Reconstructing Rose Hobart: Joseph Cornell's Recutting of East of Borneo

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This essay offers a reconstructive analysis of Joseph Cornell's collage film Rose Hobart, and focuses on that film's reediting of the 1931 Universal programmer East of Borneo. First, the essay discusses Cornell's extractive logic while re-working the Universal film, locating Hobart's mise en scène as constructed out of a set of paradigmatic choices offered by Borneo. Second, the essay describes the logic of the film's montage in terms of the formal relationships Cornell creates between shots, which disrupt viewers' apprehension of narrative causality and even basic visual perception while simultaneously constructing eyeline matches and continuities of movement. The essay concludes by placing Cornell's crafting of Rose Hobart within what Jennie-Rebecca Falcetta and Susan Stewart have called the poetics of enclosure, whereby each of Cornell's works constructs a hermetic world.both full and singular, which has banished repetition and achieved authority. I argue that Rose Hobart's own Surrealist poetics of enclosure is manifested primarily through Cornell's crafting of a structure of embedded, bracketed, and suspended eyelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-353
Number of pages41
JournalNew Review of Film and Television Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cinemetrics
  • East of Borneo
  • Joseph Cornell
  • Rose Hobart

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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