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‘Will there ever be an end to the supply of books about Alfred Hitchcock?’, pleaded the Times Literary Supplement in 2008. It is a fair question for, as Michael Walker pointed out in Hitchcock’s Motifs, more has been written about Hitchcock (1899–1980) than any other film director. Indeed, Jane E. Sloan’s 1993 Hitchcock bibliography revealed that well over seventy-five scholarly books and nearly 1,000 articles had been published by 1990; and those figures have, of course, continued inexorably to rise.
So, while the prospective viewer of Vertigo or Rear Window is likely to feel a compelling need for some preparation before consuming the film itself, the daunting quantity (and variable quality) of Hitchcock criticism makes it difficult to discriminate the useful from the tendentious, superficial, and otiose. That is why this new Routledge title, compiled by Neil Badmington, is so urgently needed. In four volumes, the collection meets the need for an authoritative reference work to allow researchers and students to make sense of the vast Hitchcock literature and the continuing explosion in research output. Users will now be able easily and rapidly to locate the best and most influential critical scholarship, work that is otherwise often inaccessible or scattered throughout a variety of specialist journals and books. With material gathered into one easy-to-use set, researchers and students can now spend more of their time with the key journal articles, book chapters, and other pieces, rather than on time-consuming (and sometimes fruitless) archival searches.
The collection is supplemented with a comprehensive introduction newly written by the editor, which places the collected material in its historical and intellectual context. It is also fully indexed and includes an expertly compiled ‘Thematic Guide’ to enable users readily to discover and follow thematic pathways through the assembled works. Alfred Hitchcock is an essential reference work and is destined to be valued as a vital research resource.