Images of Idiocy: The Idiot Figure in Modern Fiction and Film

Images of Idiocy: The Idiot Figure in Modern Fiction and Film

By: Martin Halliwell (author)Hardback

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This book traces the concept of idiocy as it has developed in fiction and film in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It focuses particularly on visual images of idiocy and argues that writers as diverse as Gustave Flaubert, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Joseph Conrad, John Steinbeck, Flannery O'Connor and Rohinton Mistry, and filmmakers such as Jean Renoir, Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock, Werner Herzog and John Huston have all been attracted to idiot figures as a way of thinking through issues of language acquisition, intelligence, creativity, disability, religion and social identity. Martin Halliwell provides a lively and detailed discussion of the most significant literary and cinematic uses of idiocy, arguing that scientific conceptions of the term as a classifiable medical condition are much too narrow. With the explosion of interest in idiocy among American and European filmmakers in the 1990s and the growing interest in its often overlooked history, this book offers a timely reassessment of idiocy and its distinctive place at the intersection of science and culture.

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About Author

Martin Halliwell is Senior Lecturer in English and American Studies at the University of Leicester. He is the author of Romantic Science and the Experience of Self (Ashgate 1999) and Modernism and Morality (Palgrave 2001) and is co-author of Critical Humanisms (Edinburgh University Press, 2003).


Contents: Introduction: idiocy and cultural representation; Idiocy in the 19th Century: Romantic and Victorian idiots; Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert and Jean Renoir); The Idiot (Fyodor Dostoevsky and Akira Kurosawa); Idiocy and Modernism: The Secret Agent (Joseph Conrad and Alfred Hitchcock); Kaspar Hauser (Jakob Wassermann and Werner Herzog); Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck and Lewis Milestone); Idiocy after World War II: Wise Blood (Flannery O'Connor and John Huston); Waterland (Graham Swift and Stephen Gyllenhaal); Such a Long Journey (Rohinton Mistry and Sturla Gunnarsson); Conclusion: idiocy in contemporary film; Filmography; Bibliography; Index.

Product Details

  • publication date: 28/01/2004
  • ISBN13: 9780754602651
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 280
  • ID: 9780754602651
  • weight: 519
  • ISBN10: 0754602656

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