Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is a brilliant, suspenseful mystery exploring the often dangerous intimacy between love, compulsion, and death. It is also a profound meditation on the power of art. While it invites us to go on seeing art as a mimesis – a “representation,” or “imitation” of life – it also cryptically asks whether art objects might do more than merely represent life, even whether they might exercise power over death. James Stewart’s Scotty has been compared to Orpheus in quest of Eurydice; I suggest that he’s worth comparing to Admetus, who wished he could be Orpheus, and who imagines clinging to a statue to recapture his lost wife. The spell cast by Hitchcock in Vertigo shows us just how bewitching art can be when it has us under its sway.
Monday, March 19, 2018 at 6pm. This event is part of the Philosophy Series at The Cornelia Street Café, located at 29 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014 (near Sixth Avenue and West 4th St.). Admission is $10, which includes the price of one drink. Reservations are recommended (212. 989.9319)
Nickolas Pappas is Professor of Philosophy at City College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, where he has taught since 1993. He is the author of several books and around 40 articles, mostly on topics in ancient philosophy. His books include the Routledge Philosophical Guidebook to Plato’s Republic, now in its third edition; and most recently The Philosopher’s New Clothes (Routledge, 2016).