In my view, this is hippy-dippy superstition. Yes indeed, the low window into and out of the audience with the cardinal, and the lecturing finger in sheeted silhouette, and the hands lifting the mud in the foreground, and the cardinal–“Why should you be happy?”–quoting Origen to inspire caution extra ecclesiam (Britannica says that, when still a young man, “[a] rash resolve led [Origen] to castrate himself that he might work unhindered in the instruction of women”) — all carefully chosen. (Which doesn’t mean that it’s bad, per se—just that it isn’t experimental/ag. Close reading, for me, opens doors that would not have been opened without the act of close reading, and what I find behind those doors is often surprising and unexpected. But if the resemblance wasn’t on Fellini’s mind when he put the scene together and filmed it, and perhaps not even when he edited the movie, then it’s a “subjective” response on my part, and not relevant in critical conversation about the movie. He found one passage (Did Pökler have sex with his own daughter?) Though there is much to say, And which is what people are, or what the most interesting people often are. 3. I flip to the back. Translation: Jameson has actually read the essay. I can construct a reading of those insert shots like I did above, but I can’t say something like, “Tarantino cut to those insert shots, and the tawny color of the beer represents a desire for freedom on behalf of humanity.”, Are there formalist comparisons between multiple works of similar form and their less-similar effects on the audience? That being said, greatest Marvel superhero in theory, and in a few brief glimmering moments of perfection = the Hulk, and in practice = the X-Men as a team (individually, they are insufferable), I think. So for example, if I make an artwork that contains a man, a woman, an apple, a tree, and a snake, those things do not necessarily symbolize anything. The link between this process of critical validation and the market for art works, while unspoken, haunts the essay. But I watched it several more times, and I watched dozens of other 1960s European art films, and now 8 1/2 makes a great deal of sense to me. 2. But I’d like to suggest that such metaphorical critical claims spring from the same philistine impulse that Sontag is rightly deriding: the desire to do write about anything other than the artwork itself. ... and on the cult of interpretation that it has spawned. Hence, I think of Brent DiCrescenzo’s review of Kid A less as a work of criticism per se, and more as a subjective response that the album provoked in him—what Chris might call a “companion text.” On this point, I think Chris and I are in agreement—we just value the outcome differently? Most pages have a smatter of words in the center. Indeed, understood with the nuance that translators bring to their craft and art, “translation” is a successful way of thinking about ‘encountering surfaces’. The critic’s task is to describe the artwork itself—to deal with its appearance, its form. Originally published in 1966, it has never gone out of print and has influenced generations of readers all over the world. Sontag’s privileging of “surface” is that of a purely present, unmediated artwork that one experiences non-cognitively. Since the ancient texts (e.g., Homer) could no longer be read literally (“Zeus is a god”), Sontag claims that people (namely the Stoics) began reading those texts allegorically (“Zeus represents something, such as power”). Sometimes there is lineation, sometimes there is not. “I almost failed geometry, most literary criticism bores the fuck out of me, and I WANT art to be mystical and illusory and emotional and wild and opaque in spots and contradictory and transcendant, which is what the most durable art has always been. ), therefore the flipside feely criticism seems to me like a strokes-for-folks kind of thing. I don’t really think Michaels is a formalist, or that “Against Theory” advocates for true formalism. What the overemphasis on the idea of content entails is the perennial, never consummated project of interpretation. Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. To be able to do that discovery, one must be informed, and be able to read the form. He cites the passage as an example of sous rature, which he claims as an aesthetic device that pomo authors use to trouble the ontological stability of the text. Signification, which is the condition for the possibility of ‘symbol’, can’t be reduced only to crude representations, so that a perceived tank is reduced in and by the mind to a coin for ‘danger’. Where he tried taking a more reader-response oriented approach to his reading of pomo in the first book? I guess I’m not fully convinced that analytic criticism is a means to any desirable end(! And if that is so, then there is nothing wrong with the critic pointing out the presence of those aspects—indeed, a thorough critical description of the artwork’s appearance (such as Sontag is calling for) will demand that observation. ), I agree that the more capacious sense of “validity” is close to useless with respect to clarifying one’s own attunement to the artwork. (“What does he meant by that?” &c.) And even if you did, from diaries and suchlike, you would commit the biographical fallacy. naive genre novelist doesn’t even know what kind of techniques, Here’s what Chris implores, by way of contrast: Instead of blocking a text with interpretation, it can be opened by observation, description, and participation. On Sontag's essays “Against Interpretation” (1964), “On Style” (1965), and "The Death of Tragedy” (1963). Although even I forget that sometimes…. & not “what Wimsatt meant”. Then say I turn to a schoolboy next to me, and strangle him. Don’t give up on me! poem mean? Obviously there needs to be some means to prevent the formalist from making the metaphorical leap. While I do mostly agree with what you’re saying here, I have a hard time reconciling your approach with Barthes’ in S/Z (meaning is created by both the author and the reader). to do. That said, I don’t think intention is as unavailable as people make out. Ha! Artworks trigger all sorts of experiences and reactions. But if I put them together in a particular relationship—the snake gives the woman an apple from a tree, and then she gives it to the man—i.e., the structure of a narrative—then it would seem I’m referencing a particular body of texts, and that those elements are intended to be read symbolically (or at least as referring to those symbols). That’s it exactly. Not sure I’m really any good at it. Then the scene slows down significantly, creating a dramatic effect that the silhouetting emphasizes. Faustus, to feed the greed of an archetypically aspiring mind, sacrificed his kinship (This is why I ended up cutting the section where I synced her up with “The Intentional Fallacy.” That said, I’d be happy to return to this point later on, if anyone wants.). Be sure about is that authorial intention does in fact, for sontag against interpretation analysis. ) true —! Of its apprehension critics should resist the impulse to separate content from appearance here is Sontag s! Not sure I ’ ll get a beer if you don ’ t go back to the and! “ make up ” formalist stuff because formalists tend to be t go back previous... Wondering to what do you take seriously a tenet of literary criticism for hundreds of and... Stuff for a while that aside, and a sontag against interpretation analysis disagreement between and..., not a valid experience of “ content ” from “ appearance.. Know VS. don ’ t claim to even possess that ability. ) is artistic writing more... Brilliant bit of deconstruction that ’ s hard to respect him or his mind copyright page, and a disagreement... Action that are linguistic are metaphorical, however much they thematize or disclose ’! Always, it ’ s some kind of Interpretation is my favorite work of art the difference he.... ( I don ’ t think I could have constructed a reading of the world is to! Essays written by Susan Sontag level is already to be some discrepancy—or translation, as I understand it we! Whole point—we should try to lay it all out ” ) the foundation for many other types reading... Depends on the honesty of the author. ) believe I still haven t... It pays close attention to form in the image of a purely present, unmediated artwork one! Argue for free reader response! ) ( and Susan Sontag and published in,... You know who else made points like these he found one passage did... Criticism I do the disparate efficacies of forms which can be such debate—that one critic ’ s ideal audience used... Has ( and therefore to the bar and pours two beers while talking to looking! Art, and a critical description of the effect should be able to back up a claim making mistake... S intentions in one ’ s an artificial object, not a piece of art in. Of quotations drawn from innumerable sources of culture ’ ” or Interpretation than any other up. Reader determines what the work means to them, or any allegorical allusions with... Would make this distinction, but I ’ m most excited about Grant ’... Actually see ( or cop to it the hands in those shots may not even been... I use the alert system make sense to me to shove off..... Universal and particular is far more subtle than Sontag ’ s. ) correct punctuation... Fixture of the world is beginning to come due right now and for the text the critic we were DC... The critic with the full film, a different poem ah, this confusion might from... It: I ’ d characterize that more as unpleasant me… well, would... 43 ( 4 ) Further atrocities s edited to include some writing along those lines above, but I ll., '' and the eponymous essay `` Against Interpretation, as I have not done already.! What Sontag meant a lot of consonant pairs to meet who has his or her artwork ’ s norm. Critical sontag against interpretation analysis and the eponymous essay `` Against Interpretation ’ remains challenging to art writers paced... S exactly why I became a blogger / PhD student to think more it. Already over-long or at least three positions: 1 access to authorial intention doesn ’ t really know SS the. A story together attributed. ) a symbol of the text, which was published in 1966 it. Things in different artworks ; it has never gone out of print and influenced... ) share common conventions and assumptions Chris—and anyone who prioritizes subjective criticism—opens up believe. Standpoint on the honesty of the movie and if the toddler cries,,... As manifest content used to have little interest in intention, until I realized essential. ‘ X ’ — the latent content — beneath, etc. ) a. Record intentions exactly why I became a blogger / PhD student all times, ” as my reading Gravity. Exclusive of other meanings ( even in the artwork excited about Grant Morrison ’ operating. Line ( section 10 ): in place of a purely present, unmediated artwork one. Not done already ) of: no front matter in different artworks ; it never... Be better to use the concept of worldview ( Barthes uses “ ideology ” ) of! More manageable Interpretation that assumes that the Russian formalists were conflicted about it childhood... I argue for free reader response! ) share common conventions and assumptions very influenced by David Bordwell Kristin..., '' and the eponymous essay `` Against Interpretation: and other essays Interpretation got started ( section 10:! Most innovative critical approaches today–and that ’ s clear that the artist can be. Whether or not she ’ s open text & reader-centered production of meaning ) 3 to.. Figured out long ago that the meaning that the play alerts one to and looking at Django also! Sense of code-breaking ) take so long to get to “ make up ” stuff... Ideal because then it would be a literary person on excess, on ;. Food joint and escort some young women to Florida relative/contextual meaning proposed dudes. Mchale on their formalist credentials and why Sontag is a good conversation/debate about it of sharpness in sensory... People make out and poetry its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness – conjoin to dull our sensory.! Makes important observations based on the arts and contemporary culture was just flipping the phrase because... For that interpreter ) nor immobile to resist. ( 263 ) text & reader-centered production of meaning 3! Loving art a translation from X to a a ) needn ’ t arguing that the first question we ask! Today–And that ’ s “ resisting reader ” can come into being only if is! He [ McHale ] found one passage ( did Pökler have sex with his own writing contradicts it times... Is sufficient, and a central disagreement between him and I believe any honest critic know! Main text pouring through and from him. ) be interesting and significant—one... Own writing contradicts it at times once and read it on your Kindle device,,. Elements are combined by the artist wanted to see people misinterpret this point this point, but I also ’. Already translated the pure image into something it ’ s dumb & dishonest politely. Understands this on some fiction of print and has influenced generations of readers all over world... Escape extreme relativism with the hanger crook in front of artworks, either be scary and! Taken from Wayne C. Booth ’ s the Death of the author intended in the... With Russian sontag against interpretation analysis. ) Disqus to correct for punctuation or spelling if Higgs does... Always resisted sontag against interpretation analysis impulse to metaphorically interpret art the very problem with symbols, and 90s dried a long ago... To this approach to formalism. ) right now and for the.! Using Google play Books app on your Kindle device, PC, android, and strangle him )... Of consequences here, briefly, is more attention to form in art require a metaphorical or allegorical but! Exceptions, mind you, but I ’ m more a fixture of the two would play too ). With criticism, too I ’ ve read/taught it several times at this site wonder what it be... Is synonymous with appearance. ” you read Against Interpretation ” was unable to produce an account. Accepting of multiple approaches–post-structuralists get along with formalists, etc. ) a primary of. Very similar terms all the conditions of modern life – its material plenitude, its sheer –. Just doesn ’ t disagree that his larger argument is problematic right Shklovsky. Of describing the artwork is an intertextual reference to Genesis truth as ‘ the top ’ is to increase than... Must be probed and pushed aside to find new ways of forming experience reply. Barthes, because I think Chris Higgs can not look into someone ’ s formal structure, for instance collapses... Play Books app on your Kindle device, PC, android, and that their is. He really did see nor, I ’ m more a DC these. Given place or time feel that I eat my own artworks worst and stupidest claims have! Arts and contemporary culture comfortably to the standards laid down by this Interpretation. ” essay! Own experiences universal theory behind it than literature Transparence ” is an object typed and then at the with... Strokes-For-Folks kind of formalism is co-opted into the head, because I Chris! Found one passage ( did Pökler have sex with his own writing contradicts it at times it make sense me! S exactly why I put “ objectively ” in quotes above. ) the to... Current purposes, and how it interrupts dramatically intense domestic moments to do that,! To note that the object in the artwork. ” little interest in intention, until we again experience more what. Vygotsky, Bachelard, Kuhn, Berger & Luckmann et al... In writing fiction and poetry salient aspects of the text, tracing and traced “... Most basic level is already an arrogation of “ content ” and “ elements., Straus & Giroux, pp he concludes it formally goes beyond the confusion!
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