Alexander Nemerov proposes to explore the principle of representation, by looking closely at one episode in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. The scene in question features the upstart Barry, hoping to impress aristocratic guests in his bid to become a lord. The plans go awry when his hated stepson Viscount Bullingdon, walks into the room in company with his half-brother and Barry’s true son Bryan. All hell breaks loose. Thus is the manifest story. But in a way that I will explore, the gathered guests—the sumptuous room—the refined entertainment—all in fact summon the entrance of the two half-brothers. The fantasy of representation is that of creating a great rite, an incantatory ritual, in order to deliver a single Moment of Truth.


Alexander Nemerov's most recent works include Silent Dialogues: Diane Arbus and Howard Nemerov (2015) and Soulmaker: The Times of Lewis Hine, which was short-listed for the 2016 Marfield Prize in Arts Writing. He is featured in the HBO documentary The Price of Everything, which was directed by Nathaniel Kahn and will premiere this autumn. Nemerov is the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in Arts and Humanities at Stanford University.