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Transfigurations: Violence, Death and Masculinity in American Cinema

Asbjørn Grønstad's new publication Transfigurations: Violence, Death and Masculinity in American Cinema explores our cultural obsession with film violence and brings it into a renewed dialogue with contemporary theory. The book alters both our methodology of reading violence in films and the meanings we assign to them.


Asbjørn Grønstad is professor at Department of Information Science and Media Studies - UiB

ISBN 978-90-8964-030-7   -   Amsterdam University Press

In many senses, viewers have cut their teeth on the violence in American cinema: from Anthony Perkins slashing Janet Leigh in the most infamous of shower scenes; to the 1970s masterpieces of Martin Scorsese, Sam Peckinpah and Francis Ford Coppola; to our present-day undertakings in imagining global annihilations through terrorism, war, and alien grudges. Transfigurations brings our cultural obsession with film violence into a renewed dialogue with contemporary theory. Grønstad argues that the use of violence in Hollywood films should be understood semiotically rather than viewed realistically; Tranfigurations thus alters both our methodology of reading violence in films and the meanings we assign to them, depicting violence not as a self-contained incident, but as a convoluted network of our own cultural ideologies and beliefs.