I. B Johansen


We live in a disenchanted world. This historical Entzauberung has been linked up with the rise of the bourgeoisie and is described at some length in Karl Marx' and Friedrich Engels' The Communist Manifesto (1848): 'The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations.... It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation.,.'' And the rupture with the past and its beliefs — among the latter a belief in the reality of magic — is reflected in numerous ways in nineteenthcentury (bourgeois) literature; but at the same time the process of enlightenment and its consequences are contested, for it turns out to be much more difficult to get rid of this past than presupposed, insofar as it is still at work in the unconscious. The French philosopher Michel de Certeau expresses this paradoxical situation in the following way: 'seeing better', as far as 'the relationship of every Aufklärung to the insights that are either prior to or contemporary with it' is concerned, always represents both 'a scientific necessity and a new way of getting duped without knowing it' ('une nouvelle manière d'être trompé à son insu').^ Whatever you do to escape into a wonderful future or a rational utopia, you cannot escape from the shadow of the father — or from precisely those 'feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations' Marx and Engels refer to at the beginning of their manifesto: Faustus always has to sign a (new) pact with the Devil, who is still the father-substitute of our modern, scientific age, if we are to believe Certeau's interpretation of Freud.^



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