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Paisley Livingston

These comments concern Bordwell’s explicit and implicit claims about cinematic authorship in his 1985 Narration in the Fiction Film. Distinctions are drawn between causal and attributionist conceptions of authorship, and between actualist and fictionalist views about the spectator’s attitude toward authorship. A key question concerns the autonomy or independence of a viewer’s competent uptake of story and narration, as opposed to its dependence on knowledge of authorship or authorial design. The example of cinematic quotation in Resnais’s Mon oncle d’Amérique is used to illustrate the pertinence of the latter option.

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Religion through the Looking Glass

Fieldwork, Biography, and Authorship in Southwest China and Beyond

Katherine Swancutt

This article is an exploration into how a distinct fascination with the study of religion traverses the biographies of researchers who, through fieldwork, episodically enter into the life-worlds of the peoples they study. In it, I offer up ethnographic and autoethnographic reflections on the experiential crossroads and personal biographies that are perhaps as constitutive of religion as they are of the persons who study it. Through a discussion of interconnected events that arose during and outside of my anthropological fieldwork among the Nuosu, a Tibeto-Burman group of Southwest China, I highlight how Nuosu claims to authoring my biography have brought their animistic religion and culture, as well as its international import, further into focus for myself, local scholars, and rural Nuosu persons. My argument pivots around the idea that fieldwork-based researchers and their interlocutors often appropriate each other’s biographies in rather cosmic ways, thus revealing the historically, socially, and personally contingent qualities that are involved in studies of religion.

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Rosalind Barber

Beliefs acquired from authoritative sources and maintained over time, tend to achieve the status of truths. As a result, though there are many possible ways of interpreting historical data, consensus beliefs are so powerful a determinant of interpretive outcomes that new interpretations of historical evidence will tend to be rare. In addition, any evidence that conflicts radically with a belief that has achieved the status of a truth will logically be dismissed. Such, historically, has been the status of the Shakespeare authorship question. Since we know who wrote the Shakespeare canon, there is no apparent point to research.

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Philip Cowan

Can the authorial contribution of the individual cinematographer to classical, narrative-based film be identified and attributed? This article addresses this specific question, but the specific case of the cinematographer must acknowledge the wider debates about film authorship. The article examines contemporary attitudes to coauthorship in film, highlighting the fact that, in terms of cinematography, most commentators still defer to directors when discussing the creation of meaning within images. While examining the works of Gregg Toland and William Wyler, the article evaluates authorial attribution by means of a comparison between the films they made together and the films they made separately. In order to do this, the article defines a method for establishing authorship within the film image. Toland is a prime historical example of a cinematographer whose authorial contribution has been severely underestimated in the pursuit of glorifying the directors he worked with (Orson Welles, John Ford, and William Wyler).

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The Writer's Responsibility in France

From Flaubert to Sartre

Gisèle Sapiro

Based on the notion of legal responsibility, the article establishes a connection between the social conditions of production of literature and the ethical principles that founded the commitment of writers as intellectuals in France from the nineteenth century to the post-World War II period. While the penal responsibility of the author is imbued with a belief in the power of words, the trials were in turn often the occasion for writers like Flaubert and Baudelaire to define their own ethics of responsibility against the values of conventional morality and political conformity through which their work was liable to condemnation. Articulating these ethical principles affirmed the writer's independence from political and religious authorities and contributed to the emergence of an autonomous literary field, as defined by Pierre Bourdieu. The figure of the writer as a public intellectual best embodied by Zola and Sartre emerged on the basis of this code of ethics.

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András Bálint Kovács

According to directors and directors of photography choosing the appropriate shot scale for a scene is primarily an issue of narrative function. However, especially in the practice of art cinema preference of specific shot scales may be an important indicator of a particular style. In some cases statistical analysis of overall shot scale distribution in films reveals consistent and recurrent patterns of shot scale distribution in an author's work. Such a consistency is surprising, because it cannot be the result of conscious decision. No filmmaker plans the proportion of each shot scale in a film. This article investigates a systematic variation of shot scale distribution (SSD) patterns disclosed in the films of Michelangelo Antonioni, and Ingmar Bergman, which raises a number of questions regarding the possible aesthetic and cognitive sources of such a regularity.

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Industrialising Print, Sport, and Authorship

Nimrod, Surtees, and the New Sporting Magazine

Yuri Cowan

In the early Victorian period, sporting literature found a new audience among the young century's industrialists and prosperous merchants who, enabled by the growth of the railroads and increased access to the countryside, chose to use their increased leisure time to experience English rural life and to hobnob on equal terms, at least superficially, with the rural ancien régime. The New Sporting Magazine, established in 1831, positioned itself to speak both to the existing devotees of sport and to the middle-class audience which was about to make its presence felt in the field. The parallel refinement of English sport and its print discourse is described by and exemplified in the two best-known sport writers of the early Victorian era: Robert Smith Surtees and Charles Apperley ('Nimrod'). Surtees and Nimrod, though highly professional and well remunerated, habitually put forward their own work as 'correspondence', contributing to the illusion that the magazine was a playground for gentlemen of leisure. The careful blend of the conservative and modern in the New Sporting Magazine thus extends to its contributors as well: in this magazine's pages the eighteenth-century culture of the gentleman correspondent was beginning to merge with the culture of the paid celebrity author that would become such a force in the mass literary environment of the nineteenth century.

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Valentina Mitkova

This article focuses on Bulgarian women writers’ activities, their reception, and their problematic existence in the context of the modernizing and emancipatory trends in Bulgarian society after the Liberation (1878–1944). The analysis is based on the concept of the (intellectual) hierarchy of genders and mechanisms of gender tutelage, traced in the specifics of women’s literary texts, their critical and public resonance, and the authors’ complicated relation with the Bulgarian literary canon. The question is topical, given the noticeable absence of women writers in the corpus of Bulgarian authors/ literary texts, thought and among those considered representative in terms of national identity and culture. The study is based on primary source materials such as works by Bulgarian women writers, the periodical press from the period, various archival materials, and scholarly publications relevant to the topic.

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Rethinking the Margins with André Schwarz-Bart

From The Last of the Just and A Woman Named Solitude to the Posthumous Narratives

Kathleen Gyssels

Fifty years after his Goncourt Prize-winning début, and three years after the author’s death, a first posthumous novel, L’Etoile du matin (Morning Star) was published by André Schwarz-Bart and his wife and co-author, Simone Schwarz-Bart. Their respective roles in the writing process have never been transparent, and the lack of interviews, as well as limited correspondence, keep this situation unchanged today. A new volume of their unfinished cycle, entitled L’Ancêtre en solitude (The Ancestor in solitude), came out in 2015. The new narratives continue to explore how margins can be minimized in order to make us see similarities rather than differences. Critics have marginalized an ‘extravagant stranger’ who has been misunderstood for his biracial and bicultural transracial imagery, a ‘Fremdkörper’ in the canon of both Caribbean and French-Jewish literature. His manifold displacements allow us not only to ‘read with different eyes’, but also to read one historical trauma in and through another (Mary Jacobus).

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Gendered Authorship, Literary Lionism and the Virtues of Domesticity

Contesting Wordsworth's fame in the life writings of Harriet Martineau and Thomas Carlyle.

David Amigoni

In her justly influential work on nineteenth-century strategies of self representation, Subjectivities (1990), Reginia Gagnier describes the dominant characteristics of the ‘high’ literary tradition of nineteenth-century auto/biography as consisting of a meditative and self-reflective sensibility; faith in writing as a tool of self-exploration; an attempt to make sense of life as a narrative progressing in time, with a narrative typically structured upon parent/child relationships and familial development; and a belief in personal creativity, autonomy and freedom for the future.