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A Reader

Edited by:

December 2006 | 352 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Images: A Reader provides a key resource for students, academics, practitioners and other readers engaged in the critical, theoretical and practical study of images. The Reader is concerned with the notion of the 'image' in all its theoretical, critical and practical contexts, uses and history. The Reader provides a map of the differences and similarities between the various disciplinary approaches to images, breaking the ground for a new interdisciplinary study of images, in the arts and humanities and beyond.


Images: A Reader is divided into three parts:


Historical and Philosophical Precedents sets the background for contemporary debates about images.

Theories of Images provides key texts of the major approaches through which images are conceptualised.

Image Culture introduces some of the more recent debates about images and today's visual environment.


The selection of over 80 key readings, across the domains of philosophy, art, literature, science, critical theory and cultural studies tells the story of images through intellectual history from the Bible to the present. By including both well-established writings and more recent, innovative research, the Reader outlines crucial developments in contemporary discourses about images.


Part One: Historical and Philosophical Precedents
Genesis to Locke
Man Created in God's Image
Genesis 2: 26 and 27
Graven Images
Exodus 20: 4-6
Abraham and the Idol Shop of his Father Terah
Midrash Rabbah
The Simile of the Cave
Art and Illusion
The Origins of Imitation
Thinking with Images
Iconodules and Iconoclasts in Byzantium
John of Damascus
Horos at Nicaea, 787 A.D.
Horos at Niera, 754 A.D.
Image and Idolatry
Thomas Hobbes
Evil Demon
René Descartes
Images and the Brain
René Descartes
Of Ideas
John Locke
Kant to Freud
Representation and Imagination
Immanuel Kant
Space and Time
Gotthold Lessing
Camera Obscura
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof
Karl Marx
How the Real World at Last Became a Myth
Friedrich Nietzsche
On Truth and Lies in a Non-Moral Sense
Friedrich Nietzsche
Images, Bodies and Consciousness
Henri Bergson
The Dream-Work
Sigmund Freud
Part Two: Theories of Images
Ideology Critique
Television: Multilayered Structure
Theodor Adorno
Society of the Spectacle
Guy Debord
The Precession of Simulacra
Jean Baudrillard
Image as Commodity
Fredric Jameson
'Race' and Nation
Paul Gilroy
Never Just Pictures
Susan Bordo
Art History
Studies in Iconology
Erwin Panofsky
Invention and Discovery
Ernst Gombrich
Interpretation without Representation, or, The Viewing of Las Meninas
Svetlana Alpers
Towards a Visual Critical Theory
Susan Buck-Morss
Nature of the Linguistic Sign
Ferdinand de Saussure
The Sign: Icon, Index, and Symbol
Charles Sanders Peirce
The Third Meaning
Roland Barthes
From Sub- to Suprasemiotic: The Sign as Event
Mieke Bal
The Semiotic Landscape
Gunter Kress and Theo van Leeuwen
Thing and Work
Martin Heidegger
Eye and Mind
Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Jean-Paul Sartre
Mikel Dufrenne
Scientific Visualism
Don Ihde
The Gaze / Anamorphosis
Jacques Lacan
The All-Perceiving Subject
Christian Metz
Woman as Image (Man as Bearer of the Look)
Laura Mulvey
Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills
Joan Copjec
Two Kinds of Attention
Anton Ehrenzweig
Part Three: Image Culture
Images and Words
The Roots of Poetry
Ernest Fenollosa
Icon and Image
Paul Ricoeur
This is Not a Pipe
Michel Foucault
The Despotic Eye and its Shadow: Media Image in the Age of Literacy
Robert Romanyshyn
Images, Audiences, and Readings
Kevin DeLuca
Image as Thought
Pictures and Facts
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Body Images
Antonio Damasio
Involuntary Memory
Marcel Proust
The Philosophical Imaginary
Michèle Le Doeuff
Thought and Cinema: The Time-Image
Gilles Deleuze
The Dialectical Image
Walter Benjamin
Ways of Remembering
John Berger
Taking a Line for a Walk
Paul Klee
On Montage and the Filmic Fourth Dimension
Sergei Eisenstein
Electronic Tools
William J. Mitchell
Camera Lucida
David Hockney
Images Scatter into Data, Data Gather into Images
Peter Galison
Visual Culture
The Medium is the Message
Marshal McLuhan
The Image of the City
Kevin Lynch
The Image-World
Susan Sontag
The Philosopher as Andy Warhol
Arthur Danto
Symbol, Idol and Murti: Hindu God-images and the Politics of Mediation
Gregory Price Grieve
The United Colors of Diversity
Celia Lury
The Unbearable Lightness Of Sight
Meiling Cheng
Vision and Visuality
Modernising Vision
Jonathan Crary
The Im/Pulse to See
Rosalind Krauss
Lighting for Whiteness
Richard Dyer
Cultural Relativism and the Visual Turn
Martin Jay
The Modularity of Vision
Semir Zeki
Image Studies
The Family of Images
W.J.T. Mitchell
The Domain of Images
James Elkins
A Constructivist Manifesto
Barbara Stafford
Images, Not Signs
Régis Debray
What is Iconoclash? Or is there a World Beyond the Image Wars?

The sheer breadth of this collection - from Genesis to Hockney and Plato to Lacan - shows how much images have always been a part of our culture. This volume makes a welcome contribution to our (re)discovery of the visual in society and how much we stand to learn from it, past and present.

Richard Howells
King's College, London

This is just what visual studies needs: a sober, analytic, parsimonious selection of crucial texts.

James Elkins
Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, Institute of Chicago

There are many fine anthologies on visual culture, yet none that offer such a concise and comprehensive array of the theoretical perspectives defining this interdisciplinary field.

Robert Hariman
Northwestern University

An indispensible resource for image analysis. The best thing I have seen in this field by a long way.

Valerie Walkerdine
School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University

The editors make two particularly useful contributions to the anthology. At the outset of each section, an introduction effectively summarizes and presents key issues for that section's readings, relates dominant themes to those earlier or later in the anthology, and outlines the significance of the individual excerpts in terms of the editors' proposed field of image studies. Aware of the bias with which they may have compiled the volume, however, the editors also have chosen to include four alternative tables of contents that fall at the end of the book's general introduction... Accessible and well-organized, these alternative tables go far in exemplifying the extent to which the editors wish to open up the field of inquiry in the study of images.

Mark Andrews
Invisible Culture

A rich, well-considered volume that is bound to become a critical introductory text for students of images and images studies everywhere, as well as an essential resource for academics and practitioners alike. This reader is an invaluable tool for those interested in images and image studies across a vast array of disciplines.

Zoë Sadokierski
Visual Communications

Much theorizing in visual studies, visual anthropology, and visual culture is offered in an a-historical vein, sliding along secondary and tertiary conceptual trajectories, with little sense of interdisciplinary origin. This book recovers the historical grounds of the study of 'images' and provides and contextualizes most of the defining texts, and a lot more besides.

Keyan G. Tomaselli
Visual Anthropology

"Images; A Reader is a key resource for academics and others studying images and their interpretation. College-level collections, whether art history holdings or cultural studies collections, will find it intriguing."

James A. Cox

A very in depth analysis on visual imaginary. The book covers a variety of perspectives that deals with visual culture and imaginary from psychoanalysis to sociological perspectives. A great introductory book for any postgraduate student

Mr Fergus Hogan
Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology
November 18, 2015

Does not exactly provide what I need in my classes.

Ms Anja Reicherstorfer
Language Center, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt
October 16, 2015

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