History Films, Women, and Freud's Uncanny

History Films, Women, and Freud's Uncanny

by Susan E. Linville


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History films were a highly popular genre in the 1990s, as Hollywood looked back at significant and troubling episodes from World War II, the Cold War era, and the techno-war in the Persian Gulf. As filmmakers attempted to confront and manage intractable elements of the American past, such as the trauma of war and the legacy of racism, Susan Linville argues that a surprising casualty occurred—the erasure of relevant facets of contemporary women’s history. In this book, Linville offers a sustained critique of the history film and its reduction of women to figures of ambivalence or absence. Historicizing and adapting Freud’s concept of the uncanny and its relationship to the maternal body as the first home, she offers theoretically sophisticated readings of the films Midnight Clear, Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, Nixon, Courage Under Fire, Lone Star, and Limbo. She also demonstrates that the uncanny is not only a source of anxiety but also potentially a progressive force for eroding nostalgic ideals of nation and gender. Linville concludes with a close reading of a recent 9/11 documentary, showing how the patterns and motifs of 1990s history films informed it and what that means for our future.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292702691
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 06/01/2004
Pages: 207
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.48(d)

About the Author

Susan E. Linville is Director of the Film Studies Program and Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroductionChapter 1. Remembering World War II: Aesthetics and Gender in the Combat Film of the 1990sChapter 2. Standing Pat: The First Lady in Oliver Stone's NixonChapter 3. "The Mother of All Battles": Courage Under Fire and the Gender-Integrated MilitaryChapter 4. "Forget the Alamo": Lone Star, Limbo, and the Limits of the NationEpilogue. 9/11NotesBibliography and FilmographyIndex

What People are Saying About This

Burgoyne Wayne State University

"Linville takes a highly original angle on the subject of women and historical representation in film, arguing that the concept of the Freudian uncanny provides a way of characterizing and explaining the structuring absence or the ambivalent characterization of women in a genre that has become increasingly important to national self-definition. . . . I find her argument to be complex, subtle, and illuminating.Robert"

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