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The Aesthetic Appeal of Cognitive Challenge in Film, Television and Literature
Edited by Steven Willemsen and Miklós Kiss
408 pages, 39 illus., 7 tables, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-80073-591-0 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (August 2022)
eISBN 978-1-80073-592-7 eBook
“Puzzle films have often been thought to be marginal and eccentric parts of our media landscape. But they stand revealed in this diverse collection as important prototypes for wide-ranging innovation in cinema and television. These ingenious and lively essays harvest the insights of recent work on puzzling narratives to show that contradiction, anomaly, and impossibility have been central to screen storytelling for decades. From The Philadelphia Story through 8 ½ and the work of Godard, up to Twin Peaks’ hallucinatory third season and other instances of complex TV, the authors show that rigorous reflection on puzzle films can illuminate central questions of narrative construction and reception.” • David Bordwell, University of Wisconsin--Madison
Many films and novels defy our ability to make sense of the plot. While puzzling storytelling, strange incongruities, inviting enigmas and persistent ambiguities have been central to the effects of many literary and cinematic traditions, a great deal of contemporary films and television series bring such qualities to the mainstream—but wherein lies the attractiveness of perplexing works of fiction? This collected volume offers the first comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and trans-medial approach to the question of cognitive challenge in narrative art, bringing together psychological, philosophical, formal-historical, and empirical perspectives from leading scholars across these fields.
Steven Willemsen is Assistant Professor in Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Groningen and Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt. He is co-author of Impossible Puzzle Films: A Cognitive Approach to Contemporary Complex Cinema (with Miklós Kiss, Edinburgh University Press, 2017).
Miklós Kiss is Associate Professor of Audiovisual Arts and Cognition and Chair of the Arts, Culture and Media department at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. His research intersects the fields of narrative and cognitive film studies. He is co-author of the books Film Studies in Motion: from Audiovisual Essay to Academic Research Video (with Thomas van den Berg, Scalar, 2016) and Impossible Puzzle Films: A Cognitive Approach to Contemporary Complex Cinema (with Steven Willemsen, Edinburgh University Press, 2017).
Subject: Film and Television StudiesCultural Studies (General)Sociology
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