ABOUT THE BOOK
In Dark Lens literary theorist Francoise Meltzer takes up images of war ruins, asking the question of whether viewing such destruction can create an empathetic response that might translate into less human suffering in the future. She starts this inquiry with textual and artistic representations of post-war Germany alongside a set of photographs taken by her mother, who had been part of the French Resistance in World War II, of a bombed-out town in Germany in 1945. Through these visual objects, she explores “the problems of aestheticization, the representation of catastrophe, and the targeting of civilians in war,” and engages with larger questions about how to think about “the ‘acceptability’ of suffering under certain circumstances of war” for many who see enemies in these photographs rather than civilian victims.
See Francoise Meltzer speaking on Dark Lens at Western University here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Françoise Meltzer is the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, where she is also professor at the Divinity School and in the College. Meltzer is the author of five books, most recently of Seeing Double: Baudelaire’s Modernity, and a co-editor of the journal Critical Inquiry.