (date of access: 10th June 2012).
  • Krasnik, Martin 2005 “It no longer feels a great injustice that I have to die”, an interview with Philip Roth. Guardian.co.uk. Guardian, available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/dec/14/fiction.philiproth (date of access: 11th May 2012).
  • Zalta, Edward N. (ed.) 2011 The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, available at http://plato.stanford.edu/index.html (date of access: 28th August 2011).
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.doi-10_2478_v10121-012-0016-6
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.