Cosmic Fear

Cosmic Fear

204 pages


Genre: Literature, Philosophy, Essay, Nonfiction

When I am dead, I am no longer there. The thought, as cruel as it is exciting, triggers a vertigo, because it touches on the impossibility of grasping one's own death. Daniel Illger recognizes in this vertigo the concern of a "weird fiction", as whose most important author H. P. Lovecraft is considered. Illger identifies cosmic anxiety as an aesthetic experience that draws from the dissolution of the fundamental coordinates of our existence the greatest horror, but also an exhilarating sense of liberation. Cosmic anxiety shapes the phantasm of ego dissolution as an incessant plunging into unfathomable depths. In it Illger recognizes the fear of our time. Its horror is based on the one hand on the scientifically plausibilized diagnosis that the universe is a meaningless and soulless place, but on the other hand on the abyss of transcendence itself. In relation to the crisis diagnoses of the present, the project of an art that stands under the sign of cosmic fear can then be understood as an attempt to locate the ego in the tension between fear of and pleasure in its own dissolution.

German title: Kosmische Angst
ISBN: 978-3-7518-0522-3
Publisher: Matthes & Seitz Berlin
Publication date: 2021
Series: Fröhliche Wissenschaft Vol. 192

Sample translation

German pdf available

Daniel Illger, born in 1977 in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany was born in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, and is a writer and film scholar. The first volume of his fantasy trilogy Skargat was awarded the 2016 the Seraph Prize for the best debut award. 2019 saw the publication of his study Green Suns. Poetics and Politics of Fantasy on the Medium of Video Games.