Subjective Architectures in Postmodern Literature, Cinema, and Art
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Northwestern University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
Chapter 3 was published in Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature in 2010, and parts of chapters 1 and 2 were published in South Central Review in 2006. I received a travel grant to conduct research in Germany from the PSC-CUNY Foundation in 2008 and a faculty leave fellowship from Queens College in 2007–8. My thanks goes to André Aciman, Ali ...
In January 2005, while lecturing in France, I had occasion to visit the World Heritage site of Lascaux. The mysterious interior of the cave and its paintings have inspired this book. I imagined cave dwellers seeking shelter at the mouth of a cave, then venturing further inside to perform their most sacred rites. Like cathedrals built around an inner sanctum, ...
Frontispiece - Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair as Fallout Shelter
With the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States dem-onstrated, for the first time in history, that it was now possible to annihi-late the world’s entire population. Not surprisingly, during the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, Americans began to construct underground bomb shelters. Europeans, on the other hand, had witnessed the Holocaust ...
Part One: Geographies
Chapter 1 - Agoraphobia: Marguerite Duras’s Hiroshima mon amour and The Vice-Consul
In the postwar European imagination, the womb appears as a point of origin and retreat, as well as a “tomb” from which to be (re)born. French author Marguerite Duras (1914–1996) depicts this at once threatening and comforting symbolic space as linked to the dual trauma of France’s colonialism in Indochina and collaboration with Nazi Germany dur-...
Chapter 2 - Heterotopia: Alexander Kluge’s Yesterday Girl and The Blind Director
This chapter turns to the German context, where coming to terms with the past (Vergangenheitsbewältigung) was a central occupation during the decades following World War II and the Holocaust. Like Duras and Resnais, experimental German filmmaker Alexander Kluge (b. 1932)—two of whose films I discuss here—depicts space as a way of visually ...
Part Two: Boundaries
Chapter 3 - Matricide: Uwe Johnson’s Anniversaries: From the Life of Gesine Cresspahl
Whereas I have discussed womb-like spaces and mother figures in the first half of this book, I now address the question to what extent the (male) subject who creates such representations projects himself into those spaces—and thereby expresses a desire to become one with the maternal body. Marguerite Duras, as I have shown, alludes to this through the per-...
Chapter 4 - Womb Envy: Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, A Woman Is a Woman, and Hail Mary
Psychoanalysts have theorized that . . . each female shelters an interior world in her body (the womb) and is therefore obliged to replicate this activity in the real world. A male, on the other hand, Compared to Uwe Johnson’s tortured representation of “reality” as sub-jective experience, which I have discussed in my previous chapter, Jean-...
End Piece - The Future Is Here, and It’s Dead: Damien Hirst’s Virgin Mother
It is now possible for embryos to be created by IVF. . . . In that they are created outside the womb and can survive for four to five days before implantation, such babies can be said to be the products of ectogenesis, with the Petri dish acting as their temporary artificial womb. Moreover, their earliest hours and days of life are not only ...
Page Count: 148
Illustrations: 2 b&w
Publication Year: 2013
Volume Title: 1