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Disaster Cinema in Historical Perspective: Mediations of the Sublime
by Nikita Mathias
Amsterdam University Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-90-485-5000-5

ABOUT THIS BOOK | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
How do we experience disaster films in cinema? And where does disaster cinema come from? The two questions are more closely related than one might initially think. For the framework of the cinematic experience of natural disasters has its roots in the mid-eighteenth century when the aesthetic category of the sublime was re-established as the primary mode for appreciating nature's violent forces. In this book, the sublime is understood as a complex and culturally specific meeting point between philosophical thought, artistic creation, social and technical development, and popular imagination. On the one hand, the sublime provides a receptive model to uncover how cinematic disaster depictions affect our senses, bodies and minds. On the other hand, this experiential framework of disaster cinema is only one of the most recent agents within the historical trajectory of sublime disasters, which is traced in this book among a broad range of media: from landscape and history painting to a variety of pictorial devices like Eidophusikon, Panorama, Diorama, and, finally, cinema.

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