This is a preprint
Fantasies of the Library ed. by Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Leonardo Reviews 91 beings who experience what it is to be and who understand themselves as distinct from others. More study will no doubt shed more light on the extent of consciousness’s reach, but consciousness it seems is quite possibly significantly more common than we might have believed. While The Ancient Origins of Consciousness may require some commitment from the reader to navigate the multidisciplinary approach the authors employ to address the complexity ofthe hard problem, this wellstructured book is well worth the effort required. As the authors state in the preface, “We do not skimp,” and they certainly did not—but they have also designed this book thoughtfully to ensure that nonexperts can remain engaged and informed as they encounter robust arguments and conclusions that are well supported on all fronts. From this perspective, no review can do justice to the work behind The Ancient Origins of Consciousness . IMPERSONAL ENUNCIATION, OR THE PLACE OF FILM by Christian Metz; translated by Cormac Deane. Columbia Univ. Press, New York, U.S.A., 2015. 280 pp. Trade; paper; eBook. ISBN: 978-0-231-17366-7; ISBN: 978-0231 -17366-7; ISBN: 978-0-231-54064-3. Reviewed by Ian Verstegen, University of Pennsylvania. Email: . doi:10.1162/LEON_r_01560 At one time, Christian Metz’s books loomed large on film and comparative literature reading lists (particularly his Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema, 1974). Tied to semiotics and psychoanalysis, interest in Metz’s work passed with interest in those subjects. Metz’s present book represents a delayed continuation of his legacy in an English translation of his last book (L’énonciation impersonnelle, ou le site du film), first published in 1991. In the introduction, translator Cormac Deane notes how dissimilar the text is to Metz’s earlier ponderous works and argues that Metz is not looking backward at his formed system but rather is looking forward to new challenges that would preoccupy film theorists. The result is a wide-ranging pass through tens of examples of films of all kinds, only bookended with the theoretical armature of how Metz thinks enunciation works in films. The title, Impersonal Enunciation, suggests that the subjectivity of the film takes place outside of actual people (impersonal), while the “place” of film is asking where that nonperson might be. For Metz—long associated with linguistic reduction (the portrayal of film on a linguistic model)— true enunciation doesn’t actually take place in film. The theory is an apparent volte-face: Technical enunciation as outlined for French semioticians by Benveniste is not a true pronomial case in the example of film, the film’s “you” to our “I.” Rather, Metz argues, it contains merely a “source” and a “target.” The heart of the book is 11 short chapters documenting various ways in which film appeals to the viewer, including the voice in the image, the voice outside the image, text added to an image, the addition of secondary screens and mirrors, the display of metatechnical elements to “expose the apparatus,” films within films and so on. Metz smirks at the imputation of linguistic reduction to him by Anglo-American critics (e.g. Bord­ well), but it is as if Metz’s immersion in linguistic life is sufficiently great that—even if he denies a language system behind the production of cinema—his efforts still demand the term “enunciation.” In other words, Metz regarded himself as merely using linguistic ideas productively, but from the English-language perspective his thought was dripping with some pretty specific (Saussurian-­ Hjemslevian) influences . In this book, Metz persistently contrasts his views with those of Francesco Casetti, and in the context of Metz’s rule-less system, Casetti’s espousal of a true system of enunciative positions—apparently more linguistically rigid—does not attain linguistic reduction so much as it places interpretation within bounds. A recent cognitive linguistic analysis of enunciation seems to partly support Metz in defining a subset of impersonal discourse as “nobodied” (belonging to a subjectivity other than a person), which in film’s case is “not attributable to a personal subjectivity ” and for which the camera “does not imply the presence of a person doing the seeing” [1]. But it...


pdf