New books published: Charlotte Brunsdon, 'Television Cities'; Ed Gallafent, 'Adultery and the Female Star'; Rachel Moseley, 'Picturing Cornwall'; Alastair Phillips, 'Paris in the Cinema'; Richard Wallace, 'Mockumentary Comedy'
A number of new books have been published by staff in the department. Click to the title links to explore in more detail. Don't forget to ask your librarians to stock up!
Charlotte Brunsdon, Television Cities (Duke University Press)
In Television Cities Charlotte Brunsdon traces television's representations of metropolitan spaces to show how they reflect the medium's history and evolution, thereby challenging the prevalent assumptions about television as quintessentially suburban. Brunsdon shows how the BBC's presentation of 1960s Paris in the detective series Maigret signals British culture's engagement with twentieth-century modernity and continental Europe, while various portrayals of London—ranging from Dickens adaptations to the 1950s nostalgia of Call the Midwife—demonstrate Britain's complicated transition from Victorian metropole to postcolonial social democracy. Finally, an analysis of The Wire’s acclaimed examination of Baltimore, marks the profound shifts in the ways television is now made and consumed. Illuminating the myriad factors that make television cities, Brunsdon complicates our understanding of how television shapes perceptions of urban spaces, both familiar and unknown.
Edward Gallafent, Adultery and the Female Star (Palgrave Macmillan)
This book provides an in-depth study of Bette Davis, Joan Fontaine, Kim Novak and Meryl Streep, and the treatment of adultery in their films. It avoids the near-impossible challenge of writing about the sheer volume of adultery in film by focusing on specific periods in the work of these four major Hollywood actresses who have each performed roles that share some features but also contain points of difference. The periods discussed cover Davis’s work in 1937 to 1943, Fontaine’s work between 1939 and 1950, Novak in 1954 to 1964, and finally Streep’s work between 1979 and 1985. Closely analysing both established classics and lesser known films, Edward Gallafent explores the work of a broad range of directors including Alfred Hitchcock, Max Ophüls, Sydney Pollack and Billy Wilder. Adultery and the Female Star explores topics such as motherhood, the significance of place, censorship, and adaptation, and is the first book of its kind to take on the topic of adultery in relation to these four actresses. It ultimately argues that our understanding of the adultery narrative is tightly bound up with our understanding of the Hollywood stars that depict it.
Rachel Moseley, Picturing Cornwall: Landscape, Region and the Moving Image (University of Exeter Press)
This book explores the history of Cornwall‘s picturing on screen, from the earliest days of the moving image to the recent BBC adaptation of Winston Graham’s Poldark books. Drawing on art history to illuminate the construction of Cornwall in films and television programmes, the book looks at amateur film, newsreels and contemporary film practice as well as drama.
It argues that Cornwall‘s screen identity has been dominated by the romantic coastal edge, leaving the regional interior absent from representation. In turn, the emphasis on the coast in Cornwall‘s screen history has had a significant and ongoing economic impact on the area.New research with an innovative approach, looking at amateur film and newsreels alongside mainstream film and television. Will appeal to both the academic and the more general reader.
Alastair Phillips (ed. with Ginette Vincendeau), Paris in the Cinema: Beyond the Flâneur (Blomsbury; British Film Institute)
'Paris in the Cinema' offers a new approach to the representation of Paris on screen. Bringing together a wide range of renowned French and Anglophone specialists in film, television, history, architecture and literature, the volume introduces, challenges and extends ideas about the city as the locus of screen modernity. Through a range of concrete and historically-specific case studies, ranging from particular districts such as Saint-Germain-des-Pres and les banlieues (the suburbs) in French cinema, to iconic figures such as the detective Maigret and the lovers, and from locations such as the hotel, the building site and the Eiffel Tower to filmmakers such as Agnes Varda and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, this unique text demonstrates how the cinematic city of Paris now constitutes a major archive of French cultural history and memory.
Richard Wallace, Mockumentary Comedy: Performing Authenticity (Palgrave Macmillan)
This book is the first to take comedy seriously as an important aspect of the popular mockumentary form of film and television fiction. It examines the ways in which mockumentary films and television programmes make visible—through comedy—the performances that underpin straight documentaries and many of our public figures. Mockumentary Comedy focuses on the rock star and the politician, two figures that regularly feature as mockumentary subjects. These public figures are explored through detailed textual analyses of a range of film and television comedies, including A Hard Day’s Night, This is Spinal Tap, The Thick of It, Veep and the works of Christopher Guest and Alison Jackson. This book broadens the scope of existing mockumentary scholarship by taking comedy seriously in a sustained way for the first time. It ultimately argues that the comedic performances—by performers and of documentary conventions—are central to the form’s critical significance and popular appeal.