Death at work: the cinematic imagination of J.G. Ballard

Depper, Corin (2008) Death at work: the cinematic imagination of J.G. Ballard. In: Baxter, Jeannette, (ed.) J. G. Ballard. London, U.K. : Continuum. pp. 50-65. (Contemporary Critical Perspectives) ISBN 9780826497260

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Having made his home in Shepperton for the last forty years, JG Ballard has lived much of his creative life in the literal shadow of cinema: perhaps then it is unsurprising that his writing has exhibited such a pervasive fascination with film, as both the embodiment of popular culture in the last century, and as a form that offers new approaches to the experience of the world. This article explores three works by Ballard, 'The Atrocity Exhibition', 'Crash', and 'Empire of the Sun' through their cinematic adaptations, and seeks to demonstrate how Ballard’s work generates a complex series of interactions between literary and cinematic texts, effectively problematising the usually unidirectional relationship between source text and cinematic adaptation. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s work on the Cinematic Image and Francis Bacon (and considering Bacon’s own fascination with the proto-cinema of Muybridge and Marey) the work will be explored through a Deleuzian model that allows for the reflection and refraction of image and narrative. It will be argued that Ballard’s works effectively anticipate their cinematic revisioning, suggesting that the supposed ‘unfilmability’ of ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ and ‘Crash’ lay less in any moral squeamishness, and more in the fact that they are novels that were effectively filmed in the very moment of their writing.

Item Type: Book Section
Physical Location: This book is held in stock at Kingston University Library
Research Area: Philosophy
History of art, architecture and design
English language and literature
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017) > School of Performance and Screen Studies
Depositing User: Corin Depper
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2010 09:54
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2010 09:54

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