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The Emergence of Cinematic Time Modernity, Contingency, the Archive by Mary Ann Doane

The Emergence of Cinematic Time Modernity, Contingency, the Archive

RRP £31.95


The Emergence of Cinematic Time Modernity, Contingency, the Archive by Mary Ann Doane

Hailed as the permanent record of fleeting moments, the cinema emerged at the turn of the 19th century as an unprecedented means of capturing time - and this at a moment when disciplines from physics to philosophy, and historical trends from industrialization to the expansion of capitalism, were transforming the very idea of time. In a world that itself captures and reconfigures the passing moments of art, history and philosophy, Mary Ann Doane shows how the cinema, representing the singular instant of chance and ephemerality in the face of the increasing rationalization and standardization of the day, participated in the stucturing of time and contingency in capitalist modernity. At this book's heart is the cinema's essential paradox: temporal continuity conveyed through stopped time , the rapid succession of still frames or frozen images. Doane explores the role of this paradox, and of notions of the temporal indeterminacy and instability of an image, in shaping not just cinematic time but also modern ideas about continuity and discontinuity, archivability, contingency and determinism, and temporal irreversibility. A compelling meditation on the status of cinematic knowledge, her book is also an inquiry into the very heart and soul of modernity.


The Emergence of Cinematic Time is without question a significant and original contribution to the field of Film Studies. Its primary objective is to advance a scholarly argument about the 'representability
of cinematic time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. More than this, it aims to clarify the status of photography and film in discourses and disciplines concerned with temporality and contingency. And it does so precisely by focusing on fields whose relation to the cinema is not immediately self

-evident, such as thermodynamics, physiology, statistics, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. Mary Ann Doane is without question one of Film Studies
finest scholars and The Emergence of Cinematic Time does justice to her reputation and to the highest standards of the field

.--Patrice Petro, Professor of Film Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

About the Author

Mary Ann Doane is George Hazard Crooker University Professor of Modern Culture and Media and of English at Brown University.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th December 2002


Mary Ann Doane

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Harvard University Press


304 pages


Films, cinema
Media studies



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