R. Bruce Elder: Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century (2008)

18 November 2013, dusan

“R. Bruce Elder argues that the authors of many of the manifestoes that announced in such lively ways the appearance of yet another artistic movement shared a common aspiration: they proposed to reformulate the visual, literary, and performing arts so that they might take on attributes of the cinema. The cinema, Elder argues, became, in the early decades of the twentieth century, a pivotal artistic force around which a remarkable variety and number of aesthetic forms took shape.

To demonstrate this, Elder begins with a wide-ranging discussion that opens up some broad topics concerning modernity’s cognitive (and perceptual) regime, with a view to establishing that a crisis within that regime engendered some peculiar, and highly questionable, epistemological beliefs and enthusiasms. Through this discussion, Elder advances the startling claim that a crisis of cognition precipitated by modernity engendered, by way of response, a peculiar sort of “pneumatic (spiritual) epistemology.” Elder then shows that early ideas of the cinema were strongly influenced by this pneumatic epistemology and uses this conception of the cinema to explain its pivotal role in shaping two key moments in early-twentieth-century art: the quest to bring forth a pure, “objectless” (non-representational) art and Russian Suprematism, Constructivism, and Productivism.”

Publisher Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, 2008
ISBN 1554580285, 9781554580286
480 pages

Review: David Sterritt (Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 2011).


PDF (updated on 2019-12-14)

Erwin Panofsky: Perspective as Symbolic Form (1927–) [DE, ES, EN]

14 November 2013, dusan

“Erwin Panofsky’s Perspective as Symbolic Form is one of the great works of modern intellectual history, the legendary text that has dominated all art-historical and philosophical discussions on the topic of perspective in the last century. This unrivaled example of Panofsky’s early method places him within broader developments in theories of knowledge and cultural change. Here, drawing on a massive body of learning that ranges over ancient philosophy, theology, science, and optics as well as the history of art, Panofsky produces a type of ‘archaeology’ of Western representation that far surpasses the usual scope of art historical studies.

Perspective in Panofsky’s hands becomes a central component of a Western “will to form,” the expression of a schema linking the social, cognitive, psychological, and especially technical practices of a given culture into harmonious and integrated wholes. He demonstrates how the perceptual schema of each historical culture or epoch is unique and how each gives rise to a different but equally full vision of the world. Panofsky articulates these distinct spatial systems, explicating their particular coherence and compatibility with the modes of knowledge, belief, and exchange that characterized the cultures in which they arose. Our own modernity, Panofsky shows, is inseparable from its peculiarly mathematical expression of the concept of the infinite, within a space that is both continuous and homogenous.”

First published in Vorträge der Bibliothek Warburg 1924-1925, Leipzig/Berlin: Teubner, 1927, pp 258-330.
Reprinted in Panofsky, Aufsätze zu Grundfragen der Kunstwissenschaft, eds. Hariolf Oberer and Egon Verheyen, 1974; Berlin 1992, pp 99-167.

English edition
Translated by Christopher S. Wood
Publisher Zone Books, New York, 1991
ISBN 0942299523, 9780942299526
196 pages

Review: E.H. Gombrich (NY Review of Books 1997).

Publisher (EN)

Die Perspektive als ‘symbolische Form’ (German, 1927/1980)
La perspectiva como forma simbolica (Spanish, trans. Virginia Careaga, 1973/2003)
Perspective as Symbolic Form (English, trans. Christopher S. Wood, 1991, no OCR)

Simone Weil: An Anthology (1986/2005)

1 May 2013, dusan

Simone Weil was one of the foremost thinkers of the twentieth century: a philosopher, theologian, critic, sociologist and political activist. This anthology spans the wide range of her thought, and includes an extract from her best-known work The Need for Roots, exploring the ways in which modern society fails the human soul; her thoughts on the misuse of language by those in power; and the essay “Human Personality”, a late, beautiful reflection on the rights and responsibilities of every individual. All are marked by the unique combination of literary eloquence and moral perspicacity that characterised Weil’s ideas and inspired a generation of thinkers and writers both in and outside her native France.

First published by Virago Press, 1986
Edited and Introduced by Siân Miles
Publisher Penguin Books, 2005
Penguin Classics series
ISBN 0141188197, 9780141188195
312 pages

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PDF (updated on 2013-5-2)