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Lecture

Women Writers, Nov. 20

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School
McMaster University
Department
English
Course
ENGLISH 2K06
Professor
Grace Kehler
Semester
Fall

Description
November 20 The “I” and the “Eye” - Sight as knowledge. o Unitary knowing self. o Vision was thought of as having precedence over other senses, but posed as potic metaphors – insight, not merely a factual recording of the external world, but also the ability to perceive and interpret it. o Traditionally there is a space between the seer and the seen; the seer accompanied by the quality of objectivity, seeing with neutrality. o Sight is also a meaning maker, perception and sight constitute the knowing, or a knowledgeable state. o The eye has also been elevated in painting, claiming authority as the creater, view and purveyor of the cosmos, the reality of the painter. o Medicine: looking at the body of the patient, pronouncing on it, but also the visual granted importance as the camera became a tool, and were able to make permanent records of ill bodies. – presented as the height of neutral vision.  Clear picture of what the 19 century viewed as the degenerate. o In feminism, the eye is seen as that of authority, interpreted through the concept of the male gaze. - The Eye in Hinduism and Kahlo o The third eye primarily a designation of wisdom and that which is interior. The third eye of Shiva can also be turned outwardly to burn and scorch.  Kahlo links the third eye and Diego often. - Kahlo and the Eye, Gaze and Seeing. - Self Portrain with Necklace of Thorns, My nurse and I and Frida on White Bench (Nickolas Muray). o Bold frontal gaze, largely unflinching, commanding gaze, looking out at the viewer, seemingly asking something of the viewer – not passive at all. o Guarded expression, giving little away so far as what she may be experiencing, only expressing self-possession, consistently throughout her paintings. o Vision and Selfhood: slef composition of Kahlo as martyr, mother, infant, theatrical and deeply visual and colourful representation of the body in pain. The engendering of the self that is deeply reflexive, within the image and knowingly as an image – calling attention to the self, always the same, the surrounding are always different and asking to view Kahlo as the creator and as the image.  Her attempt to overcome the fragility of her body through the creation of her persona. The strategy is always about the creation of the self, the making of the image and self simultaneously. For Kahlo, as a woman suffering accidents and sickness necessitating surgery, corsets, hangings, the maimed or disabled body can take for granted the body.  An assertion of self in the moment of possible negation. o By making herself the subject of her own paintings, she becomes the seer and seen, object and subject and occupying a world of multiple gazes and views. - The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Myself, Diego, and Senior Xolotl. o Multiplicities of the self – the visibility of the dark and light juxtaposition. Also the way all figures interact, as stacked, holding each other. o A construction of the universe at a particular moment in time; in which a chain of nurturing occurs. o The rendering of the internal and external as like, not identical, but similar. o Sight as multiply rendered, that what one sees is ultimately also coming out of the experiential, not simply the all knowing eye. Sight is also in part mediated.
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