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Another Habitat for the Muses: The Poetic Investigations of Mexican Film Criticism, 1896-1968

Pruneda Senties, Felipe (2018) Another Habitat for the Muses: The Poetic Investigations of Mexican Film Criticism, 1896-1968. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation delineates a tradition of writing on cinema in Mexico from the earliest years of the medium to the publication of the first comprehensive history of Mexican film. The works gathered here cover moments like the founding of Mexico’s first film society, first film journal and first film school. They form a tradition that finds in cinema the inspiration to experiment with narrative and language, and therefore contains concepts from which theories about cinema’s activation of creative thinking can be formulated. They propose an approach to cinema study that inhabits the unpredictable, accidental and improvisational aspects of knowledge through their
commitment to offering aesthetic experiences. I call it a tradition of poetic investigations, which take the form of texts that belong to literary genres, such as the chronicle, the short story, the novel and the essay.
In those texts, the writers assay conceptions of the moving image that make it ideal to spark imagination and learning: early chroniclers like Amado Nervo and José Juan Tablada speak of the image as a ghost, tying its indeterminacy to an enigmatic dimension that only
inventiveness can access; cinephile critics Salvador Elizondo and Jomí García Ascot latch onto cinema’s eroticism and foreignness, respectively, to mine oceanic feelings for ideas for their written and cinematic works; professor José Revueltas turned to fiction and the essay to think of the image as a monstrous wonder that instructed through awe; and fellow scholar Jorge Ayala
Blanco found his literary voice in poetic criticism, practicing a form of imperfect ekphrasis that saw in the ways words and images depart from one another a site of productive, insightful verbal play. These writers exercise an ecological understanding of images, which become causal elements of the world instead of secondary reflections of referents. Because they promote the proliferation of concepts rather than their fixation, and because they argue for the viewer to open up to the images rather than master them, poetic investigations advocate for a non-colonial form of knowledge production that can enter in productive dialogue with the current canon of academic cinema studies.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pruneda Senties, Felipefprunedasenties@gmail.comfep3
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLandy,
Committee MemberMajumdar,
Committee MemberLowenstein,
Committee MemberLund,
Date: 31 January 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 11 October 2017
Approval Date: 31 January 2018
Submission Date: 1 December 2017
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 354
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Film Criticism, Transnational Cinema, Mexican Literature, Ekphrasis, Spectrality, Creative Ecology
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2018 18:39
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2023 06:15


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