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Camera Obscura


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About the Author

SARAH KOFMAN held the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Paris I. Among her numerous books are Socrates: Fictions of a Philosopher and The Enigma of Woman: Woman in Freud's Writings, both published by Cornell. WILL STRAW is Associate Professor in the Graduate Program in Communications at McGill University.


"The first English translation of Camera Obscura, de l'ideology (originally published in Paris in 1973), Kofman discusses the use of the image of the camera obscura in the work of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche...Kofman provides an insightful look at Marx's use of the idea of inversion-as this is supposed to occur both in a camera obscura and in ideology. She interprets Marx to hold that religion is not only a form of ideology, but 'the form of every ideology.' Kofman draws useful connections among Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche, who all draw attention to something-ideology or the unconscious or perspective-as a powerful (but often unrecognized) part of human life."-Choice, November 1999, Vol. 37, No. 3 "Sarah Kofman's book is a focused and tightly argued discussion of the camera obscura-and the visual more generally-in learned and well-crafted essays that present a sustained critique of metaphor and ideologies. Her discussion of the omnipotent ocular is conducted in part to understand the role played by ideology and metaphor in warding off the horror of castration, in part to show that this same structure also functions as an ambiguous remedy."-Nicole Fermon, Fordham University

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