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"…pure existence, without sense…": Joan Copjec, Hitchcock’s Rebecca, and reading the real

Cocks, N. (2023) "…pure existence, without sense…": Joan Copjec, Hitchcock’s Rebecca, and reading the real. Textual Practice. ISSN 1470-1308

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/0950236X.2023.2214122


In 2001, Slavoj Žižek made the surprising suggestion that Lacanians were missing from contemporary Film criticism. The surprise arose from the consensus amongst ‘Post-Theorist’ scholars that Lacanians were unduly dominant. For Žižek, however, the Screen theorists who popularised Lacanian approaches to Film misconstrue his work, and to correct this a return to the ‘Late Lacan’ of ‘the Real’ is required. This article suggests that due to the success of Žižek’s arguments, the only missing Lacanians in 2022 are those he originally dismissed. Taking as its focus the work of Joan Copjec - Žižek’s fellow traveller in Theory- and her 1994 reading of a scene from Hitchcock’s Rebecca, it suggests that difficulties arising within the analysis of the real might be productively engaged through a critical return to issues of interest to Screen theory. Copjec’s insistence that Rebecca offers an encounter with the real is countered through a reading of the return of symbolic structures to a point of seemingly pure existence: according to the argument offered here, textuality is repressed with Copjec’s reading of the scene, rather than having no place within it.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Identities
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures (CFAC)
ID Code:111711
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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