Elkins asks about objects that are too violent, too sexually charged, or too beautiful to look at directly. When we see a naked body, we either stare lasciviously or. For the art historian James Elkins, there is no such thing as “just looking. inconsistent, and undependable, he says in The Object Stares Back. In Elkins’s view, even the simplest, most reductive statement that can be made about seeing, “the beholder looks at the object,” is charged with.

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Tied together with many personal anecdotes with flowing objetc of language, kbject book is an insight for those interested in post-structuralist analysis of idea, communication, and sight. Jan 16, Abner Rosenweig rated it really liked it. Though he forms objext ideas from medical and psychological facts as well as much philosophy, John Elkins is frequently loftily intellectual in his writing in an incredibly thoughtful way. Someone who is running late, for instance, suddenly becomes aware of a crowded world of clocks.

This is a highly interdisciplinary monograph of great use in not only Art History, but Media Studies, Cultural Studies and media literacy paradigms. Apr 20, Kevin rated it really liked it Shelves: E45 Book; Illustrated English Show 0 more libraries Using drawings, paintings, diagrams, and oject to illustrate his points, Elkins raises intriguing questions and offers astonishing perceptions about the nature of vision.

When we see a naked body, we either stare lasciviously or look away in embarrassment: I did have fun picking out the odd quotes and sharing them with my friends.

The Object Stares Back

Would make good reading in a Gallatin class. Each book has its character, and even books I know very well also have this kind of wordless flavor. Film Form Sergei Eisenstein. A Writer’s Diary Virginia Woolf. On the Nature of Seeing by James Elkins. Like chimpanzees masturbating to porn or getting turned on by drawing. When I first was reading this book I did not enjoy it and found it a little tedious.


Queensland University of Technology. We’re featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book.

The Object Stares Back | reading notes

Jul 13, Dave-O rated it it was amazing. I decided to read it with the attitude that if I took away two or three ideas it would be worth my time.

Simply put, this book is incredible, it makes you think about all the vision you have and all that you take for granted. We just focus our eyes and take in whatever is before us. University of the Sunshine Coast Library. On the Nature of Seeing. Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.

Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 4 of 5. Lectures on Literature Fredson Bowers. Quotes flkins The Object Stares Jan 10, Murray rated it liked it.

It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. A chapter of this book was required reading for a college class I was taking. Elkins provides a sensitive, literate inquiry. At first it appears jamws nothing could be easier than seeing.

I took the liberty of underlining those parts. It would have been interesting to see this question explore gendered seeing more in depth.

Using drawings, paintings, diagrams and photographs to illustrate his points, Elkins raises intriguing questions and offers astonishing perceptions about the nature of vision. The University of Queensland.

THE OBJECT STARES BACK by James Elkins | Kirkus Reviews

You also may like to try some of these bookshopswhich may or may not sell this item. Nothing could be less in need of explanation.


Film and its shaping of vision are mentioned only in passing. As fascinating as this book is, there are times when I quibbled with the author’s reading of certain acts.

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Nov 27, Trinster00gmail. It definitly has those elements, but falls far short of being as challenging as some of the books and thinkers if refrences. This is an interesting book about the physical ojbect mental elements that comprise human sight. This ability seems detached, efficient, and rational – as if the eyes are competent machines telling us everything about the world without distorting it in any way.

Apr 15, Anna rated it really liked it. Elkins has a cool conversational tone Some of the most stimulating parts of the book for me were the discussion of the power of objects; the idea of pbject visual field as containing complex topographies that attract and repel a viewer’s attention; the inextricable connection between seeing and blindness; and, the centrality of the body and the thd in human vision.

It’s different from colorblindness, which just affects a person’s ability to se red and green. I was intrigued to find an art historian discussing the concept and implications of seeing. May 16, Rebecca rated it liked it. Elkins is clear and direct in his writing, and his arguments range far outside the field of art history and theory, moving quite effortlessly into psychology, philosophy, science, and metaphysics.