File Name: robert stam reflexivity in film and literature .zip
- Robert Stam - Film Theory. an Introduction (Blackwell, 2000)
- Reflexivity in film and literature
- Reflexivity in Film and Literature : From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc Godard
I agree with Jeffrey Skoller who notes that the image, following Bergson, could be seen as a half way between thing and representation which "gives cinema the complex layered quality as something that indexically simulates the visible work and also have the potential to open beyond itself.
Robert Stam - Film Theory. an Introduction (Blackwell, 2000)
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G r this book is auai! While the literature of film theory is vast, and while there are nuerous anthologies of film theory and criticism Nichols, ; sen, , there are relatively few historical overviews of film heory as an international enterprise. Dudley Andrew's The Major Film Theosand Andrew Tudor's Theories of Film, despite their many good alities, were both written in the mids and therefore do not er recent developments as I have attempted to do here.
I have generdeployed theory not for its own sake, but in order to analyse ific texts e. Rear Window, Zelg or specific issues e.
Vlll role of language in film, the role of cultural narcissism in spectatorship. My dialogue with theory began in the mid s when I was living and teaching in Tunisia, North Africa. There I began to read in French the film theory associated with the beginnings of film semiology, and I also participated in Tunis's vibrant film culture of cinC-clubs and cinCmat2ques.
I went to Paris in to study at the Sorbonne, where I combined the study of French literature and theory with daily often thrice daily trips to the cinCmateque, and visits to classes on film, including those taught by Eric Rohmer, Henri Langlois, and Jean Mitry. When I returned to the USA in as a graduate student in the Comparative Literature Department at the University of California, Berkeley, I kept in touch with theory through Berkeley's many courses on film, dispersed through various departments, and especially through the inspirational work of Professor Bertrand Augst, who always kept us abreast of the latest Parisian developments.
My studies in Paris also led to a long correspondence with Christian Metz, an extraordinarily generous figure who commented regularly on my work as well as on his own.
On occasion, some of the material here recasts and reconfigures some of the work that appeared in those books. The section on "reflexivity" reworks material from Reflexivity in Film and Literature; the section on "alternative aesthetics" reworks material from Subversive Pleasures, the section on "intertextuality" and the question of film language recasts material from New Vocabzzlaries in Film Semiotics, and the section on "Multiculturalism, Race, and Representation" recapitulates some materials from Unthinking Eurocentrism.
I should like to thank a number of people for their help. Andrew McNeillie of Blackwell Publishers showed unwavering support and enthusiasm. He is one of those rare editors who actually develops a human and intellectual dialogue with writers. Alison Dunnett and Jack Messenger of Blackwell Publishers have been delightful editors and e-mail correspondents. I also want to thank the four people who blessed me with a close and meticulous reading of the manuscript: Richard Allen, James Naremore, Ella Shohat, and Ismail Xavier.
One could not ask for better interlocutors. Finally, my thanks to the Rockefeller Foundation for offering me a residency at the Bellagio Center in Italy, where I corrected the proofs of this book. It is hdrd t o imagine a more serene setting in which to do such work.
Introduction My hope in this book is to provide a reasonably comprehensive overview of film theory during "the century of the cinema," for both those already familiar with the subject and those with little previous knowledge. What follows, then, is a kind of "user's guide" to film theory. It is a very personal guide, since it is inevitably colored by my own interests and concerns. At the same time, however, I am not personally committed to theories of my own construction, so I hope I have maintained some "ecumenical distance" from all the theories I discuss.
I do not pretend to be neutral, of course clearly, I find some theories more congenial than others , but neither am I concerned to defend my own position or to malign my ideological opponents.
Throughout this book I am shamelessly eclectic, synthetic, anthropophagic even. To paraphrase Godard, one should put whatever one likes in a book of film theory. If I am a partisan of anything it is of "theoretical cubism": the deployment of multiple perspectives and grids. Each grid has its blind spots and insights; each needs the "excess seeing" of the other grids.
As a synaesthetic, multi-track medium which has generated an enormously variegated body of texts, the cinema virtually requiresmultiple frameworks of understanding.
Although I make frequent reference to Bakhtin, I am not a Bakhtinian if such a thing exists. Rather, I use Bakhtin's theoretical categories to illuminate the limitations and potentialities of other grids. I have learned from many theoretical schools, but none of them has a monopoly on the truth.
I refuse to believe that I am the 1 Introduction only person in the field who can read both Gilles Deleuze and Nod Carroll with pleasure, or more accurately, who reads both with mingled pleasure and displeasure. I refuse the Hobson's Choice beween approaches which often strike me as complementary rather than contradictory. There are many possible ways to describe the history of film theory. It can be a triumphant parade of "great men and women":.
It can be a history of cinema's rapprochement with or rejection of other arts: film as painting, film as music, film theater It can be a sequence of as. It has to confront the same logistical problem that confronted early filmmakers like Porter and Edison: the problem of the "meanwhile," i. This book has t o convey a sense of "meanwhile, back in France," or "meanwhile, over in genre theory," or "meanwhile, in the Third World. A strict chronology can also be deceptive.
The mere fact of sequencing risks implying a false causality: post hoc ergo propter hoc after this therefore because of this. The ideas of theorists working in one historical period might bear fruit only much later.
Who would have guessed that the philosophical ideas of Henri Bergson would reemerge a century later in the work of Gilles Deleuze? The work of the Bakhtin Circle, similarly, was published in the s, yet Bakhtinian ideas "entered" theory only in the s and s, at which point a retrospective reassessment defined him as a "protopoststructuralist.
In any case, I do not generally subscribe to the "great person" approach to film theory. The section rubrics in this book designate theoretical schools and research projects rather than individuals, although individuals obviously play a role in schools. This book also has to cope with the difficulties inherent in all such surveys. Chronology deceives and patterns falsify. Generalizations about theoretical "schools" elide the manifest exceptions and anomalies.
Synthetic accounts of given theorists for example, Eisenstein fail to register changes in their theories over time. The slicing up of a theoretical continuum into neatly separated movements and schools, moreover, is always somewhat arbitrary. Many of the theoretical "moments," furthermore - feminism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, postcolonial theory - are maddeningly intertwined and concurrent; ordering them in a linear fashion implies a temporal succession that doesn't exist.
Hypertext and hypermedia might have handled this challenge more effectively. While this book tries to survey the field impartially, it is - as I have already indicated - a very personal account of film theory.
I am therefore confronted by the question of voice, of how to interweave my own voice with the voices of others. On one level, the book is a form of "reported speech," an enunciatory modality where the social evalu- Introduction Introduction atlons and intonations of the "reporter" inevitably color and shade the report.
T o put it differently, the book is written in what literary theorists call "free, indirect discourse," a style which slides between the direct reporting of speech - quoting Eisenstein, for example and a more ventriloqual speech - my version of Eisenstein's thinking - all interlaced with more personal ruminations. T o make a literary analogy, it is as if I were mingling the authorial interventionism of a Balzac with the filtrations of a Flaubert or a Henry James.
At times I will present the ideas of others; at times I will extrapolate or expand o n the ideas of others; and at times I will present my own ideas as they have evolved over the years. When a passage is not marked as summarizing the work of others, the reader can assume that I am speaking in my own voice, especially in relation to issues that have always concerned me: the historicity of theory, intertextuality theory, Eurocentrism and multiculturalism, alternative aesthetics.
My goal is not to discuss any single theory or theorist in exhaustive detail, but rather to show overall shifts and movements in terms of the questions asked, the concerns expressed, the problematics explored. In a sense, my hope is to "deprovincialize" theory in both space and time. In temporal terms, theoretical issues trace their antecedents far back into pre-cinematic history.
Issues of genre, for example, have been present at least since Aristotle's Poetics. In spatial terms, I see theory as implicated in a global, international space. Nor do film-theoretical concerns follow the same sequence in every locale. While feminism has been a strong presence in Anglo-American film theory since the s, feminism including French feminism has had relatively little impact in French film critical discourse. While film theorists in countries like Brazil or Argentina have long been concerned with issues of "national cinema," such issues have been more marginal and recent in Europe and America.
Film theory is an international and multicultural enterprise, yet too often it remains monolingual, provincial, and chauvinistic. French theorists have only recently begun to reference work in English, while Anglo-American theory tends to cite only that work in French which has been translated into English. A good deal of important work, for example Glauber Rocha's voluminous writings on film - analogous in some ways to Pasolini's written oeuvre, combining theory and criticism with poems, novels, and screenplays - has never been translated into English.
While Bordwell and Carroll are right to mock the servile Francophilia of that posts strain of film theory that genuflects to Parisian gurus long after their aura has faded in France itself, its ' corrective is not Anglophilia or "United Statesian" jingoism, but rather a true internationalism. I therefore hope to multiply the per- ' spectives and locations from which film theory is spoken, although I have hardly succeeded to the degree I might have hoped, since the focus here still remains more or less constricted to theoretical work undertaken in the United States, France, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and I t l y , with all-too occasional "visits".
The fiction feature film d la Hollywood is often regarded as the "real" cinema, much in the same way as an American tourist abroad might ask: "How much is this in real money? All are worthy of our interest. Film theory is rarely "pure"; it is usually laced with an admixture of literary criticism, social commentary, and philosophical speculation.
The status of those who practice film theory, moreover, varies widely, from film theorists rtrictu sensu Balazs, Metz , through filmmakers reflecting on their own practice Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Deren, Solanas, Kluge, Tarkovsky , to freelance intellectuals who also write about the cinema James Agee, Parker Tyler , through practicing film critics whose collective oeuvre "hides," as it were, an embryonic theory to be teased out by the reader the case of Manny Farber or Serge Daney.
Recent decades have witnessed the "academicization" of film theory, in a situation where most theorists have a university base. Introduction The semiotic film theory of the s and s presumed a kind of quasi-religiousinitiation into the sacred texts of the theneigning maltres d penser. Much of film theory came to consist of.
For indsay Waters, theory was. Grand Theory has bandoned its totalizing ambitions, while many theorists have called more modest approaches to theory, in tandem with philosoers like Richard Rorty who redefine philosophy not as systemitding d la Hegel but rather a s a civil "conversationn without claims to ultimate uuth. Theorists such as Noel Carroll and d Bordwell, similarly, have called for "middle-level theoriz.
There is a at "middle-range" theory, like "consensus history" or "endgymdiscourse, will assume that all the big questions are 6 unanswerable as posed, leaving us only with small-scale inquiries susceptible ro direct empirical verification.
That some questions, such as the role of the cinematic apparatus in engendering ideological alienation, were answered ineptly or dogmatically does not mean that such questions were not worth asking. Indeed, even unanswerable questions might be worth asking, if only to see where they take us and what we discover along the way. Film theory, to put it paradoxically, can generate productive failures and calamitous successes.
Reflexivity in film and literature
Narratives from various ages and places, across diverse corpora, draw attention to their own textuality, even if they do so to differing degrees and in different ways. Making my case with reference to a wide range of ancient narratives, I argue that narrative narcissism can be a useful, nuanced analytic lens through which to read ancient literature, and that ancient examples of narcissism can nuance our understanding of this narratological concept. Narcissism is not tied to the genre of the novel modern or postmodern. Narcissism is, in fact, the original condition of narrative. My proposal, developed in the second section of the essay, is this: we ought to bring Echo back into our allegorical employments of Narcissus in narratology.
Reflexivity in Film and Literature : From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc Godard
Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. Stam Published Art. Reflexivity refers to those moments in fiction and film when the work suddenly calls attention to itself as a fictional construct. For example, in literature a character might suddenly step out of the story and address the reader.
Written in English. If, as Stam asserts, the modern film, like the traditional novel, has served as "a school for life, an initiatory source of models for behavior" 10 , then when filmmakers like Alien incorporate reflexive techniques-techniques that consciously destroy verisimilitude-into their films, they are also demanding that their audiences acknowledge that films like the one they are watching. Reflexivity is the theory that a two-way feedback loop exists in which investors' perceptions affect that environment, which in turn changes investor theory of reflexivity has its.
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Narcissus has been with us all along: Ancient stories as narcissistic narratives
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