Cover image for Hitchcock's bi-textuality : Lacan, feminisms, and queer theory
Hitchcock's bi-textuality : Lacan, feminisms, and queer theory
Samuels, Robert, 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Albany : State University of New York Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
ix, 166 pages ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.3.H58 S26 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Uses close readings of Hitchcock's films to combine an articulation of Lacan's theory of ethics with a discussion of recent theories of feminine subjectivity and queer textuality.

Author Notes

Robert Samuels is Assistant Professor of English at George Washington University. He is the author of Between Philosophy and Psychoanalysis: Lacan's Reconstruction of Freud, and he has worked as a psychoanalyst.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Departing from the "wrong man" motif common to Hitchcock studies, Samuels (George Washington Univ.) traces the "vanishing woman" motif through nine films: The Lady Vanishes, Spellbound, Rebecca, Notorious, Vertigo, Marnie, Rear Window, The Birds, and Psycho. Not one to shrink from complex theoretical frameworks, the author employs Lacan's theory of ethics to explore a "bisexual subjectivity" in the films, tracing the struggle over which principle prevails in a given film--the masculine or feminine--by examining its psychosexual dynamics. He leaves Psycho for his epilogue, since the vanishing woman (Norman's mother) reappears in the body of her psychotic son, thus reversing the motif. Unlike some theorists, Samuels does close readings of films, engaging feminist critics (including Kristeva, J. Butler, Irigiray, and Mulvey) as appropriate. As a result this richly suggestive treatment moves light years beyond the reductive stereotype that Hitchcock was a misogynist and homophobe. To get to a deeper level of film analysis, Samuels cannily posits a visual "counter-text" to a film's "dialogue and narrative plot," locating a "visual bi-textual discourse" in an ostensibly "straight heterosexual narrative" like Rear Window (in which James Stewart prefers to stare in fascination at Raymond Burr than make love to Grace Kelly). In every respect a remarkable, groundbreaking book recommended to all advanced students and scholars of Hitchcock. Graduate and professional level. M. J. Emery Cottey College