Heans, Anne (1984) A reconsideration of the concept of authorship in film theory: an analysis of the films of Robert Altman, 1969-1975. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

Notions of personal authorship were of crucial importance in the development of a critical response to film as a specific signifying practice. Initially author based criticism (auteurism) was radical and polemical, but in other fields the humanist notion of Man on which the concept of authorship was founded was coming under increasing attack. The principal challenge came from the sciences of semiotics and psychoanalysis which together produced an irresistable refutation of the undertsanding of language as a product of the imagination by means of an attack on the notion of the unified subject. This challenge opened the way for a new approach to textual meaning as a process of articulation and address between subject and language.
This approach was very influential in producing new theoretical insights to film, in particular the modernist text, in which the author does not function as origin/centre of the text, but as an effect of the operation of its laguage. However, it has proved difficult for film theory to rid itself of the traditional concept of the author. The problem is that in treating the author as an affect, there has been a failure to situate it theoretically, and most importantly to explain how it is taken up and used in reading. There has been a corresponding neglect of the author's legal and economic status.
Six films by Robert Altman are analysed. The author is considered as a fictional figure constructed by the interaction of the narrative and discursive modes of address, and by the patterns of repetition and difference in the text. Consideration is also given to the way the author operates as a source of pleasure and intelligibility in reading. Finally an historical overview is offered of changes in the film industry which have encouraged a rhetoric of personal authorship, whilst ensuring that property rights in film remain vested in capital.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: For access to the hard copy thesis, check the University Library catalogue.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Criminology and Sociology
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2019 10:02
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2019 10:02
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/7218

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