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Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Lacan . . . But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock

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‘A modernist work of art is by definition ‘incomprehensible’; it functions as a shock, as the irruption of a trauma which undermines the complacency of our daily routine and resists being integrated. What postmodernism does, however, is the very opposite: it objects par excellence are products with mass appeal; the aim of the postmodernist treatment is to estrange their initial homeliness: ‘you think what you see is a simple melodrama your granny would have no difficulty in following? Yet without taking into ...
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Overview

‘A modernist work of art is by definition ‘incomprehensible’; it functions as a shock, as the irruption of a trauma which undermines the complacency of our daily routine and resists being integrated. What postmodernism does, however, is the very opposite: it objects par excellence are products with mass appeal; the aim of the postmodernist treatment is to estrange their initial homeliness: ‘you think what you see is a simple melodrama your granny would have no difficulty in following? Yet without taking into account the difference between symptom and sinthom/the structure of the Borromean knot/the fact that Woman is one of the Names-of-the-Father ... you’ve totally missed the point!’ if there is an author whose name epitomises this interpretive pleasure of ‘estranging’ the most banal content, it is Alfred Hitchcock (and—useless to deny it—this book partakes unrestrainedly in this madness).’

Hitchcock is placed on the analyst’s couch in this extraordinary volume of case studies, as its contributors bring to bear an unrivalled enthusiasm and theoretical sweep on the entire Hitchcock oeuvre, from Rear Window to Psycho, as an exemplar of ‘postmodern’ defamiliarization. Starting from the premise that ‘everything has meaning’, the films’ ostensible narrative content and formal procedures are analysed to reveal a rich proliferation of ideological and psychical mechanisms at work. But Hitchcock is here to lure the reader into ‘serious’ Marxist and Lacanian considerations on the construction of meaning. Timely, provocative and original, this is sure to become a landmark of Hitchcock studies.

Contributors: Frederic Jameson, Pascal Bonitzer, Miran Bozovic, Michel Chion, Mlladen Dolar, Stojan Pellko, Renata Salecl, Alenka Zupancic and Slavoj Žižek.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780860915928
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 11/17/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 0.60 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Alfred Hitchcock, or, The Form and its Historical Mediation 1
Pt. I The Universal: Themes
1 Hitchcockian Suspense 15
2 Hitchcock's Objects 31
3 Spatial Systems in North by Northwest 47
4 A Perfect Place to Die: Theatre in Hitchcock's Films 73
5 Punctum Caecum, or, Of Insight and Blindness 106
Pt. II The Particular: Films
1 Hitchcockian Sinthoms 125
2 The Spectator Who Knew Too Much 129
3 The Cipher of Destiny 137
4 A Father Who Is Not Quite Dead 143
5 Notorious 151
6 The Fourth Side 155
7 The Man Behind His Own Retina 161
8 The Skin and Straw 178
9 The Right Man and the Wrong Woman 185
10 The Impossible Embodiment 195
Pt. III The Individual: Hitchcock's Universe
'In His Bold Gaze My Ruin Is Writ Large' 211
Notes on the Contributors 273
Index 275
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