Images without metaphor: re-visioning French film theory Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
  • Oxman, Elena Grear
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • This dissertation traces a lineage of writings on the cinema that forms a counter-tradition to the linguistically-grounded French theory that ushered in film studies as a field. While film theory of the 1960s and 70s exhibited a profound skepticism toward the sensible qualities of the image, the tradition assembled here takes a decidedly aesthetic approach to the cinema, considering its images as a sensible terrain that remains irreducible to language. Far from suggesting a "naïve" embrace of the sensible in and of itself, however, this tradition foregrounds the cinema's capacity to produce images that challenge the clichés of common sense thought. Gilles Deleuze's two volumes on the cinema, The Movement-Image and The Time-Image, have elaborated this approach most conspicuously, but the genealogy this project traces encompasses Jean Epstein's film-philosophical writings on photogénie, André Bazin's phenomenological criticism, and Roland Barthes's late writings on cinema and photography. In assembling this lineage of criticism, this dissertation aims to revalue a body of writing liable to be dismissed as impressionist, and to extract the critical stakes of an aesthetically engaged film theory: a theory that does not subsume films to known concepts, but explores the cinema's potential to produce new sensations of thought.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • ... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
  • Flaxman, Gregory

This work has no parents.