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The Mediated MindAffect, Ephemera, and Consumerism in the Nineteenth Century$
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Susan Zieger

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823279821

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823279821.001.0001

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Ink, Mass Culture, and the Unconscious

Ink, Mass Culture, and the Unconscious

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter 3: Ink, Mass Culture, and the Unconscious
Source:
The Mediated Mind
Author(s):

Susan Zieger

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823279821.003.0004

Chapter three studies ink, an ephemeral material of mass print, because its cultural history reveals a mystified model of the unconscious as media storage that still has currency. For tens of millions of new writers, ink was a flawed technology; its blots and splashes signified the chaos of unreason. At the same time, gazing at pooled ink to see remote events or the future became a well-known pastime and cultural referent; from an older model of divination, it emerged as a psychological performance. Later in the century, deliberately spilling and spattering ink to make random forms became a social, aesthetic, and scientific practice. Inkblot games, art, and psychological tests formalized and standardized the quotidian ink accident; ink began to materialize the unconscious. Wilkie Collins, in his novel The Moonstone (1868), represented ink-gazing as a nascent figuration of the unconscious – not the deep, Freudian subjectivity of hidden, conflicting drives, but as information stored and hidden out of sight.

Keywords:   clerk, Ink, inkblot, ink-gazing, Rorschach, unconscious

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