2020-01Thematic Section
Film as a Dream of the Modern Man: Interpretation of Susanne Langer’s “Note on the Film”


The paper concerns a “Note on the Film,” a short appendix to Feeling and Form by Susanne Langer. The interpretation interweaves the Note into a larger context of Langer’s philosophical work – primarily in terms of her understanding of the dream as a lower symbolic form, to which the film is compared – as well as in terms of her account of literary arts among which, she suggests, cinema belongs. Langer’s references to Sergei Eisenstein are discussed and their respective concepts of cinema are compared. An implicit political dimension of Langer’s writing on film is emphasized by relating her critique of modern civilization, as sketched in the last chapter of Philosophy in a New Key, to her film aesthetics. At the end of the paper I compare my interpretation of the Note with the one that was offered by Trisha Curran.


Susanne Langer, Sergei Eisenstein, film aesthetics, symbol, dream, modernity

How to cite:

Hadravová, Tereza. “Film as a Dream of the Modern Man: Interpretation of Susanne Langer’s ‘Note on the Film’.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4, no. 1 (2020): 38-48. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2020.0004.


Tereza Hadravová
Department of Aesthetics, Charles University in Prague
Celetná 20, 116 42 Prague 1, Czech Republic


Chaplin, Adrienne Dengerink. “Langer’s Logic of Signs and Symbols: Its Sources and Applications.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 3, no. 4 (2019): 44-54. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2019.0041.

Chaplin, Adrienne Dengerink. The Philosophy of Susanne Langer: Embodied Meaning in Logic, Art and Feeling. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350030565.

Curran, Trisha. A New Note on the Film: A Theory of Film Criticism Derived from Susanne K. Langer’s Philosophy of Art. New York: Arno Press, 1980.

Eisenstein, Sergei. Film Form: Essays in Film Theory. Edited and translated by Jay Leyda. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1949.

Eisenstein, Sergei. The Film Sense. Edited and translated by Jay Leyda. New York: Meridian Books, 1957.

Gibson, James Jerome. “The Theory of Affordances.” In Perceiving, Acting, and Knowing: Toward an Ecological Psychology, edited by Robert Shaw and John Bransford, 67 – 82. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Langer, Susanne K. Feeling and Form. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953.

Langer, Susanne K. Philosophy in a New Key: A Study in Symbolism of Reason, Art, and Rite. New York and Toronto: New American Library, 1954.

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