112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

Homely, Unhomely, Uncanny: The Familiar and the Unfamiliar in German Literature and Culture

Session Chair: 
Roswitha Burwick, Scripps College
Session 4: Friday 3:45-5:15pm
RCC Meeting Room 4


  1. Heidi Schlipphacke, University of Illinois, Chicago
    This paper analyzes the dialectic of surface and depth in Ludwig Tieck's "Der blonde Eckbert," revealing how the uncanny is linked to a notion of "truth" that is constructed via the over- and underemphasis on materiality in Tieck's "Kunstmaerchen."
  2. Imke Meyer, "University of Illinois, Chicago"
    Turn-of-the-century Vienna seems populated by uncanny children. The disturbing child figures in Hugo von Hofmannsthal's "Maerchen der 672. Nacht" immediately come to mind, as do Therese's son in Schnitzler's eponymous novel, Gustav Klimt's painting of Maeda Primavesi, or Oskar Kokoschka's "Spielende Kimder." Are there features that all of these representations share? Can a reading of representations  of  uncanny children enrich our understanding of fin-de-siecle Viennese culture? This paper pursues these and related questions.
  3. Heide Witthöft, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
     Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in Patrick Süskind’s Das Parfum causes people to feel uncomfortable in his presence. They sense that there is something uncanny about him, that he lacks an essential human quality, although most people would be at a loss to describe what that is. I will analyze why and how this uncanny feeling manifests itself, how it affects Grenouille’s social interactions, and how he manages to alter people’s perceptions dramatically. I will also show that the “uncanny” can be conquered temporarily, but with fatal consequences.
  4. Kathleen Ong, Columbia University
    This paper takes as its basis Cathy Caruth’s Literature in the Ashes of History (2013) in investigating the site within history where the first-person narrator and character Austerlitz in W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz (2011) operate from in attempting to work out the uncanny, intertextual returns they continually return to while reckoning with personal and national histories of trauma. 
Session Cancelled: