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Incorporating Images

Incorporating Images: Film and the Rival Arts

Brigitte Peucker
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Incorporating Images
    Book Description:

    Film, a latecomer to the realm of artistic media, alludes to, absorbs, and undermines the discourses of the other arts--literature and painting especially--in order to carve out a position for itself among them. Exposing the anxiety in film's relation to its rival arts, Brigitte Peucker analyzes central issues involved in generic boundary crossing as they pertain to film and situates them in a theoretical framework. The figure of the human body takes center stage in Peucker's innovative study, for it is through this figure that the conjunction of literary and painterly discourses persistently articulates itself. It is through the human body, too, that film's consciousness of itself as a hybrid text and as a "machine for simulation" makes itself deeply felt.

    In films ranging from Weimar cinema through Griffith, Hitchcock, and Greenaway, Peucker probes issues in aesthetics problematized by Diderot and Kleist, among others. She argues that the introduction of movement into visual representation occasioned by film brings with it an underlying tension suggestive of castration and death. Peucker goes on to demonstrate how the encounter between narrative and image is both gendered and sexualized, rendering film a "monstrous" hybrid. In a final section, she explores in specific cinematic texts the permeable boundary between the real and representation, suggesting how effects such astableau vivantandtrompe l'oeilfigure sexuality and death.

    Originally published in 1994.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6402-7
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
    (pp. 3-7)

    This book examines the problematic space that film occupies between the established arts of painting and literature. An agonistic dynamic governs the relation of film to these sister arts, as cinema struggles for self-legitimation through the appropriation, revision, and subversion of literary and painterly tropes. In a series of paradigmatic readings, I will elucidate the issues generated by the incorporation of these discourses in the cinematic text; their conjunction, I claim, is articulated most persistently through the figure of the human body.

    There are varied and interrelated reasons for the prominence of the body at the site of this articulation....

  6. CHAPTER ONE Movement, Fragmentation, and the Uncanny
    (pp. 8-54)

    Early speculations concerning the nature of film hovered uneasily around the subject of movement, around issues of life and lifelessness, body and soul, the fantastic and the uncanny effect. “The essence of cinema,” Georg Lukács wrote in 1913, “is movement itself,” and he was already reflecting a widespread belief.² Earlier, a Grand Café program advertising films by the Lumière brothers describes in detail what these films record, namely, “all the movements which have succeeded one another over a given period of time in front of the camera and the subsequent reproduction of these movements by the projection of their images,...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Monstrous Births: The Hybrid Text
    (pp. 55-103)

    As a latecomer, film alludes to, absorbs, and undermines the discourses of the other arts in order to carve out a position for itself among them. Place precariously between the sister arts of literature and painting especially, film harbors a twofold insecurity that changes its guise—the symptoms of its presence—from film to film, filmmaker to filmmaker. When one or another of these arts is emphasized, this is sometimes a strategy to shift the spectator’s attention away from whichever art it is that most immediately threatens to encroach on the territory of the film, for it is too jealous...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Incorporation: Images and the Real
    (pp. 104-167)

    As a preoccupation of the literary imagination, the tantalizing gap between signified and signifier has a long history, which suggests that the desire to merge the “real” and representation has been one of the aims of writing from its beginnings. An awareness of the disjunction between the factuality of the real in general and the inability of language not only to represent it but somehow to cross over into its domain informs fiction and poetry alike. This desire may surface in fiction, for example, as the desire to write upon the body—seductive epistles are written on a lover’s backside...

  9. Afterword UT PICTURA POESIS
    (pp. 168-174)

    In a recent essay aimed against the interest in pictorialism and the visual image that informs current critical debates, Claudia Brodsky Lacour represents film studies as having “spearheaded” the tendency of theories of the visual media to promote the image by adopting “the metalanguage of language.”¹ Locating the current crisis of aesthetic theory in “the structural exchange of vision and words,” Brodsky Lacour’s essay inveighs simultaneously against postmodern theories of the image and the institutionalization of the cultural studies that they make possible.² Quite predictably, the villains of this piece are Foucault and Barthes, together with those who, like W.J.T....

  10. Notes
    (pp. 175-214)
  11. Index
    (pp. 215-227)