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226Philosophy and Literature In the brief, sweepingEpilogue, Westbrookcalls not for more Deweyan theory but for more Deweyan practice—though this is expressed only as a wish rather than a plan of action. This is partly because no book can do everything. But it is also because Westbrook's focus on politics misses Dewey's deeper concerns with individual and social arrangements and values that give rise to this politics. Similarly, Westbrook's focus on political activism does not penetrate Dewey's deeper grasp ofcritical philosophy that informs its changing activist expressions. While indispensable for specialists, this book is more broadly important for readers of Philosophy and Literature. First, it highlights the philosophical and political differences between Dewey's pragmatism and Richard Rorty's now more familiar neo-pragmatism, demonstrating the politically radical and immensely relevant character of this pragmatism and contrasting it to now more fashionable literary and philosophical theories (that are radical primarily only in theory and in the safety of the academy). It thus should send readers back to Dewey. Second, it recovers in a sustained and compelling manner the possibility that humanities scholars might again become public intellectuals, and thus realize Dewey's demand that the point of pragmatism is not to render theory practical but instead to render practice intelligent. This should send readers back to the future. University of OregonJohn J. Stuhr Film Hieroglyphs: Ruptures in Classical Cinema, by Tom Conley; 250 pp. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991, $39.95 cloth, $15.95 paper. In Film HieroglypL·, Professor Tom Conley offers a detailed analysis of nine films (with allusions to a number of others) that interrogates the conventional experience of reading narrative. His use of the hieroglyph as a central image is a canny one since he defines the hieroglyph as a figure, "a writing that unites and divides word and image; that invokes memory to recall analogous forms of legibility and meaning, which serve and contradict what is before our eyes; that fashions rebuses or unforeseen combinations of pictures and writing that are controlled neither by the film nor by the viewer" (p. x). Thus, without betraying the materiality of film and narrative, Conley examines this area of "legibility" beyond the control of the text and the spectator, an area of rich allusions and deceptive illusions in which the text and the unconscious meet in complicitous subversions. The book that results is a heady fantasy of words, a Reviews227 fantasy of reading parts of words, single letters, puns, doubled/tripled and further multiplied meanings where socially accepted notions are countered, and the secret programs of the personal and historical are free to emerge. For Conley, this scenario is played out in the "iconic writing within the field of the moving image" (p. ix). He examines the graphic elements (titles, credits, maps, messages, signs) that are both pervasive in cinema and "foreign" to it. These elements therefore define the image because of"their own alterity within cinema" (p. xxxi). The exegeses of these graphisms promote a tendency to read against the linearity of narrative and its most readily accessible interpretations. Conley finds the lesson of modernist, experimental texts in his treatment of Hollywood films whose "icons can betray and invert the Hollywood model" (p. xxx). Literal-minded readers will be aggravated by Conley's radical explosion of the intentional fallacy. But if the author sees the erotic and the excremental everywhere, his arguments are persuasive in their patient reasoning and the elegance of their linkages and allusions. The titular hero of Boudu sauvé des eaux, a character who has difficulty reading, invades the home, shop, and life ofa bookseller. As Boudu, the outsider, the asocial figure, moves between image and various modes of discourse, he "reveals the gaps that produce illusions of meaning in cinema" (p. 190). In Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street, a neon sign, "Jewelry," bears the film's specifically sexualized narrative space of the El, the genocide of the Jews (the film was released in 1945), the "el" of Hell, the monogram of the hero's boss, seen several times in the film, etc. In Raoul Walsh's Manpower, Conley explicates areas of male (homo)sexuality undreamed of by the stars...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 226-227
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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