Craig Sims




P.P.3; V.I

Page 9

implicated entirely in his inclusion in the Inferno*
illustrates well the power afforded by a plurality of
narrative voices and of the nuances that might play
out across their interactions.

Grotesque abjection swells the veins of this scene —
itself a grim burlesque of Virgil's own Aeneid.11 The
aberrant degradation (and, more correctly, the en-
forced dissolution of identity) visited upon Pier della
Vigna and his arboreal cohort speaks to a plasticity of
form found at the very etymological root of the ‘gro-
tesque'.12 Indeed, admixture coils at the heart of both
Mikhail Bakhtin's and Julia Kristeva's conceptions
of the grotesque and the abject respectively.13 At the
confluence of both broods an erosion of distinction
between Self and Other: of the pollution of the pure
by something lesser and otherwise external.

Although psychoanalysis persists in haunting its
passages, Freud's 1919 treatise, The Uncanny, does not
want for relevance on the subject of synthesis and re-
vulsion.14 A term whose definition does not yield itself
to easy precision, the Uncanny embraces broadly the
paradoxical — and slightly more tempered —