To establish the intertexts and artistic principles his films put into play, this chapter reviews the abundant critical writings Rohmer published in France from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. The film's mechanical, objective character, which Bazin first proposed in a landmark essay of 1945 on the 'ontology' of the photographic image, heralded in Rohmer's view a Copernican revolution, for it set cinema firmly apart from the other arts. The chapter aims to present and contextualise Rohmer's primary theoretical and critical insights. Yet Rohmer's writings warrant attention not simply as a pillar of high criticism within the local history of postwar French film comment. Despite the enthusiasm for Hollywood he shared with the Young Turks, Rohmer remains at base a Bazinian, for whom the cinema is inseparable from the belief in the camera's capacity for revealing the world in a manner unique among the arts.
Chris Baldick and Robert Mighall have argued rather convincingly that ‘Gothic
Criticism’ is in need of an overhaul. I revisit their controversial article
through an analysis of Oscar Wilde’s parody of the Gothic and of scholarship,
‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’ In this tale of creative criticism, Wilde’s hero,
Cyril Graham, invents the character of Willie Hughes to prove a theory about
Shakespeare’s sonnets. Contrary to Baldick and Mighall, I argue that Gothic
criticism might do well to take its cue from its object of study. Plunging deep
into the abyss, abandoning pretentions of knowing fact from fiction, natural
from supernatural, I whole-heartedly - momentarily - consider the ‘Willie Hughes
theory’ and ‘I will take up the theory where Cyril Graham left it and I will
prove to the world that he was right’.
genre codes, and to take box-office
success as an important criterion of quality.
The work done by Cahiers du cinéma in the 1950s
was central to the development of film theoryandcriticism not only in
France but also
in the USA, Britain and the rest of Europe. Truffaut’s polemical
attacks on the tradition de qualité and his championing of the
work of Hollywood directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and
The inflection of desire in Yvonne Vera and Tsitsi Dangarembga
’s sexuality, especially in so far as sexuality remains the dark secret of the Third World nation. Queer sexuality, in
point of fact, probably still constitutes what could best be termed a virtual nonpresence, or at least a covert silencing, an ‘unsaying’, in postcolonial discourses
generally and in African writing in particular.3 It is a surprising omission or
occlusion considering that, since the 1960s, postcolonial theoryandcriticism
have grown up in tandem with the emergence of a politics of identity and cultural diﬀerence, and are deeply informed by discourses of
andcriticism and his own ideological self-evaluation as a class-conscious
educator and his subsequent work as a film and theatre director? Firstly,
it’s important to dispel any misconception that Reisz and his peers
saw a clear-cut division between cinema as an intellectual and artistic
‘discipline’ as opposed to a commercial and industrial
‘craft’ or ‘business’. As Reisz explained to the
London Times in 1960
The book aims to provide a balanced appraisal of Eric Rohmer's oeuvre in historical context. Although interpretation of individual films will not be its main objective, representative examples from the director's twenty-five features and fiction shorts will be presented throughout. The focus is on production history and reception in the mainstream French press. This key stylistic editing trait cannot be appreciated without reference to André Bazin's concept of ontological realism, of which Rohmer was a major exponent at Cahiers du cinéma. To establish the intertexts and artistic principles his films put into play, the book reviews the abundant critical writings Rohmer published in France from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. It explores how sound and image are configured, and to what effect. The book then broaches issues central to the director's finest work for the screen. 'Seriality and theme', devoted to the Contes moraux, Comédies et proverbes, and Contes des quatre saisons, looks at how Rohmer's decision to work by thematic series forces the viewer to intuit relations of complementarity, identity, and opposition that lend each cycle a complex, musical texture. It pays close attention to four of the director's costume films. The book concludes with a brief excursus on le rohmérien, that inimitable, instantly recognisable variant of the French language that spectators come to love or to hate.
This study examines the writing career of the respected and prolific novelist Doris Lessing, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007 and who has recently published what she has announced will be her final novel. Whereas earlier assessments have focused on Lessing's relationship with feminism and the impact of her 1962 novel, The Golden Notebook, this book argues that Lessing's writing was formed by her experiences of the colonial encounter. It makes use of postcolonial theory and criticism to examine Lessing's continued interest in ideas of nation, empire, gender and race, and the connections between them, looking at the entire range of her writing, including her most recent fiction and non-fiction, which have been comparatively neglected.
This book attempts to interrogate the literary, artistic and cultural output of early modern England. Following Constance Classen's view that understandings of the senses, and sensory experience itself, are culturally and historically contingent; it explores the culturally specific role of the senses in textual and aesthetic encounters in England. The book follows Joachim-Ernst Berendt's call for 'a democracy of the senses' in preference to the various sensory hierarchies that have often shaped theory and criticism. It argues that the playhouse itself challenged its audiences' reliance on the evidence of their own eyes, teaching early modern playgoers how to see and how to interpret the validity of the visual. The book offers an essay on each of the five senses, beginning and ending with two senses, taste and smell, that are often overlooked in studies of early modern culture. It investigates Robert Herrick's accounts in Hesperides of how the senses function during sexual pleasure and contact. The book also explores sensory experiences, interrogating textual accounts of the senses at night in writings from the English Renaissance. It offers a picture of early modern thought in which sensory encounters are unstable, suggesting ways in which the senses are influenced by the contexts in which they are experienced: at night, in states of sexual excitement, or even when melancholic. The book looks at the works of art themselves and considers the significance of the senses for early modern subjects attending a play, regarding a painting, and reading a printed volume.
The study of food in literature complicates established critical positions. Both a libidinal pleasure and the ultimate commodity, food in fiction can represent sex as well as money, and brings the body and the marketplace together in ways that are sometimes obvious and sometimes unsettling. This book explores these relations in the context of late eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century women's fiction, where concerns about bodily, economic and intellectual productivity and consumption power decades of novels, conduct books and popular medicine. The introduction suggests ways in which attention to food in these texts might complicate recent developments in literary theory and criticism, while the body of the book is devoted to close readings of novels and children's stories by Frances Burney, Mary Wollstonecraft, Maria Edgeworth and Susan Ferrier. Burney and Wollstonecraft explore the ways in which eating and not eating (mis)represent women's sexuality, and consider how women's intellectual and economic productivity might disrupt easy equations between appetites at the table and in bed. Edgeworth and Ferrier, Anglo-Irish and Scottish writers respectively, are more interested in cooking and eating as ways of enacting and manipulating national identity and class.
, p. 94.
13 For an example of recent literary analysis that explores the impact of political resistance on imperialist fiction see Tim Watson, ‘Indian and Irish Unrest
in Kipling’s Kim’, in Laura Chrisman and Benita Parry (eds.), Postcolonial
TheoryandCriticism (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2000), pp. 95–114.
14 Gautam Premnath, ‘Remembering Fanon, Decolonizing Diaspora’, in Laura
Chrisman and Benita Parry (eds.), Postcolonial TheoryandCriticism, p. 66.
15 Vilashini Cooppan, ‘W(h)ither Post-colonial Studies? Towards the
Transnational Study of Race and Nation’, in