The Desire to Desire

The Desire to Desire

The Woman’s Film of the 1940s
Mary Ann Doane
Distribution: U.S. Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Japan
Publication date: 6/1/1987
Format: paper 224 pages, 75 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-20433-2
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“Brilliantly argued and lucidly written . . . the definitive psychoanalytic account of the repression of woman in Hollywood cinema.” —Tania Modleski

“ . . . complex and challenging . . . ” —The Women”s Review of Books

“ . . . magnificently ambitious . . . some of the most original and intelligent essays in film theory today.” —Journal of Modern Literature

“ . . . deeply commited to the psychoanalytic approach . . . ” —Contemporary Sociology

The Desire to Desire traces the way in which female spectatorship is specified primarily by its lapses or failures, arguing that the women’s film simultaneously asserts and denies female desire, attributing to the woman only an impossible gaze.

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Table of Contents


1 The Desire to Desire
2 Clinical Eyes: The Medical Discourse
3 The Moving Image: Pathos and the Maternal
4 The Love Story
5 Paranoia and the Specular
6 Female Spectatorship and Machines of Projection: Caught and Rebecca
7 The Shadow of Her Gaze