In the beginning was the night. All light, shapes, language, and subjective consciousness, as well as the world and art depicting them, emerged from this formless chaos. In fantasy, we seek to return to this original darkness. Particularly in literature, visual representations, and film, the night resiliently resurfaces from the margins of the knowable, acting as a stage and state of mind in which exceptional perceptions, discoveries, and decisions play out.
Elisabeth Bronfen investigates the nocturnal spaces in which extraordinary events unfold, and casts a critical eye into the darkness that enables the irrational exploration of desire, transformation, ecstasy, transgression, spiritual illumination, and moral choice. She begins with an analysis of classical myths depicting the creation of the world and then moves through night scenes in Shakespeare and Milton, Gothic novels and novellas, Hegel's romantic philosophy, and Freud's psychoanalysis. Bronfen also demonstrates how modern works of literature and film, particularly film noir, can convey that piece of night the modern subject carries within. From Mozart's "Queen of the Night" to Virginia Woolf 's oscillation between day and night, life and death, and chaos and aesthetic form, Bronfen renders something visible, conceivable, and comprehensible from the dark realms of the unknown.
|Publisher:||Columbia University Press|
|Product dimensions:||8.90(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Elisabeth Bronfen is professor of English and American studies at the University of Zürich. Her numerous books include Specters of War: Hollywood's Engagement with Military Conflict; Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity, and the Aesthetic; The Knotted Subject: Hysteria and Its Discontents; and Home in Hollywood: The Imaginary Geography of Cinema.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Prologue: My Queen of the Night
Introduction: Exile of the Star-Blazing Queen in The Magic Flute
Part I. Cosmogonies of the Night
1. Nyx and her Children
2. "Let there be darkness!"
3. Hegel's Night of the World
4. Freud's Night Side of the Soul
Part II. Night Talks
5. Shakespeare's Night World
6. Freud's Book of Dreams
7. A Poetics of Insomnia
Part III. Gothic Nights
8. Moral Temptations of the Night
9. Seeing the World Darkly
10. Night's Doubles
11. The Nocturnal Flaneur
Part IV. Film Noir's Nights
12. Return of a Hollywood Star
13. Nocturnal Desire of the Femme fatale
14. Into the Night
15. Fate and Chance
Part V. The Ethics of Awakening
16. What Lies at the End of the Night
17. George Eliot's Dawn
18. Edith Wharton's Twilight
19. Virginia Woolf's Nights and Days
What People are Saying About This
Bronfen moves between the realms of philosophy, literature, psychoanalysis, and music with innovative reflections on myth and its aftermath. Night Passages is a critical classic with insight into the arrangement of Europe's major languages, linguistic homogeneity and heterogeneity, and relations between Eurocentricity and diaspora.
Elisabeth Bronfen's Night Passages will take readers not only to the end of the night, but to its beginnings and middle as well. The nocturnal world of the ancient Greeks, of Shakespeare, Hegel, Freud, and film noir, of Mozart, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf, of E. T. A. Hoffmann and Martin Scorseseit is all here. No other work deals so profoundly with what the human mind has imagined about life between sunset and sunrise. Written for anyone who wants to explore night's aura, lore, cultural, and philosophical resonances, this book will open your eyes to the power of darknessthere are new discoveries to be made on every page. Robert Frost wrote that he was 'acquainted with the night,' but Elisabeth Bronfen knows it through and through.