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08 JANUARY 2014

Kafka's Wound by Will Self

"I am guilty of an association of ideas; or rather: I am guilty–that's a given, and in casting about for the source of my guilt I find I cannot prevent myself from linking one idea with another purely on the basis of their contiguity, in time, in place, in my own mind. It's not only ideas I connect like this, I do it with images, sensory impressions and the most epiphenomenal of mental glitches. Hume writes in his An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding that the imagination is best conceived of as a combinatorial faculty: there is nothing intrinsically imaginative about the idea of 'gold', nor the idea of 'mountain', but join them together and you have a fantastically gleaming 'gold mountain'. And might not that gold mountain be the Laurenziberg in Prague? After all, it looms over contemporary Prague–under its Czech language moniker, the Petřín–just as it loomed in the consciousness of Franz Kafka, whose earliest surviving narrative fragment, 'Description of a Struggle', is in part an account of a phantasmagorical ascent of its slopes: 'But now the cool light which precedes the rising of the moon spread over the mountain and suddenly the moon itself appeared from beyond one of the restless bushes. I on the other hand had meanwhile been gazing in another direction, and when I now looked ahead of me and suddenly saw it glowing in its almost full roundness, I stood still with troubled eyes, for my precipitous road seemed to lead straight into this terrifying moon.'"

(Kafka's Wound by Will Self)

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TAGS

associative • associative logic • between people and things • combinatorial faculty • contiguity • Czech language • Czech RepublicDavid Hume • epiphenomenal • essay • fantastically gleaming • Franz Kafkaglitch • gold mountain • hypermedia • idea association • imaginationinformation visualisationinterlinking • linking one idea with another • linking structure • London Review of Books • mental glitch • moonnodal structureorganisational relationship • Petrin • phantasmagoricalPraguerelatednessrhizomatic associationsrhizome • sensory impressions • similitude • Will Self

CONTRIBUTOR

Anna Troisi
23 NOVEMBER 2011

Academic Phrasebank: a general resource for academic writers

"The Academic Phrasebank is a general resource for academic writers. It aims to provide you with examples of some of the phraseological 'nuts and bolts' of writing organised under the headings to the left. It was designed primarily with international students whose first language is not English in mind. However, if you are a native speaker writer, you may still find parts of the material helpful.

The phrases can be used simply to assist you in thinking about your writing, or they can be used in your own work where this is appropriate. In most cases a certain amount of creativity will be necessary when you do this. It is also possible to transfer some of the words used in particular phrases to others. The phrases are content neutral and generic in nature; in using them, therefore, you are not stealing other people's ideas and this does not constitute plagiarism."

(John Morley, 3 November 2011)

TAGS

academic essay • Academic Phrasebank • academic writingassignment writingdissertationessay • essay structure • essay writingresearch dissertationresearch paperresearch topicresearchertopic • topic of interest • University of Manchesterwriting

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 MARCH 2011

Returning to Michael Powell's Peeping Tom after 15 years

"Peeping Tom has been widely celebrated as one of the great films about looking, about consumption, about cinema, about art, about the artist, about the relation between the artist, the artwork and the audience, about the relation between looking and pleasure, looking and desire, looking and death, and so on. All very familiar stuff from Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis and film studies (the film's tailor–made for film studies – bring in some Freud here, some Bataille and de Sade there, add a little Lacan and Virillio, etc). The aggressive and violating camera, as Scorsese put it. And this is partly the problem with Peeping Tom. Like the films of Peter Greenaway or David Cronenberg, Peeping Tom is more like an academic essay about voyeurism and scopophilia, a join–the–dots lecture on the pleasures, risks and dangers of art. Plus, Peeping Tom employs the most stereotypical, cliched thriller/ murder mystery plot you can imagine: a young man, a loner, a misfit, introspective, morbid, an outsider figure, abused as a child, etc etc etc, who murders sexualized women (prostitutes and actresses), and is befriended by an innocent he cannot bring himself to corrupt or kill.

Powell attacks the subject of voyeurism and murder aggressively in the opening scenes: the close–ups on cameras, projectors and eyes, the mirrors and reflections, exaggerated sounds (the rattle of a projector, a dripping tap, a heartbeat, whispered voiceover), and his love of visual rhymes and puns (eyes, drinks, sticks and tripods). You can see Powell having a ball in orchestrating his elaborate camera moves, his erotic, sleazy mise–en–abyme, his film–within–a–film tropes (Powell playing the murderer's father and torturer in home movies which he shot himself), the multiple reflections, mirrors, lenses, cameras, projections and screens (every shot in Peeping Tom seems to have been lit by a raking, unfiltered, unflattering horizontal light). It's not that Powell isn't at the top of his game in Peeping Tom – in its way, Peeping Tom is every bit as inventive as Powell's best work – it's that the plot, the characters, the situations are so cheesy, predictable, and shallow.

Despite all this, though, Peeping Tom does have bite and a nastiness which age hasn't dimmed. Peeping Tom also still feels 'contemporary' in its psychoanalytic treatment of a serial killer plot which draws on prostitution, cinema, acting, and pornography. And the conceit of having a murder in the opening shots which's replayed a moment later over the credits is a tour–de–force (one of the film's best cinematic ideas, this says everything necessary, and economically, in the first five minutes)."

(Jeremy Robinson)

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TAGS

1960abuseaggressionartartistartworkaudienceBritish directorBritish film directorcameracinemaclicheclose-upconsumptionDavid Cronenbergdeathdesire • Emeric Pressburger • erotic • essayfilmfilm studies • film-within-a-film • Freudian • Georges Bataille • innocenceintrospectionJacques Lacan • join-the-dots • Leo Marks • loner • looking • Marquis de Sade • Martin ScorseseMichael Powellmirrormise-en-abymemisfitmorbidmurdermurder mysteryoutsider • Paul Virilio • Peeping Tom (film) • Peter Greenawaypleasurepornographyprojectorprostitutionpsychoanalysis • pun • reflectionscopophilia • scoptophilia • serial killer • sexualised • sleazy • stereotypethrillerUKviolation • visual rhyme • voyeurism

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 JULY 2009

Philosophy Ideas Database: a searchable catalogue of philosophical ideas

"This site contains a searchable catalogue of philosophical ideas, mostly in the western analytical tradition. It is compiled by Peter Gibson, and implemented as a website by Martin Berry. It provides philosophical quotations for anyone who has to write a philosophy essay, or who wishes to digest quickly some key ideas on a topic. The database is strongest in the areas of Mind, Knowledge and Morality, but it will gradually expand to fill gaps."
(Peter Gibson)

TAGS

analytical • conceptualisationcritical theorydatabaseessayinsightknowledgemindmorality • philosophical ideas • philosophyquotationresearchsearchtheory building

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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