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Literature, Cinema and Politics 1930-1945Reading Between the Frames$
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Lara Feigel

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748639502

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639502.001.0001

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Camera Consciousness

Camera Consciousness

(p.122) Chapter 4 Camera Consciousness
Literature, Cinema and Politics 1930-1945

Lara Feigel

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the 1930s experiments with camera consciousness. Christopher Isherwood has Edward Upward's tutor's capacity to magnify and distort objects. The hyperreality of 1930s Germany is made explicit by Stephen Spender in his 1951 autobiography. In Spender's account, the party is not merely unreal because it is filmed. Louis MacNeice's former Birmingham student Walter Allen shared the poet's fear that the ghostly, nightmarish aspects of cinema were rendering experience unreal. Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square is an account of life in the seedier parts of London and Brighton in the lead-up to war. Joris Ivens depicted the civilians' and soldiers' struggle to survive in The Spanish Earth. Robert Capa's controversial Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death or The Falling Soldier typify the hyperreal aspect of the Spanish Civil War. Like Albert Speer's chimeric buildings, which reconstitute architecture as light, the political itself has been redefined in terms of cinema.

Keywords:   camera consciousness, Christopher Isherwood, Edward Upward, Stephen Spender, Walter Allen, Patrick Hamilton, Joris Ivens, Robert Capa, Louis MacNeice, cinema

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