Langton considers the role of projection in love, in fiction and in the literal projection of film, taking Ian McEwan’s The Innocent—the novel and the film based upon it —as a case study. She distinguishes three kinds of projection, all described by Hume: phenomenological gilding, wishful thinking, and pseudo-empathy. Projection has a distinctive role to play in love when it goes well, and when it goes wrong, as illustrated in some grueling scenes from the novel. Langton argues that the film fails in its depiction of love, where the novel spectacularly succeeds: and that this is because love, as it is projected on screen, must inevitably miss something significant in its attempts to convey love, as perceptually projected on the world by lovers. This ‘something’—how the world ‘lights up’ for lovers—can be better captured by a good novelist, whose empathic skill and imaginative power finds no parallel in film.
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