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Clearly there is a unique hunger for Baldwin’s wisdom in this historical moment, as illustrated by Raoul Peck’s film, reprints of several Baldwin books, exhibits, and other events. This essay describes the genesis of two five-part public discussions on the works of James Baldwin that were co-facilitated by African-American Studies scholar Dr. Lindsey R. Swindall and actor Grant Cooper at two schools in New York City in the 2016–17 academic year. These discussion series led to numerous Baldwin discussion events being scheduled for the winter and spring of 2018. The surprising popularity of these programs prompted Swindall to wonder: Why do people want to discuss Baldwin now? The first of two parts, this essay speculates that many people in the digital age long for a conversational space like the one Baldwin created at the “welcome table” in his last home in France. The second essay—which is forthcoming—will confirm whether discussion events held in 2018 harmonize with the welcome table thesis.

James Baldwin Review

James Baldwin might be imagined as reaching his greatest level of popularity within this current decade. With the growth of social media activist movements like Black Lives Matter, which captures and catalyzes off a Baldwinian rage, and the publishing of works directly evoking Baldwin, his voice appears more pronounced between the years of 2013 and 2015. Scholars in Baldwin studies, along with strangers who were turned into witnesses of his literary oeuvre, have contributed to this renewed interest in Baldwin, or at least have been able to sharpen the significance of the phenomenon. Publications and performances highlight Baldwin’s work and how it prefigured developments in critical race and queer theories, while also demonstrating Baldwin’s critique as both prophetic and “disturbingly” contemporary. Emerging largely from Baldwin’s timelessness in social and political discourse, and from the need to conjure a figure to demystify the absurd American landscape, these interventions in Baldwin studies follow distinct trends. This essay examines the 2013–15 trends from four vantages: an examination of a return, with revision, to popular work by Baldwin; identifying Baldwin’s work as a contributor to theoretical and critical methodology; Baldwin and intertextuality or intervocality; and a new frontier in Baldwin studies.

James Baldwin Review

technologies of memory, such as film, enable individuals to experience, as if they were memories, events through which they themselves did not live. She cites the growing popularity of experiential museums, such as the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, of historical re-enactments, including the relatively recent D-Day celebrations, and of historical films such as Schindler’s List as evidence of a widespread

in Memory and popular film

… celebrities’ – at which point Sylvia Sims’s Queen Mother echoes ‘celebrities’ with an expression of incredulous distaste worthy of Edith Evans. But Sims is, of course, an actor of stage and screen. Notwithstanding her portrayal of royal disdain, the film is preoccupied by the same vulgar popularity that drives the narrative of its melodramatic ancestor, Mary Stuart . In Schiller

in The British monarchy on screen
Screening Victoria

Queen Victoria has been depicted on the screen on over a hundred occasions, by some of our leading actors. Her film depictions, while ostensibly about history, may also help to 'reorganise the present', in Pierre Sorlin's description. This chapter will assess the changing - and not so changing - ways in which Victoria has been represented on the screen. Victoria the Great (1937) and (the second version of) Sixty Glorious Years (1938) show the Queen as embodying the imperial consensus of the time. Yet those made after the outbreak of the People's War - such as The Prime Minister (1941) and The Mudlark (1950)- present the monarch as more concerned with her people's economic welfare, as the social democratic consensus emerges. Recent examples have pushed politics into the background and focused on Victoria's emotional life - as in Mrs. Brown (1997) and The Young Victoria (2009). Such works present the Queen as a victim of birth, tradition, politicians and popular expectations - and explore the personal tensions inherent in being the national figurehead. Yet, while increasingly portraying the personal dilemmas of a monarch caught within an unforgivinginstitution, these films also stress the central importance of the monarchy to the nation. Such dramatic licence might annoy historians, but it suggests a vigorous faith in a monarchy that allegedly transcends petty party politics and enjoys direct communion with the people. As such, film representations of Victoria bolster the continuing popularity of an inherently undemocratic institution.

in The British monarchy on screen
Contemporary ‘British’ cinema and the nation’s monarchs

by the mourners of Diana, Princess of Wales, in The Queen . In such moments of royal public presence, a vital bond is created between the body of the monarch, the royal family and the national family. What are negotiated in these stories are the power of popularity, and the symbolic status of the monarch as national figurehead. There is also an implicit renegotiation of the medieval

in The British monarchy on screen
Open Access (free)
New retro movies in 1990s Hollywood cinema

referentiality. However, as Stuart Tannock has noted, the politics of nostalgia has sharply divided critics. Jameson, for instance, largely takes a negative view, arguing that nostalgia and the popularity of retro is symptomatic of the problem of defining the current historical period and its distinctness. 16 His well-known argument is that the current period is experiencing a crisis in its sense of the present

in Memory and popular film
Open Access (free)
The King’s Speech as melodrama

ingratiation, which signifies a constitutional monarchy that has to struggle to retain its popularity, 29 he obviously find particularly distasteful, even though the real George V has been credited by some with modernising and thereby saving, even, the British monarchy. 30 This emphasis on the import of performance in modern leadership is made more heavy-handedly when Bertie and his family watch footage of Hitler

in The British monarchy on screen
A lost epic of the reign of Victoria

threatening to break box-office records between November 1913 and June 1914. Comments included ‘this film is going strong for creating a record’, ‘very big business has been done with Sixty Years a Queen ’, ‘ Sixty Years a Queen has met with a record reception’, ‘packed houses thrice daily and receipts constituted a record for the Palace’. 29 Some stressed the relative popularity

in The British monarchy on screen

film’s popularity owed much to strong performances and shrewd marketing, Korda had proved that historical dramas could bring in huge box-office returns: this would have significant impact upon the course taken by the British film industry. Simon Callow has argued that much of the credit should go to Laughton, for ‘It was he who instigated the passionate quest for authenticity; he who dragged Korda down to Hampton Court again

in The British monarchy on screen