Hollywood's Wars

Friday 07 September, 2012
6:30pm, $0/Rsvp

New York University, Deutsches Haus
42 Washington Mews

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Cinematic representations of war are predicated on a fundamental contradiction. As Sam Fuller, himself a veteran of the Omaha Beach landing, put it: There can be no accurate presentation of the contingencies of war, given that during actual battle there is too much fog. The persistence, with which Hollywood has brought military conflict to the screen for almost a century, in turn, speaks to a cultural necessity. We are compelled to engage with the knowledge pertaining to this traumatic history in the sense of a collective legacy. My lecture will address this aporia by discussing Spielberg's D-Day sequence in Saving Private Ryan an an example for the culturalsurvival of this aesthetic formalization of battle.

Elisabeth Bronfen is Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Zurich and, since 2007, Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. She did her PhD at the University of Munich, on literary space in the work of Dorothy M. Richardson’s novel Pilgrimage, as well as her habilitation, five years later. A specialist in the 19th and 20th century literature she has also written articles in the area of gender studies, psychoanalysis, film, cultural theory and visual culture. Her book publications are Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic (Manchester University Press) and a collection of essays Death and Representation, co-edited with Sarah W. Goodwin (Johns Hopkins University Press). She has edited a four volume German edition of Anne Sexton poetry and letters. Further books are The Knotted Subject: Hysteria and its Discontents (Princeton, 1998) and the monograph Sylvia Plath in the series “Writers and their Work” (Northcote Press 1998). A book version of her dissertation has appeared in English, under the title Dorothy Richardson’s Art of Memory: Space, Identity, Text (Manchester University Press). The book Home in Hollywood: The Imaginary Geography of Cinema was published by Columbia University Press fall 2004. A collection of essays on recent scholarship in gender studes, co-edited with Misha Kavka and entitled Feminist Consequences: Theory for the New Century appeared with Columbia University Press, 2000. Another publication about the importance of the diva in celebrity culture, entitled Die Diva: Geschichte einer Bewunderung was published with Schirmer
und Mosel, München. A further recent publication is her collection of essays Liebestod und Femme Fatale: Der Austausch sozialer Energien zwischen Oper, Literatur und Film A cultural history of the night, Tiefer als der Tag gedacht: Szenen der Nacht, appeared in 2008. An introduction to the writings of Stanley Cavell as well as a book collection of essays on visual culture both appeared in German in 2009. Most resent publication is Specters of War: Hollywood's Engagement with Military Conflict (Rutgers U.P. 2012) and Night Passages: Imaging the Night in Literature and Film (Columbia U.P.2012) Current research projects include a book on Queen Elizabeth I as the first diva.

Events at Deutsches Haus are free of charge. Please let us know which event you would like to attend by sending us an email to deutscheshaus.rsvp@nyu.edu. Space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event. Thank you!
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