Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

1st Edition

Edited by Christopher Grau


160 pages

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pub: 2009-05-26
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the most widely discussed and thought-provoking films of recent years.

This is the first book to explore and address the philosophical aspects of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Beginning with a helpful introduction that places each essay in context, specially commissioned chapters examine the following topics:

  • philosophical issues surrounding love, friendship, affirmation and repetition
  • the role of memory (and the emotions) in personal identity and decision-making
  • the morality of imagination and ethical importance of memory
  • philosophical questions about self-knowledge and knowing the minds of others
  • the aesthetics of the film considered in relation to Gondry’s other works and issues in the philosophy of perception

Including a foreword by Michel Gondry and a list of further reading, this volume is essential reading for students interested in philosophy and film studies.


'Christopher Grau has assembled a series of essays that do something more than simply testify to the power of a memorable film. In an era in which memory itself has come to have an increasingly important place in cultural production and in philosophy, this collection promises to be an invaluable resource.' Frances Ferguson, Johns Hopkins University,

'Reading these essays opens fascinating vistas on one of the most philosophically interesting films of the decade - a veritable ethical and epistemological feast. A terrific addition to a new and top-notch series.'Lawrence Blum, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA

'This is a fascinating collection of insightful and accessible essays on a film that raises many important philosophical issues, such as memory, love, desire, and value. The essays both illuminate the film and also the topics themselves, which are of perennial interest. Highly recommended!'John M. Fischer, University of California, Riverside, USA

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Christopher Grau 2. Two Blue Ruins: Love and Memory in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind C. D. C. Reeve 3. Miserably Ever After: Forgetting, Repeating and Affirming Love in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Troy Jollimore 4. Bad Memories, Good Decisions, and the Three Joels Valerie Tiberius 5. Memory, Desire, and Value in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Julia Driver 6. Michel Gondry and the Phenomenology of Visual Perception Stephen L. White 7. Trying to Remember Clementine George Toles Index

About the Editor

Christopher Grau is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Clemson University. He is the author of several essays that explore ethical issues through film, including ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the Morality of Memory’, which appeared in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. He is also the editor of Philosophers Explore The Matrix (2005).

About the Series

Philosophers on Film

'The true significance of film for philosophy, and of philosophy for film, cannot be established in abstract or general terms. It can only be measured in and through individual philosophers' attempts to account for their experience of specific films. This series promises to provide a productive context for that indispensable enterprise.' – Stephen Mulhall, Fellow and Reader in Philosophy, New College, Oxford

Film is increasingly used to introduce and discuss key topics and problems in philosophy, whilst some films raise important philosophical questions of their own. Yet until now, dependable resources for those studying and teaching philosophy and film have been limited. Philosophers on Film answers this growing need and is the first series of its kind. Each volume assembles a team of international contributors who explore a single film in depth. Beginning with an introduction by the editor, each specially-commissioned chapter discusses a key aspect of the film in question.

Additional features include a biography of the director and suggestions for further reading, making the series ideal for anyone studying philosophy, film and anyone with a general interest in the philosophical dimensions of cinema.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy