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ISSN : 1226-4946(Print)
ISSN : 2288-5412(Online)
The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol.71 pp.129-145

The Uncanny of W.B. Yeats and Emily Dickinson: The Weird House and the Repressed Self

Jiyun Seo
Hanyang University


This paper endeavors to elucidate the portrayal of the house in the works of Yeats and Dickinson through the lens of Freud’s concept of “the uncanny.” Freud’s explication of the uncanny pertains to the psychological encounter with occurrences or entities that are not only enigmatic but also evoke a disquieting sense of dread due to their uncanny familiarity. In Yeats and Dickinson, the ostensibly familiar house emerges within disconcerting and eerie narratives, thereby inducing an inescapable psychological perturbation. This paper explores Yeats’s utilization of the house in Purgatory as a symbol to encapsulate the prevailing disarray, bewilderment, and despondency intrinsic to the old man. Similarly, it delves into Dickinson’s presentation of the house as a confining locus wherein conventional female roles are imposed and stifled. In her poems, concealing and suppressing one’s past through the medium of the house leads her to encounter another divided self, another unfamiliar me. The uncanny house in Yeats and Dickinson metamorphoses into a realm where fractured selfhood is besieged by an overwhelming sense of terror, consequently blurring the demarcations of consciousness.





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