Signatures of the Visible

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Psychology Press, 1992 - Literary Criticism - 254 pages
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"The visual is essentially pornographic," writes Fredric Jameson, "films ask us to stare at the world as though it were a naked body." In Signatures of the Visible, one of America's most influential critics explores film and the culture surrounding it, interrogating the relationship between the imaginative screen world and the historical world onto which it is projected. By seeking the historical dimension of the visual, Jameson evaluates the power of the filmic form as a vehicle for the critique of culture and the diagnosis of social life. Jameson pursues this investigation through readings of politics, class, allegory, magic realism, and "the historical" in such films as Diva, The Shining, and Dog Day Afternoon. Throughout the book, he is concerned with the relationship between the achievements and limits of contemporary film theory itself, "a relationship," he argues, "which allows one to take the temperature of history itself."
 

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User Review  - echaika - LibraryThing

Not for the faint of heart or the deficient in vocabulary, but for those of us who believe that criticism points out the good and the bad, and uncovers what is not obvious, this is a worthwhile read. Hmmm. Think it's time to read it again. Ah, so many books, so little time.... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture 1979
9
Class and Allegory in Contemporary Mass
35
Diva and French Socialism 1982
55
Historicism in The Shining 1981
82
Allegorizing Hitchcock 1982
99
On Magic Realism in Film 1986
128
The Existence of Italy
155
Notes
231
Index
251
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About the author (1992)

Fredric Jameson is Director of the Graduate Program in Literature at Duke University.

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