My current work in progress is tentatively titled Shifting Frames: The Re-Mediation of Painting within Narrative Cinema. It starts out from the great film theorist André Bazin’s essay “Painting in Cinema”: Bazin initially argues that painting and cinema are incompatible, that filmed painting betrays the art to which it does homage. But then in a dialectical turn, Bazin reverses course, arguing that “to the extent that a film is a complete work, and as such seems therefore to betray the painting most, it renders it in reality the greater service.” I am not developing a thematic approach to painting within cinema as some excellent film scholars have attempted to do, such as Angela dalle Vacche, for whom painting is “the realm of high art, creativity and femininity, setting it against popular culture or industrial technology”; or Brigitte Peucker, for whom painting within film “figures sexuality and death.” Instead I am working on a rhetorical and ethical analysis, based on the general narrative theories of Wayne Booth and James Phelan, of how art-historical paintings get into films and how films use them to tell stories. The topics are primarily concerned with thematization and prolepsis, the way paintings point our attention to what the film is about, direct our ethical judgments, and predict where the story is going; about emplotted paintings: film narratives that use paintings as stand-ins for characters, as agents in their own right, and as lifeworlds inside of which the narrative takes place; and finally about paintings within films that can teach us to see each other and–at times–even ourselves.
My teaching interests are (1) literary theory, especially theory of narrative; (2) literature of the “long eighteenth century” (1660-1832), particularly the novel; (3) narrative, with special interests in Biblical narrative, the rise of the novel in the eighteenth century, film narrative (both fictional and nonfictional), and issues pertaining to the adaptation of narrative texts across media (e.g., fiction into film or graphic novel).
The following is a list of selected publications.
Reading the Eighteenth-Century Novel. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 2017.
The Blackwell Companion to Literary Theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell forthcoming 2018.
Fable’s End: Completeness and Closure in Rhetorical Fiction. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1974.
Narrative / Theory. White Plains, NY: Longman, 1996.
The Progress of Romance: Literary Historiography and the Gothic Novel. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1996.
Ideology and Form in Eighteenth-Century Literature. Lubbock:Texas Tech University Press, 1999.
Falling into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature. Boston: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2/e, 2000.
The Critical Tradition: Classical Texts and ContemporaryTrends. Boston: Bedford St. Martin’s, 3/e 2006.
Fact, Fiction and Form: Essays of Ralph Rader (ed., withJames Phelan). Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2011
Selected Recent (last 15 years) Articles and Book Chapters
“Midrash and Mashal: Difficulty in the Blessing of Esau.” Narrative 5 (October 1996): 253-264.
“A Name by Any Other Rose: Umberto Eco and the Semiotics of Detection.” Reading Eco, ed. Rocco Paluzzi (Bloomington:Indiana University Press, 1996), 227-47. Reprinted in Contemporary Literary Criticism (Gale Cengage: 2008).
“Farewell My Concubine: The Difficult, the Stubborn,and the Outrage of Gibeah.” Agendas for Midrash Study in the 21st Century, ed. Marc Lee Raphael (Williamsburg, VA: William and Mary Press, 1999) 101-122.
“Narrativity and Stasis in Martin Rowson’s TristramShandy,” The Shandean 11 (1999-2000): 70-91.
“Monument or Tombstone,” Narrative 9, iii (October 2001) 346-351.
“Your Cheatin’ Art: Double Dealing in Cinematic Narrative.” Narrative 13:1 (January 2005): 11-28.
“Genre, Repetition, Temporal Ordering: Some Aspects ofBiblical Narratology,” The Blackwell Companion to Narrative Theory, ed. James Phelan and Peter Rabinowitz (New York and London: Blackwell, 2005), 285-98.Reprinted, translated into Mandarin, Beijing: Peking University Press, 2008.
“Keeping Company in Hollywood: Toward an Ethics of theNon-fiction Film,” in Narrative, 15:2 (May 2007): 140-66.
“Robert Alter and The Resistance to Theory” Expositions, 2:2 (2008): 213-222.
“The Literary-Theoretical Contribution of Ralph W. Rader,” with James Phelan. Narrative 18:1 (January 2010), 73-90.
“The Chicago School.” The Wylie-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, ed. Gregory Castle et al.New York and London: Blackwell, 2010, 108-118.
“The Novel,” in The Classical Tradition, ed. Anthony Grafton, et al (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2010), 641-643.
“The Gothic Novel,” in The Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth-Century Fiction, ed. Alan Downey (New York and London: Oxford UP, forthcoming 2011.
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