Friday, September 13, 2013

The New Literary (Film) Studies

I'm currently reading James Chandler's Archeology of Sympathy and it's reminded me of something I've been noticing: there's a new wave of literary scholars who are writing on film in medium-specific ways. There was a time when I'd bristle at the dilettantism of literary studies people who'd decide they wanted to write on film without engaging in film studies or the basics of cinema as a medium. The upshot was a strong tendency toward content reading.

The new cohort, though - in addition to Chandler, Jonathan Auerbach or Max Cavitch come to mind - has a familiarity with cinema specific ways of analysis, even if they still read texts a little differently or have different heuristic priorities than those more fully ensconced in cinema studies.

It's probably an understandable result of the growth of cinema studies, both in the impact of broader undergraduate education of intro to film classes and the continued spread of departments mixing literary and film-studies faculty.

It's an interesting trend and I'm not sure it's one that's been remarked upon much.

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