Monday, July 16, 2007

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami


Handbook of Visual Analisys

Handbook of Visual Analysis
Theo van Leeuwen and Carey Jewitt
London 2002

Chapter 4

Seeing Beyond Belief: Cultural Studies as an Approach to the Study of the Visual


Martin Lister and Liz Wells


The study of visual culture cannot be confined to the study of images, but should also take account of the centrality of vision on everyday experience and the production of meaning. (Mirzoeff, 1998; Rogoff, 1988)


We approach images as part of what has been described as "the circuit of culture"(du Gay, 1997). Each one can be thought of as "passing" through a number of moments and its passage through each contributes to the meanings – plural, not singular – which it has and may have. In short, they are socially produced, distributed and consumed; within this cycle there are processes of transformation taking place and also of struggle and contest over what they mean and how they are used.

Main check list of the main features of the analysis in the article:


  1. We are interested in the image's social life and its history.
  2. We look at images within the cycle of production, circulation and consumption through which their meanings are accumulated and transformed.
  3. We pay attention to an image's specific material properties (its "artifactualness"), and through the "medium" and the technologies it is realized (here, as photographs).
  4. While recognizing the material properties of the images we see these as intertwined with the active social process of "looking" and the historically specific forms of "visuality" in which this takes place.
  5. We understand images as representations, the outcomes of a process of attaching ideas to the giving meaning to our experience of the world. With care and qualification, much can be gained by thinking of this process as a language-like activity – conventional systems which, in the manner of codes, convey a meaning within a sign using community.
  6. We temper point 5 with the recognition that our interest in images and other visual experiences (and, indeed, lived in material cultural forms) cannot be reduced to the question of "meaning" and the intellectual process involved in coding and decoding, As human beings and as the members of a culture, we also have a sensuous, pleasure-seeking interest in looking at and feeling "the world" including the media that we have put in it.
  7. We recognize that "looking" is always embodied and undertaken by someone with identity. In this sense, there is not neutral looking. An image's or thing's significance is finally its significance for some-body and some-one. However, as points 1 to 6 indicate, this cannot be any old significance, a matter of complete relativism.




-          Context of Viewing

-          Context of Production

-          Looking: Form and Meaning

  1. Conventions
  2. Pictorial Conventions
  3. Semiotics and codes – Pierce: arbitrary and indexical signs; code – an extended system of signs which operates like a language


  1. Photographic conventions – framing, gaze, lighting, context, camera position


The size of the photograph and the rituals of looking at photographs in galleries are likely to distance us from or bring us close to the actual object.


  1. Social Conventions
  2. Power and photographic conventions – the frame, depth of the field, quality of the light; the moment chosen by the photograph - can   add a narrative element to the picture: something happening outside of the space and the moment of the photograph to which it nevertheless alludes.


-          Looking: Recognition and Identity – the viewing position as voyeuristic; the viewer exercises a controlling gaze: the way tourists look at non-Western worlds, the way men look often at women! – pleasure in looking was constructed around the active male look (Mulvey, 1975)

-          Conclusion

Monday, July 2, 2007

Неспокойни истории

Неспокойни истории

Катя Атанасова


Saturday, June 30, 2007

My Name is Red

My Name is Red

Orhan Pamuk


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Negotiating Italian Identities

Negotiating Italian Identities

Annali d'italianistica, Vol. 24, 2006

Norma Bouchard

Common part in the critical theories with regard to identity is their "understanding of identity as a relational process created in a dynamic exchange within the world and the collectivity within it, and carried by and through symbolic activities." (11)

Roberto M. Dainotto

The European-ness of Italy: Categories and Norms

"In fact, there is one dominant category of Italian culture, it is the oposition of Italian and European. Italians want to be Europeans in the exact measure in which they do not feel they are European enough." (19)

"... the rise of a new racism in Italy is intimately tied with Italy's tormented history of European integration. Immigration, in other words, threatens not only a sense of national identity, but a sense of Italy's belonging to Europe." (22)

"The fear of not being European enough, in other words, became "The Southern Question." (25)

"Before unification, literary historian Cesare Balbo, in Delle speranze d'Italia (1855), had mentioned fundamental differences setting apart Southern from Northern identity, and Costantino Nigra, in Storia letteraria d'Italia (1861), had been perhaps the first to codify such differences in terms of racial identities: Northern Italy belonged to the Celtic and European race, Southern Italy to an Italic one." (26)

"In short, Italy was split in two races: while a perfectly sociable homo europaeus inhabited a happy North, the homo meridionalis, under the yoke of climate and natural factors, threatened to de-Europeanize the country (Teti 154)." (27)

"Being Italian, having that identity, meant therefore to be marked as a patholigy of history, a defect of modernity, a failure of progress, a Giovannino-come-lately in the spectacle of cinsumer society. On the other hand, escaping to Europe meant nothing less than entering history, progress, and modernity. But to do that, Italy had to lose its Southern identity, and become Norther, that is, European." (32)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lovely Bones

Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold

Friday, March 16, 2007

Пиковая Дама

Пиковая Дама

А.С. Пушкин

Thursday, March 8, 2007

People's History of the United States

People's History of the United States

Howard Zinn

Comments: I listened to the last part on the 20-th century. This is his update in the last revised edition. Wonderful work! Great perspective! Zinn deals more with black people, women, and the workers' class, and acknowledges that he presents less the history through the eyes of gay and Hispanic immigrants. Nevertheless, the amplitude and the encompassment of the work is remarkable. Zinn goes beyond the usual historic discourse driven by jingoism, and outlines the last century events in a bitter, judgemental, and resourcefully well-supported manner.

Monday, March 5, 2007



Malcolm Gladwell


Monday, February 26, 2007

The Palace of Dreams

The Palace of Dreams

Ismail Kadare


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Alice Nel Paese Delle Meraviglie

Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie

Lewis Carroll
Introduzione di Attilio Brilli
Traduzione di Tommaso Giglio
Note di Alex Z. Falzon

Il doppio destinario di Alice, Attilio Brilli

Tre dati di fatto rivelati dagli episodi:
La socializzazione di Alice con gli altri e' costatamente inceppata, poiche' essa non impara mai a inserirsi nei loro codici di "predatori" o "predati"; la sua richiesta di identita' rimane costatamente delusa; la stessa norma del "sottosuolo" di far precedere il giudizio alla colpa (con) la sua cieca fede nella punizione teraupetica) non e' mai accetata da Alice. (11)

Crescere e dicrescere sono le fasi di una tattica la cui strategia consiste nel sottrarsi ad ogni ruolo preordinato, compreso lo sviluppo fisico, come ad ogni condizionamento esterno, allo stesso modo in cui la dimensione interiore, atemporale dell'infanzia vanifica nel racconto la scansione cronologica. (11)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

La Bella Figura

La Bella Figura

Beppe Severgnini

Comments: The style of these travel essays with sociological twinge is well-anticipated. It presents the reader with a quirky archeology of Italian stereotypes - once again, Beppe! Severgnini tries to curb even his own Italian chauvinistic urge by levelling his essays with the eye-view of the foreigner, and particularly the American. Not a bad selling technique.
I can't wait to read the Italian reviews though. Let me do it and will be back with more.

Saturday, February 3, 2007



Леонид Андреев

... безумие и ужас.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Fondling Your Muse

Fondling Your Muse

John Warner

Comments: Funny, funny, funny. John Warner has to make a TV show on his writing tips. Or maybe just a podcast. The struggling-to-write audience needs to have a good laugh before they sit in front of the blank screen. Thus, we will finally witness an improved literary contemporary scene. If nothing else at least we will share some good laughs.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Елена Алексиева

Колибри 2006

Коментар: Доста се мъчих да открия защо точно Елена Алексиева и защо точно този сборник събра очите на българското жури. Ще ми трябва още време, през което може да ми се наложи да преговоря сюжети от Библията.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thank You for Not Reading

Thank You for Not Reading

Essays on Literary Trivia

Dubravka Ugresic

Translated by Celia Hawkesworth

Dalkey Archive Press, 2003
Comments: Wonderful, as usually Dobravka Ugresic's prose is. The theme definitely unites the essays but towards the end the idea seems to be a bit too repetitive. The deaf, the blind, and even those who did not read but only heard of her book already know that it is about the vile, unintellectual, money-oriented publishing market of the Western world. Let's not even start spinning the statue of the Eastern European intellectual, let alone the feminine author, because we know that she is going to chew up the Ivana Trumps of the writing world and embrace Nadezhda Mandelstams.