"The visual is essentially pornographic," writes Fredric Jameson, "films ask us to stare at the world as though it were a naked body." In Signatures of the Visible, one of America's most influential critics explores film and the culture surrounding it, interrogating the relationship between the imaginative screen world and the historical world onto which it is projected. By seeking the historical dimension of the visual, Jameson evaluates the power of the filmic form as a vehicle for the critique of culture and the diagnosis of social life. Jameson pursues this investigation through readings of politics, class, allegory, magic realism, and "the historical" in such films as Diva, The Shining, and Dog Day Afternoon. Throughout the book, he is concerned with the relationship between the achievements and limits of contemporary film theory itself, "a relationship," he argues, "which allows one to take the temperature of history itself."
"...Jameson's work compares to the best of the major league of cultural theorists...and other scholars of interdisciplinary standing." -- Semiotica
"One of the cliches about theoretical approaches to popular culture is that too much theory will spoil your enjoyment of it. Jameson's Signatures of the Visible is a living proof of the imbecility of this cliche, so convincing that one is almost tempted to say that today, it is only through his kind of deconstructionist Marxism that one can really enjoy the taste of Hitchcock, Kubrick, Lumet...The magic of Jameson's writing, the je ne sais quoi which makes it an instant classic, is the unique combination of the highest dialectical versatility with an almost adolescent sheer pleasure of devouring the classics of popular cinema." -- Slavoj Zizek
"With the possible exception of Stuart Hall, Fredric Jameson is the most important Marxist critic of the Anglophone world. His knowledge of that tradition of social, political, literary, and cultural criticism is virtually unmatched.." -- Choice