Wednesday, February 23, 2011

James Chandler on Sentimentality (Rutgers)

The Rutgers British Studies Center presents

James Chandler
"Sight Lines and Sentiment: Schiller, Shaftesbury, Sterne, Cinema"

Thursday, March 3, 2011
4:30 pm

Teleconference Lecture Hall
Alexander Library
169 College Avenue
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Griffith and Capra—filmmakers strongly associated, respectively, with two important moments in the classical system of narration in Hollywood (1910s silent film and 1930s talkies)—have long been casually called “sentimental.” But when Eisenstein famously argued that one couldn’t understand the cinema of Griffith and his disciples without coming to terms with Dickens,
he programmatically refused to concern himself with the sentimentalism of the connection, arguing instead for a particular genealogy of montage that he saw leading to his own practice and that of other Soviet filmmakers. Professor Chandler’s aim is to take seriously the complex legacy of the sentimental to classical Hollywood cinema, by going back not just to what is sentimental Dickens but to the eighteenth-century emergence of the category: especially to how the sentimental constructs spectators, articulates space, redeems the concept of the soul from materialist challenges, and negotiates canons of probability.

Prof. Chandler will be introduced by Michael McKeon of the Department of English. A reception will follow the lecture.

James Chandler is the Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of English at the University of Chicago, where he is the Director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities and Co-Director of the Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture. Prof. Chandler is the author of Wordsworth’s Second Nature: A Study of the Poetry and Politics (1984), England in 1819: The Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism (1998), and the forthcoming The Sentimental Mood: From Sterne to Capra. Prof. Chandler also has edited or co-edited Questions of Evidence: Proof, Practice, and Persuasion Across the Disciplines (1994), Romantic Metropolis: The Urban Scene in British Romanticism, 1780-1840 (2005), The Cambridge Companion to Romantic Poetry (2008), and The New Cambridge History of English Romantic Literature (2008).

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