Peter Larsen, Bergen University
The following essay discusses how metaphor and related rhetorical issues have been handled within film theory, one of the younger humanist disciplines. But let me start with a brief outline of the process that transformed the old rhetoric into its modern, restrained counterpart.
Peter Larsen (2011) remarks
”From Figure to Figuration” started as a contribution to a series of lectures organized in 1993 by the Centre for European Cultural Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. The aim of the series was to discuss the present status of rhetoric in contemporary humanities. While participants from traditional humanities disciplines could discuss rhetoric in relation to central scholars or to central controversies within the field, I had to acknowledge that there is no long rhetorical tradition in film studies, and that the ”rhetoric” film scholars talk about from time to time, is a rhetoric of the kind Genette discussed in his seminal article on ”The Restrained Rhetoric”. In my lecture I argued that the impact of semiotics on film studies in the 1970s and the following import of Roman Jakobson’s semiotized rhetoric was the most important reason for this state of affairs. My lecture was later printed in a collection published by the Centre, and finally an expanded version, ”From Figure to Figuration”, was published in Rhetorica Scandinavica in 1997.
About this article
- Part of: Scandinavian Studies in Rhetoric. Rhetorica Scandinavica 1997-2010, Kjeldsen & Grue (eds.), Retorikförlaget Publishers 2011.
- Article pp 250–265
- Original Danish: ”Fra figur til figurering. Om film & retorik”, Rhetorica Scandinavica 1 (1997).
About Peter Larsen
Peter Larsen is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Bergen.