Students Staff

03 March 2014

New book investigates how cinema changed the way we think, read and even write

A new book edited by Essex academics looks at how the development of cinema has influenced the way we think about and perceive the world.

Dr Karin Littau and Dr Jeffrey Geiger from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies officially launch their new book Cinematicity in Media History at the University this week.

Initially conceived as part of a successful conference at the University of Essex the collection looks at the broader histories and implications of "filmic" ways of representing and experiencing the world.

The book includes essays drawn from the papers presented by the numerous leading thinkers at the conference combined with newly commissioned essays from renowned scholars.

Dr Littau said the focus of the collection is on how the development of cinema, including the technologies that preceded it and those following in its wake, “influence the way in which we not only think, but also the way in which we write and read”. She said it responded to Friedrich Nietzche’s comment “our writing tools also work on our thoughts”.

Dr Geiger said: ”We're interested in the way that film in the age of the so-called death of cinema has an afterlife in the world of computer gaming, digital cinema, television, other arts and other media - in the very thought process itself. This doesn't just mean how people thought and perceived the world in the classic cinema age of the 20th century, but how we have inherited modes of cinematic perception in the 21st century.

“Film is no longer limited to the traditional idea of celluloid projected on a screen in front of an audience. We watch films on mobile phones and computers and we stream video on devices. This book is geared to how those forms of viewing are still in a sense cinematic.”

They are keen to insert the idea of cinematicity into a broader framework. “One in which we are not just thinking of cinema on its own terms but cinema in media history,” said Dr Geiger.”

Cinematicity in Media History is distributed by the Edinburgh University Press in the UK, and by Oxford University Press USA in North and South America.

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