The Philosophy of Stanley Kubrick

The Philosophy of Stanley Kubrick

Hardback Philosophy of Popular Culture

Edited by Jerold J. Abrams

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  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky
  • Format: Hardback | 290 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 229mm x 31mm | 590g
  • Publication date: 1 April 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Lexington
  • ISBN 10: 081312445X
  • ISBN 13: 9780813124452
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,037,157

Product description

In the course of fifty years, director Stanley Kubrick produced some of the most haunting and indelible images on film. His films touch on a wide range of topics rife with questions about human life, behavior, and emotions: love and sex, war, crime, madness, social conditioning, and technology. Within this great variety of subject matter, Kubrick examines different sides of reality and unifies them into a rich philosophical vision that is similar to existentialism. Perhaps more than any other philosophical concept, existentialism-the belief that philosophical truth has meaning only if it is chosen by the individual-has come down from the ivory tower to influence popular culture at large. In virtually all of Kubrick's films, the protagonist finds himself or herself in opposition to a hard and uncaring world, whether the conflict arises in the natural world or in human institutions. Kubrick's war films (Fear and Desire, Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, and Full Metal Jacket) examine how humans deal with their worst fears-especially the fear of death-when facing the absurdity of war. Full Metal Jacket portrays a world of physical and moral change, with an environment in continual flux in which attempting to impose order can be dangerous. The film explores the tragic consequences of an unbending moral code in a constantly changing universe. Essays in the volume examine Kubrick's interest in morality and fate, revealing a Stoic philosophy at the center of many of his films. Several of the contributors find his oeuvre to be characterized by skepticism, irony, and unfettered hedonism. In such films as A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick confronts the notion that we will struggle against our own scientific and technological innovations. Kubrick's films about the future posit that an active form of nihilism will allow humans to accept the emptiness of the world and push beyond it to form a free and creative view of humanity. Taken together, the essays in The Philosophy of Stanley Kubrick are an engaging look at the director's stark vision of a constantly changing moral and physical universe. They promise to add depth and complexity to the interpretation of Kubrick's signature films.

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Author information

Jerold J. Abrams is assistant professor of philosophy at Creighton University.

Review quote

""Every page of this book expresses admiration for America's most philosophical filmmaker, all the while providing insight into his creative vision." --William Irwin, co-editor of More Matrix and Philosophy: Revolutions and Reloade" --

Table of contents

Understanding the Enemy: The Dialogue of Fear in Kubrick's Fear and Desire and Dr. Strangelove Elizabeth F. Cooke; Chaos, Order, and Morality: Nietzsche's Influence on Full Metal Jacket Mark T. Conard; Existential Ethics: Where the Paths of Glory Lead Jason Holt; Where the Rainbow Ends: Eyes Wide Shut Karen Hoffman; K.O.! Killer's Kiss, the Somatic, and Kubrick Kevin Decker; The Logic of Lolita: Nabokov, Kubrick, and Poe Jerold J. Abrams; Rebel without a Cause: Stanley Kubrick and the Banality of the Good; Patrick Murray and Jeanne Schuler; The Big Score: Fate, Morality, and Meaningful Life in The Killing Steven M. Sanders; Spartacus and the Second Part of the Soul Gordon Braden; The Shape of a Man: The Tragedy of Barry Lyndon Chris Pliatska; The Shining and Postmodern Notions of History Barton Palmer; Nihilism and Freedom in the Films of Stanley Kubrick Daniel Shaw; "Please Make Me a Real Boy" - The Prayer of the Artificially Intelligent Jason T. Eberl; Nietzsche's Overman as Posthuman Star Child in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey Jerold J. Abrams.