Downcast Eyes by Martin Jay
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Downcast Eyes
By Martin Jay

Downcast Eyes

The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought

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Format: Paperback

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Downcast Eyes by Martin Jay

Book Description

Long considered 'the noblest of the senses', vision has increasingly come under critical scrutiny by a wide range of thinkers who question its dominance in Western culture. These critics of vision, especially prominent in twentieth-century France, have challenged its allegedly superior capacity to provide access to the world. They have also criticized its supposed complicity with political and social oppression through the promulgation of spectacle and surveillance. Martin Jay turns to this discourse surrounding vision and explores its often contradictory implications in the work of such influential figures as Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser, Guy Debord, Luce Irigaray, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida. Jay begins with a discussion of the theory of vision from Plato to Descartes, then considers its role in the French Enlightenment before turning to its status in the culture of modernity. From consideration of French Impressionism to analysis of Georges Bataille and the Surrealists, Roland Barthes' writings on photography, and the film theory of Christian Metz, Jay provides lucid and fair-minded accounts of thinkers and ideas widely known for their difficulty. His book examines the myriad links between the interrogation of vision and the pervasive antihumanist, antimodernist, and counter-enlightenment tenor of much recent French thought. Refusing, however, to defend the dominant visual order, he calls instead for a plurality of 'scopic regimes'. Certain to generate controversy and discussion throughout the humanities and social sciences, "Downcast Eyes" will consolidate Jay's reputation as one of today's premier cultural and intellectual historians.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780520088856
ISBN-10: 0520088859
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 38mm)
Pages: 648
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 26-Aug-1994
Country of Publication: United States

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Books By Author Martin Jay

Siegfried Kracauer's American Writings by Martin Jay Siegfried Kracauer's American Writings, Paperback (June 2012)

Siegfried Kracauer (1889-1966), friend and colleague of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, was one of the most influential film critics of the mid-twentieth century. This book assembles essays in cultural criticism, film, literature, and media theory that he wrote during the quarter century he spent in America after fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe.

Songs of Experience by Martin Jay Songs of Experience, Paperback (March 2006)

Presents the history of Western ideas about the nature of human experience. This book explores Western discourse since the sixteenth century onwards, asking why the concept of experience has been such a magnet for controversy.

Refractions of Violence by Martin Jay Refractions of Violence, Hardback (October 2003)

"Refractions of Violence" collects essays of cultural critic and intellectual historian Martin Jay. Subjects include Walter Benjamin's response to World War I, the Holocaust and the events of September 11, 2001.

» View all books by Martin Jay

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Author Biography - Martin Jay

Martin Jay is Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include Force Fields (1992), Marxism and Totality (California, 1984), Adorno (1984), and The Dialectical Imagination (1973).

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