Irish university review vol:36 issue:1 pages:116-133
To describe the uncanny in Banvillean terms, we link his universe with those of Freud, Nietzsche, Hopper and Balthus. In the first part of this article I enumerate Freudâs seven features of the uncanny and illustrate how they are molded throughout Banvilleâs oeuvre.
Next we focus on Eclipse which realizes Freudâs uncanny in yet different ways, charted with the help of Agamben and Deleuze. Indeed in its style and images Eclipse seems to move towards a worldview of Deleuze and Guattari, with Banvilleâs protagonistâs âtranscendental tipsinessâ reflecting Deleuzeâs âtranscendental empiricismâ. Exploding the Gothic novel & the âclassicâ sense of the uncanny, Banville develops âa minor literatureâ which tries to produce what is not quite recognisable.
Eclipse combines an intertextuality which refers to Dante, the Gothic novel and, of course, Amphytrion. In his modulations of these coordinates Banville demonstrates (as usual) his anti-causal take on the world, replacing causality with parallel interactions, shot through with the uncanny (the evil eye, an epileptic, a haunted house, a mixture of dreams and reality, childhood memories and castration fears) which brings in a new dynamism in the representation of the âindividualâ as a very divided self.
I conclude by illustrating that Eclipse is interesting because of its paradox of the egotistic protagonist who practises a willing suspension of identity, which will be taken further into the next novel, Shroud. Both novels are chiastically linked: the eclipse is shrouded in the first novel while the shroud is eclipsed in the second. Straddling the uncanny of E.T.A. Hoffmann and that of Tieck, the Freudian and the Deleuzian subject, Banville proves once more a Hiberno-English European, who makes the most of this in-between position.