Royal gaze

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Mar 23 02:45:38 UTC 2007

At 3/22/2007 07:27 PM, Amy West wrote:
>I've encountered "gaze" as a critical theory term in
>Lacanian/feminist literary criticism.
>Can you give a context for "royal gaze"?

I can only give contexts (snippets) I pick up
from Google, which suggest transferred and/or
figurative senses from a literal royal (e.g.
king) looking at someone or something.  An 18th
century scholar mentions Johnson's first sense of
the noun "gaze", as "intent regard", but some of
these snippets seem to go beyond that.

"without turning one's back on the royal gaze,
that is, walking backwards. ..."  [fairly literal]

"A formal pageant was to be enacted under the ‘royal’ gaze"

  "He brought him to Jesus, and Jesus looking
earnestly on him with that royal gaze which read
intuitively the inmost thoughts­seeing at a glance in that ..."

The casting of the royal gaze in these terms
communicates once again a double ... It is his
gaze, a royal gaze­and in a nation under Salic lawa male gaze, ...
[From "The Poetics of Gender", by Nancy K.
Miller.  Perhaps the "Lacanian/feminist literary criticism"?]

Likewise, both male and female members of the Ottoman court could exercise
control over different types of spaces by
manipulating both the built environment
through architectural projects and by exercising
the privileges of the royal gaze,
a privilege that was recognized and implemented in the design and layout of
Ottoman structures, ...
[I cannot cut and paste next three lines]
and the complex dynamics of the royal gaze has been discovered more recently as
an important factor in how Islamic patrons of
architecture exercised control over
and perhaps engendered space.

And from the art world [but I have no idea
whether the references are to portraits or royals!]

Chorda goes on, unfortunately, to make much of
this "royal gaze" in his interpretation of the picture
[From Comment on "Anamorphosis and the Eccentric
Observer: Inverted Perspective and the Construction of the Gaze"
Vladimir Tamari
Leonardo, Vol. 26, No. 1 (1993), p. 90]

The observed and the observer are thus unified,
allowing the painter to communicate the quality
of the 'royal gaze' to all those who contemplate this work.
[From Computer Graphics for the Analysis of
Perspective in Visual Art: "Las Meninas", by Velazquez
Frederic Chorda
Leonardo, Vol. 24, No. 5 (1991), pp. 563-567]


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