Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Screened Anxieties: Affect and Temporality in The Birth of a Nation

Screened Anxieties: Affect and Temporality in The Birth of a Nation This essay examines attitudes toward the future in D. W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation, focusing in particular on the opposed emotions hope and fear. In doing so, it establishes critical connections between the film's aesthetic philosophy – which is marked by an attempt to control its characters, its audience, and even history itself – and the film's troubling and much-discussed racial politics. Griffith's stated beliefs in the ability of cinema to fully capture the past and in turn to dictate to its audience the terms of the future, manifest themselves everywhere in The Birth of a Nation not only thematically but formally. However, the film sets an impossible task for itself, and where it falls short, its own hopes and fears become dramatically visible. This failure indicates that The Birth of a Nation is ultimately imbricated in the modernist episteme of uncertainty it works to deny and disavow. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Screened Anxieties: Affect and Temporality in The Birth of a Nation

Modernist Cultures , Volume 14 (2): 22 – May 1, 2019

Loading next page...
 
/lp/edinburgh-university-press/screened-anxieties-affect-and-temporality-in-the-birth-of-a-nation-9NAe0U7MG5
Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2019.0247
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This essay examines attitudes toward the future in D. W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation, focusing in particular on the opposed emotions hope and fear. In doing so, it establishes critical connections between the film's aesthetic philosophy – which is marked by an attempt to control its characters, its audience, and even history itself – and the film's troubling and much-discussed racial politics. Griffith's stated beliefs in the ability of cinema to fully capture the past and in turn to dictate to its audience the terms of the future, manifest themselves everywhere in The Birth of a Nation not only thematically but formally. However, the film sets an impossible task for itself, and where it falls short, its own hopes and fears become dramatically visible. This failure indicates that The Birth of a Nation is ultimately imbricated in the modernist episteme of uncertainty it works to deny and disavow.

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: May 1, 2019

There are no references for this article.