New Publication in The International Journal of the Literary Humanities

 

bigclockL’Art Noir: The Perfidy of Images in Film Noir

by Matt Bennett

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2017, pp.9-14.

Abstract: Amidst the hardboiled detectives, doomed protagonists, and femmes fatales in “films noirs,” works of art often operate as characters in their own right, effecting their own double-crossings. Thus far, the presence of art in the mise-en-scene has remained a largely untapped resource in helping to understand these popular American films of the 1940s and 1950s. In this article, I explore the deployment of art in noir as a duplicitous narrative device, with intentions ranging from confusion through deceit to destruction. Art can function to drive the narrative, but can also serve as a canvas upon which characters can project their own fantasies. Art can also be understood as the product of the sublimated sex drive of artist characters appearing in the films. The capacity of images to conceal the truth is fully taken advantage of in noir, and the perfidy of those images is central to the narrative of many of the films.

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New Publication in The International Journal of the Literary Humanities

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Totem and Tableaux: The Elegiac Photography of Hannah Maynard

by Matt Bennett

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.55-63.

Abstract: Although there is no evidence that Canadian photographer Hannah Maynard (1834–1918) produced post-mortem photographic images in her fifty-year-long career as a portraitist, she did create a kind of recurring elegy to the dead in many of her experimental images. Apparition-like photo-statuary of living subjects posed in typical Victorian allegories of death appear frequently in her work. She also created complex multiple exposures, some of which include purposefully placed portraits of dead family members, photographed in life. Maynard’s images, employing techniques of collage and “re-photography,” work to level distinctions between the living and dead.