Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought

Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought

Martin Jay / Apr 19, 2019

Downcast Eyes The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth Century French Thought Long considered the noblest of the senses vision has increasingly come under critical scrutiny by a wide range of thinkers who question its dominance in Western culture These critics of vision espec

  • Title: Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought
  • Author: Martin Jay
  • ISBN: 9780520088856
  • Page: 341
  • Format: Paperback
  • Long considered the noblest of the senses, vision has increasingly come under critical scrutiny by a wide range of thinkers who question its dominance in Western culture These critics of vision, especially prominent in twentieth century France, have challenged its allegedly superior capacity to provide access to the world They have also criticized its supposed compliciLong considered the noblest of the senses, vision has increasingly come under critical scrutiny by a wide range of thinkers who question its dominance in Western culture These critics of vision, especially prominent in twentieth century France, have challenged its allegedly superior capacity to provide access to the world They have also criticized its supposed complicity with political and social oppression through the promulgation of spectacle and surveillance.Martin Jay turns to this discourse surrounding vision and explores its often contradictory implications in the work of such influential figures as Jean Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau Ponty, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser, Guy Debord, Luce Irigaray, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida Jay begins with a discussion of the theory of vision from Plato to Descartes, then considers its role in the French Enlightenment before turning to its status in the culture of modernity From consideration of French Impressionism to analysis of Georges Bataille and the Surrealists, Roland Barthes s writings on photography, and the film theory of Christian Metz, Jay provides lucid and fair minded accounts of thinkers and ideas widely known for their difficulty.His book examines the myriad links between the interrogation of vision and the pervasive antihumanist, antimodernist, and counter enlightenment tenor of much recent French thought Refusing, however, to defend the dominant visual order, he calls instead for a plurality of scopic regimes Certain to generate controversy and discussion throughout the humanities and social sciences, Downcast Eyes will consolidate Jay s reputation as one of today s premier cultural and intellectual historians.

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    • Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought By Martin Jay
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    About "Martin Jay"

      • Martin Jay

        Martin Jay Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought book, this is one of the most wanted Martin Jay author readers around the world.


    869 Comments

    1. Martin Jay is one of my favorite intellectual historians and this is the first book of his I read, though definitely not his last. Here he takes on the history of truth as representation and examines the implications for philosophy when visual representation is no longer privelaged. An accessible book and very much worth reading.


    2. Jay explores the evolution of our perspectives of vision, showing how the eye both as sense and trope shapes our understanding of the world and of truth. He argues that the eye was the preeminent sense from Descartes through the Enlightenment, and that its reliability finally collapsed with the modernist era. Jay is careful not to overstate his case and repeatedly tempers his argument with contrary evidence. Along the way, he takes us from the Greeks to the post-modernists, and provides extraord [...]


    3. Nowadays the word "Marxist" has a certain quaintness to it, like it belongs to the same family as "horticulturalist" or "futurist". It is hard to realize that it used to have cachet to generations of serious thinkers and artists. It was one of the streams that deeply influenced cultural critics like the Walter Benjamin, Adorno, and the Frankfurt School. But it seems so 20th century, like something you have to dust off after rummaging around in the back of your garage.Professor Jay was one of my [...]


    4. Worth it just for the first few chapters alone - which provide a thorough overview of visualism in Western thought from the pre-Socratics up to the 20th century. From Descartes onwards Jay focuses mainly on French thinkers, fair enough considering the aims of his work. My only complaint is that some of the latter chapters are overlong, and despite their length, don't do a particularly good job of explaining the topic at hand - okay, really I'm just thinking of the chapter on Lyotard. Still, as w [...]


    5. reads post-war continental philosophy through the tropology of the oculus. actually a very fertile, considering how rhetorics of the visual mediate references to mental processes. See what I mean?Ends up with nifty little observations, e.g whereas phallocentrism is cockocracy and phallogocentrism is cocktalkocracy, phallogoculocentrism is cocktalkgawkococracy, or so.


    6. For me this was a page turner. Some topics were basically completely new (Bataille, the development of French film theory), I gained new appreciation for figures I never had much interest in (Lyotard) and learn fascinating tidbits about others I had read for years (Foucault, Bergson). I'm sure I'll return to this for years to come.



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