1st Edition

The Camera-Eye Metaphor in Cinema

By Christian Quendler Copyright 2017
    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    262 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the cultural, intellectual, and artistic fascination with camera-eye metaphors in film culture of the twentieth century. By studying the very metaphor that cinema lives by, it provides a rich and insightful map of our understanding of cinema and film styles and shows how cinema shapes our understanding of the arts and media. As current new media technologies are attempting to shift the identity of cinema and moving imagery, it is hard to overstate the importance of this metaphor for our understanding of the modalities of vision. In what guises does the "camera eye" continue to survive in media that is called new?


    1. Seeing-As

    Playing with the Senses

    Sensitive Paper and Visual Substance

    Mechanical Brains and Electronic Minds

    The Organic Camera Eye and Walter Benjamin’s Optical Unconscious

    Convergent Theorizing in Jean-Louis Baudry’s Apparatus Theory

    2. Seeing Better and Seeing More

    Camera and Dispositif

    René Descartes and Dziga Vertov on Perfecting Vision

    Seeing Better with Vsevolod Pudovkin’s Cartesian Camera Eye

    Seeing More with Vertov’s Kino-Eye

    3. Seeing and Writing

    Dziga Vertov’s Poetic Map of A Sixth Part of the World

    The Literary Notebooks of Luigi Pirandello’s Silent Camera Operator

    The Sound Image of John Dos Passos’ Camera Eye

    Christopher Isherwood’s Camera Eye on Stage and Screen

    4. Memory and Traces

    A Series of Dated Traces

    Margarete Böhme’s The Diary of a Lost One

    Filming the Diary of a Lost Girl

    William Keighley’s Journal of a Crime

    Cinema as Paper Formatted in Time

    5. Gestures and Figures

    Embodied Gestures and Textual Figures

    Autopsy and Autography

    Cinematic Discovery of the Self

    Filmic Bodies and Figures in Narrative Film Theory

    From Lady in the Lake to La Femme défendue

    6. Roles and Models

    Personal Cinema as Institution, Medium and Genre

    From Psychodrama to Life Models

    Animating the Self in Jerome Hill’s Film Portrait

    Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors and Art of Vision

    Brakhage’s Development of Camera Consciousness

    The Eye Body and the Body Politic in Carolee Schneemann’s Expanded Cinema

    7. Minds and Screens

    Bruce Kawin and Gilles Deleuze on Camera Consciousness

    Visionary Agents in Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom and Bertrand Tavernier’s Death Watch

    Enacted Vision


    Christian Quendler is Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. He is the author of From Romantic Irony to Postmodernist Metafiction and Interfaces of Fiction.

    "The metaphor of camera as eye is fundamental to both everyday discussion as well as more academic theories of cinema: it is a pervasive metaphor through which we understand cinema on several levels. Christian Quendler’s detailed study of the camera-eye metaphor is therefore a significant and erudite contribution to scholarship. But, more than this, Quendler’s study takes a truly interdisciplinary approach to this metaphor. The Camera-Eye Metaphor in Cinema is not dogmatic in limiting itself to one or two theoretical positions; far from it. This book encompasses a broad array of theoretical approaches – from the philosophy of mind to art theory, narratology, and gender studies. It therefore has a potentially wide appeal, not only in film studies, but also cultural and media studies more generally."Warren Buckland, Oxford Brookes University, UK