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Forgetting Lot's Wife

£18.00

Product description

Can looking at disaster and mass death destroy us? Forgetting Lot's Wife provides a theory and a fragmentary history of destructive spectatorship in the twentieth century. Its subject is the notion that the sight of historical catastrophe can destroy the spectator. The fragments of this history all lead back to the story of Lot's wife: looking back at the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, she turns into a pillar of salt. This biblical story of punishment and transformation, a nexus of sexuality, sight, and cities, becomes the template for the modern fear that looking back at disaster might petrify the spectator. Although rarely articulated directly,
this idea remains powerful in our culture. This book traces some of its aesthetic, theoretical, and ethical consequences.
Harries traces the figure of Lot's wife across media. In extended engagements with examples from twentieth-century theater, film, and painting, he focuses on the theatrical theory of Antonin Artaud, a series of American films, and paintings by Anselm Kiefer. These examples all return to the story of Lot's wife as a way to think about modern predicaments of the spectator. On the one hand, the sometimes veiled figure of Lot's wife allows these artists to picture the desire to destroy the spectator; on the other, she stands as a sign of the potential danger to the spectator. These works, that is, enact critiques of the very desire that inspires them.
The book closes with an extended meditation on September 11, criticizing the notion that we should have been destroyed by witnessing the events of that day.

Item details

Author(s):
Martin Harries
Condition:
Used: very good
Dimensions:
229x152x12
EAN-13:
9780823227341
Format:
Paperback
ISBN-13:
9780823227341
Number of items:
1
Number of pages:
192
Publisher:
Fordham University Press

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About this item

Can looking at disaster and mass death destroy us? Forgetting Lot's Wife provides a theory and a fragmentary history of destructive spectatorship in the twentieth century. Its subject is the notion that the sight of historical catastrophe can destroy the spectator. The fragments of this history all lead back to the story of Lot's wife: looking back at the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, she turns into a pillar of salt. This biblical story of punishment and transformation, a nexus of sexuality, sight, and cities, becomes the template for the modern fear that looking back at disaster might petrify the spectator. Although rarely articulated directly,
this idea remains powerful in our culture. This book traces some of its aesthetic, theoretical, and ethical consequences.
Harries traces the figure of Lot's wife across media. In extended engagements with examples from twentieth-century theater, film, and painting, he focuses on the theatrical theory of Antonin Artaud, a series of American films, and paintings by Anselm Kiefer. These examples all return to the story of Lot's wife as a way to think about modern predicaments of the spectator. On the one hand, the sometimes veiled figure of Lot's wife allows these artists to picture the desire to destroy the spectator; on the other, she stands as a sign of the potential danger to the spectator. These works, that is, enact critiques of the very desire that inspires them.
The book closes with an extended meditation on September 11, criticizing the notion that we should have been destroyed by witnessing the events of that day.

Author(s):
Martin Harries
Condition:
Used: very good
Dimensions:
229x152x12
EAN-13:
9780823227341
Format:
Paperback
ISBN-13:
9780823227341
Number of items:
1
Number of pages:
192
Publisher:
Fordham University Press

Delivery & returns

This item will be dispatched to UK addresses via second class post within 7 working days of receipt of your order. Standard UK delivery is £3.95 per order, so you're only charged once no matter how many items you have in your basket. Any additional courier charges will be applied at checkout as they vary depending on delivery address.

This item will be dispatched to UK addresses via second class post within 7 working days of receipt of your order. Standard UK delivery is currently free, no matter how many items you have in your basket. Any additional courier charges will be applied at checkout as they vary depending on delivery address.

We offer a 30 day no quibble returns policy. You can find out more about delivery and returns in our help section. You have the option of a full refund or exchange for an alternative item from the range.

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Europe: £4.70

Outside Europe: £7.00

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