The Difficulty of Difference: Psychoanalysis, Sexual Difference and Film Theory, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Difficulty of Difference

Psychoanalysis, Sexual Difference and Film Theory, 1st Edition

By D. N. Rodowick


176 pages

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This book argues that serious misreadings of Freud and Lacan on sexual difference have characterized prevailing models of psychoanalytic film criticism. In critiquing theories of identification and female spectatorship, the author maintains that early film theorists and feminist critics are equally guilty of imposing a binary conception of sexual difference on Freud’s thought. By embracing such a rigid definition of male/female difference, they fail to understand the fundamentally complex and fluid process of sexual identification as it is articulated in Freud’s writing, constructed in film texts, and negotiated by spectators.

The book turns to Freud’s work on fantasy to develop an alternative model for interpreting sexuality in the visual and narrative arts, one that emphasizes a ‘politics of critical reading’ over accepted theories of ideological identification. Originally published in 1991, its strategic focus on psychoanalysis itself as an object of historical and critical inquiry, and not simply as a reading method is the unique quality of this book.

Table of Contents

Preface 1. The Difficulty of Difference 2. The Return of the Exile 3. Reading Freud…Differently 4. Metamorphoses 5. The Difference of Reading 6. Analysis Interminable

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Cinema

Reissuing works originally published between 1914 and 1996, Routledge Library Editions: Cinema offers a selection of scholarship covering the movies. Volumes range from film propaganda to the epic film genre, women in cinema to Soviet cinema, silent film to horror series, and touch on acting, screenwriting and film production among other areas making this a comprehensive collection of previously out-of-print works.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Reference
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies