The Camera-Eye Metaphor in Cinema: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Camera-Eye Metaphor in Cinema

1st Edition

By Christian Quendler


250 pages | 28 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138911369
pub: 2016-11-10
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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?


"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

Table of Contents


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 andBertrand Tavernier’s Death Watch

Enacted Visions in Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void


About the Author

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.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Film Studies

This series is our home for innovative research in the field of film studies. It includes monographs and targeted edited collections that provide new insights into this important and evolving subject area.


To submit a proposal for this series, please contact:
Suzanne Richardson, Commissioning Editor for Media, Cultural and Communication Studies

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism
PHILOSOPHY / Movements / Phenomenology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies