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  • Acknowledgments vii

    Introduction: Toward a Feminist Historiography of Early Cinema / Jennifer M. Bean 1

    I. Reflecting Film Authorship

    Circuits of Memory and History: The Memoirs of Alice Guy-Blache / Amelie Hastie 29

    Nazimova's Veils: Salome at the Intersection of Film Histories / Patricia White 60

    Of Cabbages and Authors / Jane M. Gaines 88

    Reevaluating Footnotes: Women Directors of the Silent Era / Radha Vatsal 119

    II. Ways of Looking

    The Gender of Empire: American Modernity, Masculinity, and Edison's War Actualities / Kristen Whissel 141

    Making Ends Meet: "Welfare Films" and the Politics of Consumption during the Progressive Era / Constance Balides 166

    Irma Vep, Vamp in the City: Mapping the Criminal Feminine in Early French Serials / Kristine J. Butler 195

    The Flapper Film: Comedy, Dance, and Jazz Age Kinaesthetics / Lori Landay 221

    III. Cultural Inversions

    The Queer Career of Jim Crow: Racial and Sexual Transformation in A Florida Enchantment / Siobhan B. Somerville 251

    Taking Precautions, or Regulating Early Birth-Control Films / Shelley Stamp 270

    The New Woman and Consumer Culture: Cecil B. DeMille's Sex Comedies / Sumiko Higashi 298

    "So Real as to Seem Like Life Itself": The Photoplay Fiction of Adela Rogers St. Johns / Anne Morey 333

    IV. Performing Bodies

    Oh, "Doll Divine": Mary Pickford, Masquerade, and the Pedophilic Gaze / Gaylyn Studlar 349

    Immigrant Stardom in Imperial America: Pola Negri and the Problem of Typology / Diane Negra 374

    Technologies of early Stardom and the Extraordinary Body / Jennifer M. Bean 404

    Femininity in Flight: Androgyny and Gynandry in Early Silent Italian Cinema / Angela Dalle Vacche 444

    Greta Garbo and Silent Cinema: The Actress as Art Deco Icon / Lucy Fischer 476

    V. The Problem with Periodization

    An Amorous History of the Silver Screen: The Actress as Vernacular Embodiment in Early Chinese Film Culture / Zhang Zhen 501

    Technology's Body: Cinematic Vision in Modernity / Mary Ann Doane 530

    Parallax Historiography: The Flaneuse as Cyberfeminist / Catherine Russell 552

    Contributors 571

    Index 575
  • Jennifer M. Bean

    Amelie Hastie

    Patricia White

    Jane M. Gaines

    Radha Vatsal

    Kristen Whissel

    Constance Balides

    Kristine J. Butler

    Lori Landay

    Siobhan B. Somerville

    Shelley Stamp

    Sumiko Higashi

    Anne Morey

    Gaylyn Studlar

    Angela Dalle Vacche

    Lucy Fischer

    Mary Ann Doane

    Catherine Russell

    Zhen Zhang

  • ”Despite the enormous amount of work that has been done in the last two decades on women and early cinema, this anthology is the first of its kind. It is outstanding.”—Judith Mayne, author of Framed: Lesbians, Feminists, and Media Culture — N/A

    ”This collection is a persuasive reminder that the hottest current topics in film theory—cultural intersections, questions of authorship, fantasy and technology, representation and the body—demand and are illuminated by feminist inquiry.”— Linda Mizejewski, author of Ziegfeld Girl: Image and Icon in Culture and Cinema — N/A

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  • Description

    A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema marks a new era of feminist film scholarship. The twenty essays collected here demonstrate how feminist historiographies at once alter and enrich ongoing debates over visuality and identification, authorship, stardom, and nationalist ideologies in cinema and media studies. Drawing extensively on archival research, the collection yields startling accounts of women's multiple roles as early producers, directors, writers, stars, and viewers. It also engages urgent questions about cinema's capacity for presenting a stable visual field, often at the expense of racially, sexually, or class-marked bodies.

    While fostering new ways of thinking about film history, A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema illuminates the many questions that the concept of "early cinema" itself raises about the relation of gender to modernism, representation, and technologies of the body. The contributors bring a number of disciplinary frameworks to bear, including not only film studies but also postcolonial studies, dance scholarship, literary analysis, philosophies of the body, and theories regarding modernism and postmodernism.

    Reflecting the stimulating diversity of early cinematic styles, technologies, and narrative forms, essays address a range of topics—from the dangerous sexuality of the urban flâneuse to the childlike femininity exemplified by Mary Pickford, from the Shanghai film industry to Italian diva films—looking along the way at birth-control sensation films, French crime serials, "war actualities," and the stylistic influence of art deco. Recurring throughout the volume is the protean figure of the New Woman, alternately garbed as childish tomboy, athletic star, enigmatic vamp, languid diva, working girl, kinetic flapper, and primitive exotic.

    Contributors. Constance Balides, Jennifer M. Bean, Kristine Butler, Mary Ann Doane, Lucy Fischer, Jane Gaines, Amelie Hastie, Sumiko Higashi, Lori Landay, Anne Morey, Diane Negra, Catherine Russell, Siobhan B. Somerville, Shelley Stamp, Gaylyn Studlar, Angela Dalle Vacche, Radha Vatsal, Kristen Whissel, Patricia White, Zhang Zhen

    About The Author(s)

    Jennifer M. Bean is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies at the University of Washington.

    Diane Negra is Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia.

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