Published March 7th 2003 by Routledge – 336 pages
"At last, a philosophical work that discusses ghosts and madness seriously. Royle, in a style that is warmly engaging right from the preface, speaks directly to the reader…For an academic book this is a hell of a page-turner…A compulsive book." -- pirandello.org.uk
"[A] playful, scholarly study… densely and allusively argued, yet also full of pregnant one-liners…a fascinating and ambitious work." -- The Guardian
"This is a brilliant book…Royle's writing is astonishingly adventurous…The book is indispensable to any study of the uncanny and thus to any study of the literary…A critical tour de force." -- Textual Practice
"Without doubt the outstanding book in critical and cultural theory published in 2003." -- Martin McQuillan, Editor of Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, for the English Association
"Royle's playful, scholarly study of this protean idea collects essays on topics as various as Freud, moles (as in worthy pioneers rather than beauty spots), the Victorian fascination with being buried alive, cannibalism, the "omniscient narrator" of fiction as telepath, and doppelgängers (in which chapter he tells the amusing story of his own "double", the novelist Nicholas Royle). The book is densely and allusively argued, yet also full of pregnant one-liners, such as this on
cinema: "The entire 'industry' might be defined as a palliative working to repress the uncanniness of film." (What does Royle think of those recent masterpieces of the uncanny, Japanese horror film Ringu and Danielewski's novel House of Leaves ?) He also has fun making up words, using parenthesis marks to bracket empty space, and putting anecdotes in coffin-shaped boxes. Those allergic to Derrida, oft cited here, may bristle; but it's a fascinating and ambitious work." -- The Guardian
Nicholas Royle is Professor of English at the University of Sussex. His books include Telepathy and Literature (Routledge) and Deconstruction: A User's Guide. He is coeditor of The Oxford Literary Review.