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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Literary History of the Studio System, 1911-1950
by Brower, Jordan, Ph.D., Yale University, 2016, 215; 10160850
Abstract (Summary)

For the past ninety years – beginning with Sinclair Lewis's claim in 1925 that John Dos Passos's Manhattan Transfer employed the "technique of the movie" – critical discussions of the relationship between film and literature have been dominated by what I call the "analogy thesis," whereby experiments in literary form are compared to cinematic elements such as montage, close-ups, and pans. "A Literary History of the Studio System, 1911-1950" breaks with that mode of analysis to argue that changes in the economic, institutional, legal, and social conditions of the Hollywood studio system fundamentally shaped contemporaneous literary production by American and English writers. This dissertation is therefore not only a work of literary criticism but also of Hollywood historiography; it offers new insights into the industry's golden age – its genesis and efflorescence, its solidification, its global extension, and its self-understood demise – by investigating the literature it influenced. In chapters that engage equally with archival materials and recent developments in literary and film theory, "A Literary History of the Studio System, 1911-1950" provides novel readings of prose works (F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!, Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano, James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, Horace McCoy's They Shoot Horses , Don't They, and Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust) and films (All About Eve, In a Lonely Place, Sunset Boulevard) of the first half of the twentieth century and sheds new light on Hollywood during its classical era.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dimock, Wai Chee, Connor, J.D.
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 78/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American literature, British and Irish literature, Film studies
Keywords: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hollywood, James M. Cain, Malcolm Lowry, Nathanael West, William Faulkner
Publication Number: 10160850
ISBN: 978-1-369-15745-1
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