Benjamin, Barthes and the Singularity of Photography

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en Limba Engleză Carte Paperback – 07 Nov 2013
Benjamin, Barthes and the Singularity of Photography presents two of the most important intellectual figures of the twentieth century in a new comparative light. Pursuing hitherto unexplored aspects of Benjamin's and Barthes's engagement with photography, it provides new interpretations of familiar texts and analyzes material which has only recently become available. It argues that despite the different historical, philosophical and cultural contexts of their work, Benjamin and Barthes engage with similar issues and problems that photography uniquely poses, including the relationship between the photograph and its beholder as a confrontation between self and other, and the dynamic relation between time, subjectivity, memory and loss. Each writer emphasizes the singular event of the photograph's apprehension and its ethical and existential aspects rooted in the power and poignancy of photographic images. Mapping the complex relationship between photographic history and theory, cultural criticism and autobiography, this book will be of considerable interest not only to historians and theorists of photography but also to scholars working in literary and cultural studies.
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ISBN-13: 9781623566692
ISBN-10: 162356669X
Pagini: 272
Ilustrații: 17 illustrations
Dimensiuni: 151 x 228 x 22 mm
Greutate: 0.43 kg
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția Bloomsbury Academic
Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom


Innovative scholarship which synthesizes multiple strands in literary/critical and photographic theory.

Notă biografică

Kathrin Yacavone teaches in the Department of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK.


AcknowledgmentsList of AbbreviationsList of IllustrationsIntroductionBenjamin and Barthes: The Question of InfluencePart One: The Birth of the Viewer 1. Benjamin's History of Photography 2. Alter Ego: The Childhood Portrait of Franz Kafka 3. Photography, Memory and RedemptionPart Two: Photography and Subjectivity 4. From Semiology to Phenomenology 5. Lost and Found: The Winter Garden Photograph 6. Photography and Memory: Barthes's Proustian QuestPostscript: Singularity and Photography in the Age of DigitisationBibliographyIndex


"Meticulously tracing the network of connections between Benjamin's and Barthes's visions of the encounter between photograph and viewer, this book performs an invaluable critical service. Kathrin Yacavone's discussion will be required reading for anyone seriously interested in photographic phenomenology or who has ever felt the singular impact of a photographic image." -- Michael Sheringham, FBA, Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature, All Souls College, University of Oxford, UK
This meticulously researched and enlightening study will be essential reading for anyone seeking in-depth immersion in the theory, history, and affective content of photography in two of its key explorers. . . The book makes a captivating case for thinking Benjamin and Barthes together . . . A fascinating book.
"This first book-length comparative study of Benjamin's and Barthes's work on photography addresses head-on the ethical phenomena involved in producing and reading photography." - Elizabeth Stewart, Associate Professor of English, Yeshiva University, New York and author of Catastrophe and Survival: Walter Benjamin and Psychoanalysis.
"The book offers a detailed comparison of two of the most influential photography critics/theorists in the 20th century. While Benjamin and Barthes are often mentioned alongside each other, their respective theories have not been systematically and extensively compared. Given the towering status of both writers both within (critical) theory more generally and within photography studies more specifically, this study will mark a welcome addition to two important and further expanding fields of scholarship." -- Carolin Duttlinger, University Lecturer in German & Fellow of Wadham College, University of Oxford, UK
The book introduces valuable interdisciplinary analogies that only occasionally, if ever, have been applied to the study of the photography’s history and theorization, such as Derek Attridge’s concepts of 'singularity' and 'event,' Giorgio Agamben’s writings about 'demand,' and Marcel Proust’s theme of 'involuntary memory.'