Cinematic Fictions: The Impact of the Cinema on the American Novel Up to World War II

4.33 avg rating
( 3 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781846318122: Cinematic Fictions: The Impact of the Cinema on the American Novel Up to World War II
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

The phrase 'cinematic fiction' has now been generally accepted into critical discourse, but is usually applied to post-war novels. This book asks a simple question: given their fascination with the new medium of film, did American novelists attempt to apply cinematic methods in their own writings? From its very beginnings the cinema has played a special role in defining American culture. Covering the period from the 1910s up to the Second World War, Cinematic Fictions offers new insights into classics like The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath discussing major writers' critical writings on film and active participation in film-making. Cinematic Fictions is also careful not to portray 'cinema' as a single or stable entity. Some novelists drew on silent film; others looked to the Russian theorists for inspiration; and yet others turned to continental film-makers rather than to Hollywood. Film itself was constantly evolving during the first decades of the twentieth century and the writers discussed here engaged in a kind of dialogue with the new medium, selectively pursuing strategies of montage, limited point of view and scenic composition towards their different ends. Contrasting a diverse range of cinematic and literary movements, this will be compulsory reading for scholars of American literature and film.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Cinematic Fictions is an exhaustively researched account of the way cinema shaped the conception and production of American fiction in the first half of the twentieth century (the main text includes detailed analysis of seventeen major American novelists over twelve chapters and includes 1031footnotes). The objective of the book is explicit: besides the information in the subtitle, the opening sentence asks, 'given their fascination with the new medium of film, did American novelists attempt to apply cinematic methods in their own writings?' (p. 1). However, the scope of the task is given a further dimension by Seed's additional aim of arguing for 'an interchange between the media', which is his 'main subject of methodological influence and congruence' (p. 1). Additionally, and necessarily, Cinematic Fictions also pays much attention to biographical detail, telling the stories of relationships between writers, film-makers, and studios. For the most part this ambitious, engaging study succeeds in demonstrating the extensive range of influences that cinema had on American fiction of this era, and often goes beyond this, elucidating some of the tensions and nuances between the cinema, popular culture and Hollywood, and American literary modernism. Chapters are loosely chronological and laid out by theme-some looking at three or more authors and others focusing on one individual. The latter, including chapters on William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, and Nathaniel West, are some of the stronger sections of the book, successfully combining film and literary history, textual analysis, and literary biography. These are also the chapters that make the strongest case for 'interchange', mostly on account of the detail they enter into. For example, in Chapter 6 Seed examines some of the cinematic techniques evident in Faulkner's fiction, such as 'close-ups', 'point of view', or 'rendering movement in relation to a fixed point' (p. 113). Seed also, however, discusses and analyses Faulkner's relationship to Hollywood, building a convincing story from the assertion that 'like Dreiser and other novelists discussed in this volume, Faulkner disliked the way in which a writer's work was swallowed up by the Hollywood system, but revealed his enthusiasm for the film medium by incorporating cinematic allusions and techniques in his fiction' (p. 108). Cinematic Fictions has an important international aspect in that Seed identifies the impact on American authors of cinema from around the world. Sergei Eisenstein appears as an important influence on several of the authors, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's cinematic style is traced back to his appreciation of Joseph Conrad's famous preface to the Nigger of Narcisuss (1897), which emphasized the need 'before all, to make you see'. Seed's ambition and scope cause parts of some chapters to feel somewhat like sections of a reference book, in that there is only limited space for each text, author, or anecdote. However, Cinematic Fictions is superbly written throughout, and carries a distinct passion for its subject. This is an extremely valuable contribution to the scholarship of early twentieth-century American literature, early cinema, and American literary modernism. --Modern Language Review

About the Author:

David Seed is Professor of English at the University of Liverpool.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

David Seed
Published by Oxford University Press
ISBN 10: 1846318122 ISBN 13: 9781846318122
New Quantity Available: 17
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)

Book Description Oxford University Press. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 1846318122

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
20.33
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.78
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Seed, David
ISBN 10: 1846318122 ISBN 13: 9781846318122
New Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
GreatBookPrices
(Columbia, MD, U.S.A.)

Book Description Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 15756921-n

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
30.85
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.04
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

David Seed
Published by Liverpool University Press, United Kingdom (2014)
ISBN 10: 1846318122 ISBN 13: 9781846318122
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)

Book Description Liverpool University Press, United Kingdom, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. The phrase 'cinematic fiction' has now been generally accepted into critical discourse, but is usually applied to post-war novels. This book asks a simple question: given their fascination with the new medium of film, did American novelists attempt to apply cinematic methods in their own writings? From its very beginnings the cinema has played a special role in defining American culture. Covering the period from the 1910s up to the Second World War, Cinematic Fictions offers new insights into classics like The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath discussing major writers' critical writings on film and active participation in film-making. Cinematic Fictions is also careful not to portray 'cinema' as a single or stable entity. Some novelists drew on silent film; others looked to the Russian theorists for inspiration; and yet others turned to continental film-makers rather than to Hollywood. Film itself was constantly evolving during the first decades of the twentieth century and the writers discussed here engaged in a kind of dialogue with the new medium, selectively pursuing strategies of montage, limited point of view and scenic composition towards their different ends. Contrasting a diverse range of cinematic and literary movements, this will be compulsory reading for scholars of American literature and film. Seller Inventory # BTE9781846318122

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
34.25
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Seed, David
Published by Oxford University Press (2013)
ISBN 10: 1846318122 ISBN 13: 9781846318122
New Paperback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
BookVistas
(New Delhi, India)

Book Description Oxford University Press, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. 6.1 x 9.2 cm. Seller Inventory # BD1-9781846318122

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
80.56
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 5.57
From India to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Seed, David
Published by Oxford University Press (2013)
ISBN 10: 1846318122 ISBN 13: 9781846318122
New Paperback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
Vikram Jain Books
(New Delhi, India)

Book Description Oxford University Press, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # BD1-9781846318122

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
80.56
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 5.57
From India to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds