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The Cinematic Body

1993
Author:

Steven Shaviro

The Cinematic Body

Moving between Jerry Lewis and Andy Warhol, between Fassbinder’s gay sex icons and George Romero’s flesh-eating zombies, Shaviro radically critiques the Lacanian model currently popular in film theory and film studies, arguing against that model’s obsessive emphasis on the phallus, castration anxiety, sadistic mastery, ideology, and the structure of the signifier. Shaviro also explores issues of popular culture, postmodernism, the politics of the body, the construction of masculinity and of homo/heterosexualities, the nature and uses of pornography, and the aesthetics of masochism.

Moving between Jerry Lewis and Andy Warhol, between Fassbinder’s gay sex icons and George Romero’s flesh-eating zombies, Shaviro radically critiques the Lacanian model currently popular in film theory and film studies, arguing against that model’s obsessive emphasis on the phallus, castration anxiety, sadistic mastery, ideology, and the structure of the signifier. Shaviro also explores issues of popular culture, postmodernism, the politics of the body, the construction of masculinity and of homo/heterosexualities, the nature and uses of pornography, and the aesthetics of masochism.

“Invokes and evokes the force and sensation of film from within a Deleuze-Guattarian perspective. . . . well-written, elegant, and eloquent.” --Dana Polan

Invokes and evokes the force and sensation of film from within a Deleuze-Guattarian perspective. Well-written, elegant, and eloquent.

Dana Polan

In The Cinematic Body, Steven Shaviro proposes a radical new approach to film viewing. Moving between Jerry Lewis and Andy Warhol, between Fassbinder’s gay sex icons and George Romero’s flesh-eating zombies, The Cinematic Body cuts across disciplinary boundaries and seeks to engage new currents in critical thought.

Shaviro radically critiques the Lacanian model currently popular in film theory and film studies, arguing against that model’s obsessive emphasis on the phallus, castration anxiety, sadistic master, ideology, and the structure of the signifier. In this groundbreaking volume, Shaviro effectively communicates a sense of the inescapable ambivalence and intensities of contemporary culture, ultimately affirming a thoroughly postmodern sensibility.

The Cinematic Body

Steven Shaviro is associate professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Washington. He is author of Passion and Excess: Blanchot, Bataille, and Literary Theory and of several articles on the politics of difference, libidinal economy, and theories of sexuality.

The Cinematic Body

His discussion of the works of individual filmmakers is important enough to make the book a ‘must read’ for most academics. Shaviro deals at length with Kathryn Bigelow, George Romero, Jerry Lewis, David Cronenberg, R.W. Fassbinder, Andy Warhol and Robert Bresson. And the running connections he makes between filmmakers are valid and insightful. In fact, he delivers some of the best critical material yet written about Romero, Lewis, and Cronenberg and much of his critique is intriguing. He may be the devil’s advocate, but he has a point.

Choice

The Cinematic Body cuts across disciplinary boundaries

The Drama Review

Invokes and evokes the force and sensation of film from within a Deleuze-Guattarian perspective. Well-written, elegant, and eloquent.

Dana Polan

Whether he is talking theory or more discursively about his pleasures, Steven Shaviro’s impulse is always to break through the boundaries of the discourse he has chosen, to go beyond, to move into ecstasy. This ‘moving beyond’ is the real theory.

Kathy Acker