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Alchemical MercuryA Theory of Ambivalence$
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Karen Pinkus

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804760324

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804760324.001.0001

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“The Sandman”

“The Sandman”

Chapter:
(p.115) § 5 “The Sandman”
Source:
Alchemical Mercury
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804760324.003.0008

This chapter presents an alchemical reading of E. T. A. Hoffmann's 1815 tale “The Sandman.” For the modern critic, this text has become inextricable from Freud's 1919 essay “Das Unheimliche” (“The Uncanny”). Separated by a century, both texts were written with an eye toward the second part of the tale, the explosive trauma caused to Nathanael by Olympia, the automaton, and by the evil barometer seller Coppola. Given Freud's interest in repression, it would seem particularly important to concentrate on the protagonist's early life as it emerges in the tale and in Freud's analysis.

Keywords:   Hoffmann, Freud, Das Unheimliche, trauma, automaton, Nathanael, Olympia, Coppola, alchemy

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