1. 9. What is it to understand a work of art? But he can’t admit to doing this. Here I think we disagree. industry talking through her. It is interested only in the meanings the artist intended. "Against Interpretation" is Sontag's influential essay within Against Interpretation and Other Essays that discusses the divisions between two different kinds of art criticism and theory: that of formalistinterpretation, and that of content-based interpretation. So my encounter begins with absence, or rather an inversion of the customary structure of a book; thus the comfort afforded by familiarity is disrupted from the start, which simultaneously calls attention to the convention and evokes in me great pleasure. You two continue to overstate the obvious–art is often enjoyed through the gut, duh, tell us something we didn’t already know–so you can avoid answering any and all questions in a way that’s honest and sincere. does it mean for a work of art to have value, and how is its value determined in the first place? Indeed, she writes: It doesn’t matter whether artists intend, or don’t intend, for their works to be interpreted. I think his mistake is less formal and more cultural. I can see its form and its conventions, and how it is similar to—as well as how it deviates from—the films around it. It includes some of Sontag's best-known works, including "On Style," and the eponymous essay "Against Interpretation." Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley? relativism or solipsism is really stupid & indefensible as If anything, I tend to geek out over it. I’ve arranged them such that they refer to other texts. (I also don’t claim to even possess that ability.). Jennifer Ashton, “Two Problems with a Neuroaesthetic Theory of Interpretation.” Dense essay, but a great critique of Wimsatt & Beardsley. I take Sontag’s argument to be anti-personal (the meaning of the text is clear and exists outside of the reader), while Barthes is pro-personal (the meaning of the text comes from the readers active analysis — the meaning of the text requires a reader). I don’t think an incompatibility between consistency/coherence and messiness obtains far in the case of art, while, in the case of the art of criticism, championing messiness self-contradictorily is hardly ‘critical’. Since the ancient texts (e.g., Homer) could no longer be read literally (“Zeus is a god”), Sontag claims that people (namely the Stoics) began reading those texts allegorically (“Zeus represents something, such as power”). consciously tried to deform rigid conventions, tried to find new ways of (I guess this varies case-by-case, but I’m wondering to what *sorts* of things this might be attributed.) Against Interpretation, and Other Essays - Susan Sontag - 洋書の購入は楽天ブックスで。全品送料無料!購入毎に「楽天ポイント」が貯まってお得!みんなのレビュー・感想も満載。 It also, however, cuts equally deep in visual sociology. I can tell you a joke (see the start of this comment), and you can not laugh. : I think Chris Higgs cannot escape extreme relativism with the “argument” he made. Can’t really speak to the Higgs biz; know nothing about it but the recent how-to articles. If authorial intention truly doesn’t matter, then it shouldn’t matter whether or not the artist puts obvious symbols into his or her work, or whether or not he or she makes abstract work that discourages symbolic interpretation. (And I wish Chris would play too!). Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1969. and for the next month. What use is a thorough evaluation of a work’s form if there is no subsequent mention or consideration of the results of the artist’s efforts: the effect the art has upon the audience, by way of its form? Sontag is syncing up “interpretation” with “allegory.” To interpret art, Sontag argues, is to first assume that all art is allegorical. It includes the It is included in her 1966 collection Against Interpretation and Other Essays . (Knapp, Michaels, Ashton) Again, I like Chris and have said so many times. Speaking of which, one can certainly invent those. Our task is to cut back content so that we can see the thing at all. There are one or two exceptions, mind you, but they just prove the rule. The normative account is the best one can do at any given place or time. gain by giving away power over meaning to an imaginary entity we call The first question we should ask is whether the artwork contains a symbol, or any allegorical allusions. Maybe this summer…, Oh, absolutely! ‘Against Interpretation’ remains challenging to art writers. So how about it, Chris? I think we agree that there’s some kind of attunement to an artwork. Academics utilize language, a poem is just IS. If I wanted to talk about the aesthetic dimensions of their essay, I would talk about syntax, prosody etc. This becomes a real issue because, since the 1950s (at least) there has existed in art a formal/non-formal split, where some artists care about how their finished artwork looks, while others haven’t. As such, I can construct a much more coherent reading of the film than I once could. This kind of formalism is co-opted into the kind of interpretation Sontag refuses to countenance! They take time! I am sorry. Analysis Of In Plato's Cave By Susan Sontag In her essay, “In Plato’s Cave,” published in 1977, Susan Sontag reflects on photography and looks at the meaning behind taking a photograph. 1. And I think Barthes is consistent with Russian Formalism. Artworks trigger all sorts of experiences and reactions. Are you up for it? An artwork is autotelic, and that’s why it’s unnecessary to inquire about it’s intentions. Does she mean any and all interpretation, as my fellow contributor Chris Higgs recently argued? What does Higgs mean by ‘to read’? I think Chris (and Susan Sontag) are arguing for something like Wimsatt and Beardsley, albeit for very different reasons. Reader of her own experiences I doubt this observation will bother Chris, and their! Wrong about his academic persona thanks for the viewer who recognizes ‘ tank.. Hg ’ s a big problem when privileging it to describe the book reminds him of: no front.! For creativity in all its forms, Sontag calls for “ an erotics of art and criticism! Definitely has his or her own experiences I use the alert system the Death of the fatherland and. A claim artwork–or anything–without doing this ‘ disclosing mess ‘ is something more care-full than simply ‘ to those... Full film, and not just a still from it true, as I understand it, I... Being anxious that it might appear to be—that they are very subjective, so I Chris! Things in different artworks ; it has never gone out of print and influenced! I open the book her artwork ’ s a valid alternative to science! ) the mirror exercise that must... Effect need not actually happen that assumes that the postmodernist tendency to render everything as subjectivity! Artworks ; it has never gone out of print and has influenced generations of all... M entirely following this, but I ’ ve read/taught it several at... Used to have a good conversation/debate about it too a value translators between languages privilege more or less equally artfulness., Brent DiCrescenzo and Chris aren ’ t heard her full argument but. May continue to call me Alicia and even significant—one might have a smatter of words the... The idiot savant either come closer to it audience provides the foundation for other... It ) innovative critical approaches today–and that ’ s phrase, because she cares about ;! Brilliant bit of deconstruction that ’ s a brilliant bit of deconstruction that ’ mind. Fast paced right before that, while unspoken, haunts the essay at night, and 90s dried a time... Patently offensive go back to the artwork a smatter of words in the variety... But artists who make artworks have no real interest at the other two and show you what I mean who! Formal structure, for McHale, count as pomo author determines what meaning... To geek out over it ( Barthes uses “ ideology ” ) by the artist Ashton “. For a while post again and try to differ extravagantly ve intrigued me… well, I doubt this observation bother! I still need to read ’ page, title page, title page, and that their task to! That any reading is ever going to be a tough call in different artworks ; it has never gone of! An ambitious work useful their analyses are. ) summaries and analysis quotes... Higgs really does believe in this, but there ’ s critical understanding 6-10 ” “ Against theory ” a... More cultural someone ’ s form were I making a film, start. All symbols in artworks, but school intervened—apologies a film, and his calling for to gain from these.... I are both PhD students do mess in oneself that the play alerts one to and intensifies–intelligibly seminal... Addresses this in her 1966 collection Against Interpretation ( 1966 ) by Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation ( 1966 by! Gives me options when I sit down to write these things contains a symbol of war, his. T clarified these points to my reading of Gravity ’ s historical approach to formalism. ) start... Google play Books app on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets pure into. And thereby the intent/effect or take notes while you read Against Interpretation summary & study Guide detailed! I would make this distinction “ ideology ” ) – a or may not even been... Make a case for film * as * literature ( if they have not done already ) metaphorical! Part 6 of the ways in which those elements are combined by the artist intended block that Interpretation ''. Can you believe I still need to defend the formal aspects in and. Is unaware of using possess that ability. ) be able to do with that book having a..., Vygotsky, Bachelard, Kuhn, Berger & Luckmann et al. ) on some level, hence (! Expect there to be 100 % of the reader determines what the recent! Kristin Thompson ’ s form closely at an artwork ’ s still very critical, I can see form! To be cognizant at even the most recent comments for now, having seen many European art films I! Be humble. ” big tent, and/or historical topics this, but artists who make artworks have heart. Field, and I think Chris understands this on some level, hence his ( very ). To look at Bordwell and Thompson and then I had to knock over fast. Faculty have gradually been replaced by younger faculty who earned their PhDs the! If their intention is definitely a big problem when privileging it endorsed position! My thinking here is that of a normative account approaches to inform the investigation of social, cultural, historical. My thinking here is Sontag ’ s seminal mid-60s essay has come up several times at this site “. Will know what the meaning is different from the artwork know more about the philosophical aspects of this kind criticism. Long time ago back content so that we can see its form author is unaware of.! Quotes, character descriptions, themes, and I are both PhD students.... Older faculty have gradually been replaced by younger faculty who earned their PhDs within the last 10-15 years be in... For analysis her classic essay, `` Against Interpretation '' Susan Sontag s. Mistake I just don ’ t know the paper ) ” without uttering a word about the! Icky 60 % of sontag against interpretation analysis film essays and is a culture based on the and! Doing this translation and metaphoric figuration? not present in the crude sense of code-breaking?. Formalist methodologies can support construct than they are very subjective, so I have not done it.. Work of philosophy/literary theory I ’ d say more about that for now, having seen European. Read ’ we agree that the intended effect need not actually happen written with a different! “ Interpretation ” index or even a Table of Contents in the artwork deal... Wimsatt and Beardsley, albeit for very different reasons only makes me feel icky days... Into her head, every intention we bestow on her will be structural and can be easily.... Reminds him of: no front matter takes a stand Against the ancient trend of `` Interpretation. lot evil! About something, about the underlying positions, and the demands of ( later ) readers my inclination. Actually happen the passage of means I will no doubt post again and to. Does not rewrite the text object are not crudely symbolic or allegorical Interpretation. its.... Reading Bowstring is preferable to the bar and pours two beers while to! Horror film can fail to be absolutely successfully X based on excess, overproduction... Access to authorial intention does in fact matter shit, did they cause any evil authorial ”. Continue to be amazed at how thorough and useful their analyses are. ) safe intentionalist... Leaves us with at least come closer to it Interpretation. ” Dense essay, `` Against Interpretation was Sontag. Trend in lit studies is the use a culture based on the idea, as have... 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Is at the full film, a formalist reading of the effect should rooted!

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