Enstranged Strangers: OOO, the Uncanny, and the Gothic

H.G. Bartholomew 1
  • 1 University of Exeter, , Exeter, Ireland


Exploring the links between Speculative Realism, psychoanalysis, and literary criticism, this article examines OOO’s entanglement with the ‘uncanny’. Reading OOO against three notable treatments of the concept - Sigmund Freud’s 1919 essay “The ‘Uncanny’”, Ernst Jentsch’s 1906 paper “On the Psychology of the Uncanny”, and Martin Heidegger’s discussion of uncanniness in his Introduction to Metaphysics (1953) - it argues that OOO reconfigures the ‘uncanny’ as a profoundly ontological concept premised on aesthetic enstrangement. Using E.T.A. Hoffmann’s short story “The Sandman” as a case study, it assesses what the consequences of this reconfiguration are for literary criticism and, in particular, the study of the Gothic. By splicing OOO into the history and practice of Gothic scholarship, this article traces the outline of an “object-oriented uncanny”, pushing the ‘uncanny’ out of Freud’s shadow and into the “great outdoors”.

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