Links for the weekend

1st September 2013

I am not sure if Jonathan Bate’s list of 100+ of the Best Books on Shakespeare has been around for a good while, but it’s new to me – and that feels like sufficient reason to feature it at the head of today’s Links. (Apologies by the way for absences in the past couple of weeks; I’m back for the start of the new term.) Bate is among the very best Shakespearean scholars writing today and one of the editors of The RSC Shakespeare Complete Works from Palgrave Macmillan (this is the one-volume edition I use most frequently, although nothing beats the individual volumes in the Arden series). He is also the author of The Genius of Shakespeare (1997), which if I had to recommend to someone just a single book about the Bard, this would be the one. It is described here as ‘a biography of the idea of Shakespeare and perceptions of his greatness’. Fortunately, we can all read many more than just one – and this list is a great place to start. There are many more links below, with thanks this week to @AndyKesson, @footage@cinetourist@KarlinMarc@zilkerfilms@filmstudiesff and @Z.

Let’s talk about search – lessons from building Lantern: Eric Hoyt on the new search engine for the now-even-more-valuable Media History Digital Library; for background, see David Bordwell’s post Magic, this lantern.

The Epic of Everest announced as LFF Archive Gala: this looks great – a new BFI restoration of the film of the 1924 expedition.

Master of a dying art: an appropriately admiring profile by Daphnee Denis and Jessica Bal of the late Richard Aidala, chief projectionist at the Museum of Moving Image in New York.

• The history and science of color film – from Isaac Newton to the Coen brothers: another neatly informative and engaging 20-minute video from (go here for the full text with illustrations):

Skill Shot: how have I not come across this blog before? ‘A cataloging cinema’s love with the silver ball’, which means it is an exhaustive discussion of movies that feature pinball, however glancingly.

Humphrey Jennings, my father: lovely, lovely BFI blog post about the great filmmaker, writer, artist and photographer, written by his daughter, Marie-Louise Jennings.

Why dual-format?: Peter Becker for The Criterion Collection explains the logic behind the label’s decision to release titles as bundled DVDs and Blu-rays.

Even if you have to starve: do read Ian Penman on the ‘very British style’ of Mod, for the London Review of Books.

• Jazz fan, hipster and a leftwing hero; the remarkable journey of Stuart Hall: Tim Adams for The Observer on the cultural theorist and his influence, pegged to the forthcoming The Stuart Hall Project directed by John Akomfrah, which is released on 6 September.

There has never been a better time for TV criticism: Matt Zoller Seitz at Vulture:

If you appreciate good TV, this is a fantastic time to be alive. If you appreciate good writing about TV, ditto. There seems to be consensus on that first statement, but not so much on the second — at least if writers of thinkpieces are to be believed.

• Kill the leading man – two histories of twenty-first century television: from the Los Angeles Review of Books, Phillip Maciak on two recent books – by Brett Martin and Alan Sepinwall – about The Sopranos,The Wire and what followed…

Mad Men – the class: … including of course the tale of 1960s Madison Avenue – and this is Anne-Helen Petersen’s syllabus for her study class of the series (which I would love to be take).

Archives, Libraries and Databases – Fall 2013: … and here is another great-looking course, a graduate seminar series with Shannon Mattern at New York’s The New School.

Orhan Pamuk talks to Simon Schama: a terrific piece from the Financial Times – ‘I don’t like to make strong statements. I want to write strong novels… I keep my deep radical things for my novels.’

China – when the cats rule: Ian Johnson for The New York Review of Books on the remarkable novel Cat Country by Lao She, who committed suicide during the Cultural Revolution in 1966.

Names and faces: Anthony Lane in The New Yorker on the photographs of Julia Margaret Cameron.

The family plot – the Surratts versus Lincoln: from the Smithsonian’s Past Imperfect blog, David O. Stewart on the famous mother-and-son partnership in the conspiracy to assassinate the president.

In Herne Bay: for the London Review of Books, Brian Dillon on Marcel Duchamp’s 1913 visit to the Kent resort.

A Visit to the Armor Galleries: a thousand thanks to New York’s Metropolitan Museum for posting to YouTube this fascinating 1924 film made in their galleries by the institution – this is one of the very earliest films made by a significant cultural institution;

Chasing the White House Cezannes: this is a compelling article by Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight with a dark tale of eight great canvases, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

• Francis Bacon and Henry Moore – when opposites attract: Marina Vaizey for the Guardian is very good on the forthcoming show at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (12 September-19 January).

Azimov’s 2014 predictions were shockingly conservative for 1964: Matt Novak at the new home for his Paleofuture blog critiques the predictions that the great science fiction writer made almost fifty years ago: ‘There was nothing Asimov proposed in [the much-discussed New York Times] article that hadn’t already been promised by popular futurism of the 1950s and early ’60s.’

News of the world: Luke McKernan on Martin John Callanan’s online installation I wanted to see all of the news from today.

The Emergence of the Digital Humanities: Chapter 1 of the new book by Steven E. Jones. (just click it – and think of Mondrian at MoMA)

• Seamus Heaney, Digging: a short, simple, beautiful montage of the late poet reading one of his great works compiled from a selection of archive clips (via Slate) – watch and then read Neil Corcoran’s very fine Guardian obituary:


  1. Paul Tickell says:

    Yes, the Penman piece on Mod in the LRB is excellent, if I could second your recommendation, John… The broadsheets and most tv documentaries treat pop culture pretty shoddily these days – the unhappy knack of being both pious and superficial at the same time. Wearing his learning lightly Penman digs deep into Mod as well as well as giving pretty short shrift to its often risible legacy eg the Dad Rock of Paul Weller.

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