Vertigo  book cover
1st Edition


ISBN 9780415494472
Published December 6, 2012 by Routledge
228 Pages

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Book Description

Released in 1958, Vertigo is widely regarded as Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece and one of the greatest films of all time. This is the first book devoted to exploring the philosophical aspects of Vertigo. Following an introduction by the editor that places the film in context, each chapter reflects upon Hitchcock’s film from a philosophical perspective. Topics discussed include:

  • memory, loss, memorialisation, and creativity
  • mimetic or representational art and art as magic
  • the nature of romantic love
  • gender, sexual objectification, and identity
  • looking, "the gaze", and voyeurism
  • film and psychoanalysis
  • fantasy, illusion, and reality
  • the phenomenology of colour.

Including annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, this collection is essential reading for anyone interested in Vertigo, and an ideal resource for students of film and philosophy.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Katalin Makkai  1. Magic and Art in Vertigo, Nickolas Pappas  2. Scottie’s Dream, Judy’s Plan, Madeleine’s Revenge, William Rothman  3. Vertigo: The Impossible Love, Noël Carroll  4. Offensive, Charles Warren  5. A Made-to-Order Witness: Women’s Knowledge in Vertigo, Gregg M. Horowitz  6. Vertigo and Being Seen, Katalin Makkai  7. Being-in-(Techni)Color, Eli Friedlander  8. Vertigo and the Spectator of Film Analysis, Andrew Klevan.  Index

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Katalin Makkai is Junior Professor of Philosophy at ECLA of Bard, Berlin (Germany). She is the author of "Kant on Recognizing Beauty," which appeared in European Journal of Philosophy.


"Was Hitchcock merely a master of suspense, or as his French critics believed, also a master of ideas? This volume of stimulating, philosophically inclined interpretations of his magnificent film Vertigo proves that the French were right." - Richard Allen, New York University, USA

"Vertigo is arguably Hitchcock's masterpiece. This valuable collection helps reveal the many respects in which it is also his most philosophically engaging film." - Paul Muench, University of Montana, USA

"Although there is already a prodigious amount of Hitchcock scholarship available, Vertigo: Philosophers on Film is a welcome contribution to the field due to the quality of writing, the variety of issues explored, and the diversity of interpretations offered by the authors. This is a must read volume for any Hitchcock lover." -Erin Bradfield, Sewanee: The University of the South, USA