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Last Things: Essays on Ends and Endings

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Edited By Gavin Hopps, Stella Neumann, Sven Strasen and Peter Wenzel

This multidisciplinary collection brings together scholars from the fields of literature, theology and linguistics who question and extend our taken-for-granted conceptions of The End. It focuses on the ways in which endings are formally signaled in literature, and sets these alongside parallel studies in journalism and film. However, it is also concerned with larger philosophical and historical notions of closure, impermanence, rupture and apocalypse as well as the possibilities of «posthumous» being. It gives examples from fairytales, Byron, Longfellow, Dillard, Barnes and South African writers.
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Film Endings: Tobias Hock (Aachen)

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Tobias Hock (Aachen)

Abstract

While literary criticism has produced some major works on the theory of endings, the field of film studies still lacks extensive contributions to the topic. This chapter examines the most important results of narratological, cognitive and medium-specific approaches to film endings and identifies potential areas of further research.

After the analysis of closural patterns in literature, it is a logical step to expand a comprehensive theory of endings to other cultural artefacts. The medium of film suggests itself as an obvious area of investigation, since it bears the closest narrative and narratological resemblance to those literary texts that are typically the main focus of closure theories.1

The research on endings in film is even sparser than in the case of literature. Indeed, while literary theory has produced some major works on the subject,2 there has been little sustained work on endings in film studies. The only exceptions are Richard Neupert’s seminal book The End: Narration and Closure in the Cinema (1995) and Thomas Christen’s Das Ende im Spielfilm: Vom klassischen Hollywood zu Antonionis offenen Formen (2002). Typically, introductions to film studies tackle the issue of film endings only superficially, if the topic is addressed at all. Bordwell and Thompson (2009, 90–92), for example, briefly comment on the function of endings with regard to general plot development; Hickethier (2001, 122–27) mentions them in the context of his outline of classical drama theory; Monaco (2009) makes no...

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