Subjective Architectures in Postmodern Literature, Cinema, and Art
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Northwestern University Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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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. ...
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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. ...
Frontispiece - Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair as Fallout Shelter
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With the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States demonstrated, for the first time in history, that it was now possible to annihilate the world’s entire population. Not surprisingly, during the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, Americans began to construct underground bomb shelters. ...
Part One: Geographies
Chapter 1 - Agoraphobia: Marguerite Duras’s Hiroshima mon amour and The Vice-Consul
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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 ...
Chapter 2 - Heterotopia: Alexander Kluge’s Yesterday Girl and The Blind Director
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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— ...
Part Two: Boundaries
Chapter 3 - Matricide: Uwe Johnson’s Anniversaries: From the Life of Gesine Cresspahl
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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. ...
Chapter 4 - Womb Envy: Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, A Woman Is a Woman, and Hail Mary
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Compared to Uwe Johnson’s tortured representation of “reality” as subjective experience, which I have discussed in my previous chapter, Jean- Luc Godard uses his camera to render “interiority” visible. The question of representation on film is a question of what is contained by, or exceeds, the frame, ...
End Piece - The Future Is Here, and It’s Dead: Damien Hirst’s Virgin Mother
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Postmodernism, according to Fredric Jameson, is the “machinery of reproduction rather than production” that results in “the mere thematic representation of content—into narratives which are about [sic] the processes of reproduction and include movie cameras, video, tape recorders, the whole technology of reproduction” (37). ...
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Page Count: 148
Illustrations: 2 b&w
Publication Year: 2013
Volume Title: 1