The Author Incarnate in the Cinema
Publication Year: 2013
Body Double explores the myriad ways that film artists have represented the creative process. In this highly innovative work, Lucy Fischer draws on a neglected element of auteur studies to show that filmmakers frequently raise questions about the paradoxes of authorship by portraying the onscreen writer. Dealing with such varied topics as the icon of the typewriter, the case of the writer/director, the authoress, and the omnipresent infirm author, she probes the ways in which films can tell a plausible story while contemplating the conditions and theories of their making.
By examining many forms of cinema, from Hollywood and the international art cinema to the avant-garde, Fischer considers the gender, age, and mental or physical health of fictionalized writers; the dramatized interaction between artists and their audiences and critics; and the formal play of written words and nonverbal images.
By analyzing such movies as Adaptation, Diary of a Country Priest, Naked Lunch, American Splendor, and Irezumi, Fischer tracks the parallels between film author and character, looking not for the creative figure who stands outside the text, but for the one who stands within it as corporeal presence and alter-ego.
Published by: Rutgers University Press
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Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication
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As always, there are many people to thank for the genesis of a book. First, I gained much insight into the material through interaction with my graduate students in a seminar on Authorship and the Cinema at the University of Pitt sburgh in 2006. Second, I had the opportunity to present my ideas at my Distinguished Professor-ship lecture to the university community in 2009. Th ird, I received helpful com-...
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I was sorry to have my name mentioned among the great authors because In 1968, the year of so many other cultural and political declarations, French critic Roland Barthes provocatively proclaimed “Th e Death of the Author” in an essay bearing that title. Privileging the text over its creator, Barthes saw the literary work as a place “where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body ...
Chapter 1: Typecasting the Author
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Typewriting is dead, but its ghosts still haunt us. Even in our image-saturated culture, the iconic value of the typewriter looms large. Artfully grainy, sepia-toned close-up photos of its quaint circular keys grace the covers of tastefully matt e-laminated paperbacks, announcing yet another volume extolling the Th e act of writing is not a compelling cinematic event — hence the dif-...
Chapter 2: Beyond Adaptation
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Th e time has long passed when popular fi ction was almost inevitably fi lmed by Hollywood and when, as in the 1940s, seven of the 10 Best Picture Oscar In the last chapter, we ended our examination of the typewriter icon with a discussion of a fi lm by David Cronenberg inspired by William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch. In truth, however, the relationship between cinema and literature ...
Chapter 3: The Author at the Dream Factory
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Hollywood has always had a hate-hate relationship with the writer.It comes as no surprise that when the fi gure of the author is represented in movies, it is oft en the screenwriter portrayed. Here, of course, we have a far more direct invocation of the fi lm auteur than in works about the novelist. Almost always, the scenarist is male — and either a cad, a neurotic, a misfi t, a miscreant, or a woman-...
Chapter 4: The Authoress
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An omnipresent metaphor [has] equated women with the white sheet of nature or virginity onto which a very male stylus could then inscribe the glory It comes as no surprise (given literary history) that most fi lms about the fi ctional writer center on a man (a fact that previous and subsequent chapters of this book amply demonstrate). As Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar noted in their seminal ...
Chapter 5: Writing Pain
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Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings . . . it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and batt le and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.While Virginia Woolf fi nds the motif of illness rare in literature, it has certainly not been infrequent in fi lms that feature the writer as protagonist. ...
Chapter 6: Cinécriture: Word and Image
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In today’s culture we may feel we are the compliant and gratifi ed hostages of a — Karen Knorr and Tracey Moff at, “When the Photographer”Th roughout the book, in discussing the embodiment of the writer on-screen, we have focused on fi lmic moments that provoke tensions between word and image — be they shots of a book’s page (Barton Fink), words on a computer ...
Chapter 7: Corpus and Oeuvre
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A recent book on disability and fi lm is called Th e Problem Body.1 One might argue that this could also suffi ce for the title of a volume on authorship and fi lm. What the “death of the author” suggests is that we let “expire” (if only fi guratively) the human agent responsible for creating a work and, along with it, her body — the site of human existence. Rather than a fl esh and blood individual, the author is to ...
Chapter 8: Stealing Beauty
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Books are objects. On a table, on shelves, in store windows, they wait for someone to come and deliver them from their materiality. . . . Made of paper and ink, they lie where they are put until the moment someone shows an As Georges Poulet notes, the writer does not work in a vacuum. When a manuscript is completed it enters a broader universe, waiting for someone else ...
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We propose . . . a morphology . . . that views fi lm not from the outside, as a product to be consumed, but from the inside, as a dynamically evolving organic code directly responsive and responsible, like every other code to the Limitless (2011, directed by Neil Burger) is a rather silly movie about a blocked, aimless novelist, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), who gains sudden pow-...
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About the Author
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Lucy Fischer is Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies at the Uni-versity of Pitt sburgh. She is the author or editor of nine other books: Jacques Tati (G. K. Hall, 1983), Shot/Counter shot: Film Tradition and Women’s Cinema (Prince-ton University Press, 1989), Imitation of Life (Rutgers University Press, 1991), Cin-ematernity: Film, Motherhood, Genre (Princeton University Press, 1996), Sunrise ...
Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 41 photographs
Publication Year: 2013