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Brian Price (Visual Studies, University of Toronto)

Sep 16, 2016 @ 3:30 pm

Regret and Remake

This talk is concerned with the productivity of regret, especially as the experience of regret can be understood as a particular way of saying yes. That is to say, if we feel regret about something that has occurred—where we might otherwise feel rage, or else be caught up in a melancholic state—then we have a chance of saying yes to what we have already said no to at least once before.

More specifically, it will be argued that regret bears an important relation to the will and to creativity, where other conceptions of will and creativity depend on related, if also potentially contradictory, notions of melancholia and genius. As a mode of creativity, regret is importantly related to geniality, to an ability to see the same thing in more than one way.

The talk, then, will take up questions of the remake and adaptation precisely as a way of understanding the way that, as a cultural form, the cinematic remake has much to tell us about the productivity of regret in realms that extend well beyond the creation of works of art. For one, remakes indicate how it is that we can begin to tell apart non-voluntary relations from involuntary ones—how it is, in other words, that we can begin to clarify for ourselves what a proper use of the will might be, if by “proper” we simply mean a moment or event that we now recognize in terms of its contingency where once we could only regard it as necessary, and thus beyond the reach of human intervention. At the heart of the discussion will be a consideration of Tay Garnett’s 1946 adaptation of James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice—a landmark text of regret.

Brown bag lunch discussion

Friday, September 16
12 noon Curtin 939
Reading: Brian Price, “Introduction,” Theory of Regret (PDF)

Brian Price is associate professor of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Neither God Nor Master: Robert Bresson & Radical Politics (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). He is co-editor of two anthologies, On Michael Haneke (Wayne State University Press, 2010) and Color, the Film Reader (Routledge, 2006), and is a founding co-editor of World Picture. His forthcoming book is A Theory of Regret (Duke University Press)


Sep 16, 2016
3:30 pm
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Curtin 118
3243 N Downer Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211 United States
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