The Trope of House: A Study of Freudian Uncanny in Guy de Maupassant's "The Horla"

Sourav Ghosh


 In literature and cultural studies, the idea of the home as a location for the uncanny has frequently appeared. The home as a familiar space can be interpreted as strangely familiar with uncanny manifestation. Familiar rooms suddenly feel foreign, and the line between the inside and outside could become hazy. Home, in Guy de Maupassant's “The Horla”, acts as an active entity to create horror— initially a space of comfort. Also, the house serves as a symbol of the character's psychological state, and the uncanny elements within the house reflect anxieties. While the Horla (or the out there) is invariably read by scholars as the double. The projection in “The Horla” emphasizes the idea that the home can be both reassuring and unsettling, familiar yet strange. The present paper examines how the house creates the trope of horror, which leads to the narrator’s burning down the house and also committing suicide.


double in psychoanalysis; trope of house in gothic fiction; Freud's uncanny

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