Professor Laura Marcus: “Minnows in a heated pool”: film-going and fiction in the mid-twentieth century
In 'The Uses of Literacy' (1957), Richard Hoggart writes rather scathingly of the passive mass audience in cinemas and for TV, which was then relatively novel as a household resource. He is particularly hostile at this time to US mass culture, though this is mitigated after his year in the US, where he was when the book was published. This lecture addresses the broader context of intellectual and literary reflection on cinema spectatorship, focusing particularly on early cinema journalism and on the work of J.B. Priestley, whose similarly cool response to cinema coexisted with his close involvement in the filming of some of his own works.
Laura Marcus is Goldsmiths' Professor of English Literature and Fellow of New College, Oxford. Widely influential in modernist and feminist studies, Laura's books include 'Auto/biographical Discourses: Theory, Criticism, Practice' (1994), 'Virginia Woolf: Writers and their Work' (1997/2004), 'The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period' (2007) and 'Dreams of Modernity: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Cinema' (2014). She is currently working on scholarly editions of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf.
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