Reification and visual fascination in Flaubert, Zola, Perec and Godard
In the industrialized West we inhabit a highly visual environment saturated with myriad material and “lifestyle” commodities promising each of us more happiness, pleasure, individuality, love and beauty, etc., if we will only hear their call, and make their purchase. This project analyzes how these things have come to signify for us over the course of the last two centuries, and how we have learned to consume those meanings. I argue that philosophical and subjective revolutions taking place just before and within Romanticism coincided with market imperatives arising during the Industrial Revolution, which created a new kind of idealistic, highly visual and aestheticized relationship to fetishized goods. This relationship is now based upon the exchange values of commodities, affects our relationship with the entire material and social environment, and diminishes both our subjective differences and our understanding of the physical, material qualities of things. Two French novels of the nineteenth century, and one French novel and film from the twentieth century, are studied for the ways in which they account for, exemplify, and critique these changes.
School:The Ohio State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:reification idealism romanticism visual fascination flaubert zola perec godard
Date of Publication:01/01/2004