Early Cinema: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Early Cinema

1st Edition

Edited by Richard Abel


1,751 pages

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Hardback: 9780415576086
pub: 2013-09-23
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Especially over the past thirty years, serious research on early cinema has blossomed as never before. This rapid growth has included the establishment of international organizations such as Domitor (founded in 1987), with its biannual conferences; film festivals such as Le Giorante del cinema muto (established in Pordenone, Italy, in 1984); the centenary celebrations of cinema’s emergence (in 1994–6); and a host of publications, culminating with the release by Routledge of the Encyclopedia of Early Cinema (2005) (reissued in a revised paperback edition in 2010).

Early Cinema is a new title in Routledge’s Major Works series, Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies. It meets the need for an authoritative reference work to enable users to navigate and make sense of the subject’s large literature and the continuing explosion in research output. Edited with the assistance of an international board of consultants by Richard Abel, a leading scholar in the field, this collection brings together in four volumes the foundational and the very best cutting-edge scholarship on early cinema.

Early Cinema includes a full index and a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor, which places the collected material in its historical and intellectual context. It is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by scholars and advanced students of film studies as a vital research tool.

Table of Contents

Volume I: Theory and Methodology

Historiographical Methods

1. Musser, ‘Toward a History of Screen Practice’, Quarterly Review of Film Studies, 1984, 9, 1, 59–69.

2. Sklar, ‘Oh! Althusser!: Historiography and the Rise of Cinema Studies’, in Sklar and Musser (eds.), Resisting Images: Essays on Cinema and History (Temple, 1990), pp. 12–35.

3. Bottomore, ‘Introduction: The Cambrian Cinema’, Film History, 1998, 10, 1, 3–7.

4. Elsaesser, ‘Writing and Rewriting Film History: Terms of a Debate’, Cinéma & cie, 2001, 1, 24–33.

5. Gaudreault and Marion, ‘A Medium Is Always Born Twice …’, Early Popular Visual Culture, 2005, 3, 1, 3–15.

6. Mottahedeh, ‘Collection and Recollection: On Studying the Early History of Motion Pictures in Iran’, Early Popular Visual Culture, 2008, 6, 2, 103–20.

7. Bertellini, ‘Afterword: "A Mirror With a Memory"’, Italy in Early American Cinema: Race, Landscape, and the Picturesque (Indiana, 2010), pp. 276–91, 360–6.

8. Dall’Asta, ‘What it Means to Be a Woman: Theorizing Feminist Film History Beyond the Essentialism/Constructionism Divide’, in Bull and Söderbergh Widding, Not So Silent: Women in Cinema before Sound (2010), pp. 39–47.

9. Gerow, ‘Introduction’, Visions of Japanese Modernity (California, 2010), pp. 1–8, 25–9, 235–6, 240–1.

Archaeology of Cinema

10. Gunning, ‘Introduction’ to Mannoni, The Great Art of Light and Shadow: Archaeology of the Cinema, trans. Richard Crangle (Exeter, 2000), pp. xix–xxx.

11. Komatsu, ‘Moving Images on the Screen Before Cinema in Japan’, KINtop, 1997, 7, 153–62.

12. Braun, ‘Chronophotography’, in Mathews (ed.), Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film, 1880–1910 (Hudson Hills, 2005), pp. 95–9.

13. Solomon, ‘An Anti-Spiritualist Medium: Stage Magic and the Beginnings of Cinema’, Disappearing Tricks (Illinois, 2010), pp. 11–27.

Early Cinema and Modernity

14. Gunning, ‘An Aesthetics of Astonishment: Early Cinema and the (In)credulous Spectator’, Art & Text, 1989, 34, 31–45.

15. Zhang, ‘Worldly Shanghai, Metropolitan Spectators’, An Amorous History of the Silver Screen: Shanghai Cinema, 1896–1937 (Chicago, 2005), pp. 52–69, 365–8.

16. Musser, ‘A Cinema of Contemplation, A Cinema of Discernment: Spectatorship, Intertextuality and Attractions in the 1890s’, in Strauven (ed.), The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded (Amsterdam, 2006), pp. 159–79.

17. Singer, ‘The Ambimodernity of Early Cinema: Problems and Paradoxes in the Film-and-Modernity Discourse’, in Ligensa and Kerimeier (eds.), Film 1900: Technology, Perception, Culture (John Libbey, 2009), pp. 37–51.

18. Schlüpmann, ‘Introduction: On the Secret Complicity between Cinematography and Women’s Emancipation in Wilhelminian Society’, The Uncanny Gaze: The Drama of Early German Cinema (Illinois, 2010), pp. 1–22, 221–5.

Star System

19. deCordova, ‘Introduction’, Picture Personalities: The Emergence of the Star System in America (Illinois, 1990), pp. 1–22.

20. Bean, ‘Technologies of Early Stardom and the Extraordinary Body’, in Bean and Negra (eds.), A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema (Duke, 2002), pp. 404–32, 437–42.

21. Loiperdinger, ‘Abgründen in Germany: Monopolfilm, Cinemagoing and the Emergence of the Film Star Asta Nielsen, 1910–1911’, in Biltereyst, Maltby, and Meers (eds.), Cinema, Audiences and Modernity (Routledge, 2011), pp. 143–53.

Audiences and Spectatorship

22. Hansen, ‘Early Silent Cinema: Whose Public Sphere?’, New German Critique, 1983, 29, 147–84.

23. Tsivian, ‘Russia, 1913: Cinema in the Cultural Landscape’, Griffithiana, 1994, 50, 125–47.

24. Hiley, ‘"At the Picture Palace": The British Cinema Audience, 1895–1920’, in Fullerton (ed.), Celebrating 1895 (John Libbey, 1998), pp. 96–103.

25. Luckett, ‘Advertising and Femininity: The Case of Our Mutual Girl’, Screen, 1999, 40, 4, 363–83.

26. ‘Editorial: Emilie Altenloh’s A Sociology of the Cinema’ [1914], Screen, 2001, 42, 3, 245–8.

27. Allen, ‘Decentering Historical Audience Studies’, in Fuller-Seeley (ed.), Hollywood in the Neighborhood (California 2008), pp. 20–33.

Volume II: Industry Developments

28. Technology Malkames, ‘The 35mm Motion Picture Camera from the Beginnings to the 1920s’, SMPTE Journal, 1981, 90, 503–7.

29. Thompson, ‘Standardizing Lighting Instruments’, in The Classical Hollywood Cinema (BFI/Columbia, 1985), pp. 270–5.

30. Belton, ‘The Shape of Things to Come’, Widescreen Cinema (Harvard 1992), pp. 13–33, 234–43.

31. Paul, ‘Uncanny Theater: The Twin Inheritances of the Movies’, Paradoxa, 1997, 3, 3/4, 327–39.

32. O’Brien, ‘Sound-on-Disc Cinema and Electrification in Pre-WWI Britain, France, Germany and the United States’, in Abel et al., Early Cinema and the ‘National’ (John Libbey, 2008), pp. 42–51.

33. Read, ‘"Unnatural Colours": An Introduction to Colouring Techniques in Silent Era Movies’, Film History, 2009, 21, 1, 9–20, 28–30.

34. Cherchi Usai et al., ‘Earl Films in the Age of Content; Or, "Cinema of Attractions" Pursued by Digital Means’ (2012).

35. Production Barnes, ‘Pioneers of Cinematography in Brighton: 1897’, in Holman (ed.), Cinema 1900–1906: An Analytical Study I (FIAF, 1982), pp. 93–9.

36. Abel, ‘In the Belly of the Beast: The Early Years of Pathé-Frères’, Film History, 1993, 5, 4, 364–70, 372–4, 379–83.

37. Musser, ‘Pre-Classical American Cinema: Changing Modes of Film Production’, in Abel (ed.), Silent Film (Rutgers, 1995), pp. 85–108.


38. Quinn, ‘Distribution, the Transient Audience, and the Transition to the Feature Film’, Cinema Journal, 2001, 40, 2, 35–56.

39. Blom, ‘Introduction’, Jean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade (Amsterdam University Press, 2003), pp. 19–36.

40. Yangirov, ‘Censorship and Film Distribution in Russia, 1908–1914’, in Kessler and Verhoeff (eds.), Networks of Entertainment (John Libbey, 2007), pp. 77–84.

41. Abel, ‘The "Backbone of the Business"’, in Kessler and Verhoef (eds.), Networks of Entertainment (John Libbey, 2007), pp. 85–93.

42. Exhibition Toulmin, ‘The Importance of the Programme in Early Film Presentation’, KINtop, 2002, 11, 19–33.

43. Barnard, ‘The "Machine Operator": Deus ex Machina of the Storefront Cinema’, Framework, 2002, 43, 1, 40–63, 71–5.

44. Abel, ‘Patchwork Maps of Moviegoing, 1911–1913’, in Maltby et al. (eds.), Going to the Movies (Exeter, 2007), pp. 94–112, 410–13.

45. Garncarz, ‘Perceptional Environments for Films: The Development of Cinema in Germany, 1895–1914’, in Ligensa and Kreimeier (eds.), Film 1900: Technology, Perception, Culture (John Libbey, 2009), pp. 141–50.

46. Mahadevan, ‘Traveling Showmen, Makeshift Cinemas: The Bioscopewallah and Early Cinema History in India’, BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, 2010, 1, 1, 27–47.

Regulation and Censorship

47. Abel, ‘Booming the Film Business: The Historical Specificity of Early French Cinema’, French Cultural Studies, 1990, 1, 1, 80, 83, 86–94.

48. Olsson, ‘Magnified Discourse: Screenplays and Censorship in Swedish Cinema of the 1910s’, in Fullerton (ed.), Celebrating 1895: The Centenary of Cinema (John Libbey, 1998), pp. 239–52.

49. Grieveson, ‘Not Harmless Entertainment: State Censorship and Cinema in the Transitional Era’, in Keil and Stamp, America’s Transitional Era (2004), pp. 268–84.

50. Gerow, ‘Zigomar and the Problem of Cinema’, Visions of Japanese Modernity, 2010, 52–65, 248–52.


51. Azlant, ‘Screenwriting for the Early Silent Film: Forgotten Pioneers, 1897–1911’, Film History, 1997, 9, 3, 228–56.

52. Raynauld, ‘Original Screenplays, Collections, and Writing Practices in France Between 1896 and 1918’, Film History, 1997, 9, 3, 257–68.

53. Alovisio, ‘Introduction’, Voci del silenzio. La sceneggiatura del cinema muto italiano (Milan, 2007), pp. 9–18, 21–2 (newly translated for this collection by Rhiannon Welch).

Volume III: Filmic Developments

Early Cinema and the Arts

54. Blom, ‘Quo Vadis? From Painting to Cinema and Everything in Between’, in Quaresima and Vichi (eds.), The Tenth Muse (Forum, 2001), pp. 281–92.

55. Christie, ‘Before the Avant-Gardes: Artists and Cinema, 1910–1914’, in Quaresima and Vichi (eds.), The Tenth Muse (Forum, 2001), pp. 367–77.

56. Lack, ‘First Encounters: French Literature and the Cinematograph’, Film History, 2008, 20, 3, 133–43.

Early Cinema and Popular Entertainments

57. Lacassin, ‘The Éclair Film Company and European Popular Literature from 1907 to 1919’, Griffithiana, 1993, 47, 61–87.

58. Bottomore, ‘The Cartoon Background’ and ‘Cartoons and Early Film: A Two-Way Street’, in Bottomore (ed.), I Want to See This Annie Mattygraph: A Cartoon History of the Coming of the Movies (Le Giornate del cinema muto, 1995), pp. 22–34.

59. Rossell, ‘Double Think: The Cinema and Magic Lantern Culture’, in Fullerton (ed.), Celebrating 1895 (John Libbey, 1998), pp. 27–36.

60. Allen, ‘"A Decided Sensation": Cinema, Vaudeville, and Burlesque’, in McDonnell (ed.), On the Edge of Your Seat: Popular Theater and Film in Early Twentieth-Century American Art (Yale, 2002), pp. 64–9, 72–7, 79–89.

61. Ozen, ‘Visual Representation of Propaganda: Early Films and Postcards in the Ottoman Empire, 1895–1914’, Early Popular Visual Culture, 2008, 6, 2, 145–57.

62. Film Style Gartenberg, ‘Camera Movement in Edison and Biograph Films, 1900–1906’, in Holman (ed.), Cinema 1900/1906: An Analytic Study (FIAF, 1982), pp. 169–80.

63. Salt, ‘The Physician of the Castle’, Sight & Sound, 1985, 54, 284–5.

64. Brewster, ‘Deep Staging in French Films, 1900–1914’, in Elsaesser and Barker (eds.), Early Cinema: Space/Frame/Narrative (BFI, 1990), pp. 45–55.

65. Mayer, ‘Which Legacy of the Theatre? Acting in Silent Film: Some Questions and Some Problems’, in Krämer and Lovell (eds.), Screen Acting (Routledge, 1999), pp. 10–30.

66. Gaudreault, ‘Fragmentation of Assemblage in the Lumière Animated Pictures’, Film History, 2001, 13, 1, 76–88.

Fiction Genres

67. Robinson, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Clowns’, Sight & Sound, 1987, 56, 198–203.

68. Gaudreault, ‘Theatricality, Narrativity, and "Trickality": Re-Evaluating the Cinema of Georges Méliès’, Journal of Popular Film and Television, 1987, 15, 3, 110–19.

69. Schulze, ‘D. G. Phalke’s Raja Harischandra in British India of 1913: Pioneering a National Cinema Under Colonial Rule’, KINtop, 1992, 3, 173–89.

70. Simmon, ‘"The Female of the Species": D. W. Griffith, Father of the Woman’s Film’, Film Quarterly, 1992/3, 46, 2, 8–20.

71. Gunning, ‘Attractions, Detection, Disguise: Zigomar, Jasset and the History of Genres in Early Film’, Griffithiana, 1993, 47, 111–35.

72. Levy, ‘Re-Constituted Newsreels, Re-Enactments and the American Narrative Film’, in Holman (ed.), Cinema 1900–1906: An Analytical Study (FIAF, 1982), pp. 243–58.

73. Convents, ‘Documentaries and Propaganda Before 1914: A View on Early Cinema and Colonial History’, Framework, 1988, 35, 104–13.

74. Lefebvre, ‘The Scientia Production (1911–1914): Scientific Popularization Through Pictures’, Griffithiana, 1993, 47, 137–55.

75. McKernan, ‘Sport and the First Films’, in Williams (ed.), Cinema: The Beginnings and the Future (Westminster, 1996), pp. 107–16.

76. Bottomore, ‘From Factory Gate to the "Home Talent" Drama: An International Overview of Local Films in the Silent Era’, in Toulmin et al. (eds.), The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon (BFI, 2004), pp. 33–48.

77. Peterson, ‘Travelogues and Early Nonfiction Film: Education in the School of Dreams’, in Keil and Stamp, America’s Transitional Era (2004), pp. 191–213.

78. Altman, ‘Film Sound—All of It’, iris, 1999, 27, 31–41.

79. Bottomore, ‘An International Survey of Sound Effects in Early Cinema’, Film History, 1999, 11, 4, 485–98.

80. Gunning, ‘The Scene of Speaking: Two Decades of Discovering the Film Lecturer’, iris, 1999, 27, 67–79.

81. Komatsu and Loden, ‘Mastering the Mute Image: The Role of the Benshi in Japanese Cinema’, iris, 1997, 22, 33–52.

82. Loiperdinger, ‘German tonbilder of the 1900s’, in Ligensa and Kerimeier (eds.), Film 1900: Technology, Perception, Culture (John Libbey, 2009), pp. 187–200.

Volume IV: Primary sources

83. Dickson, ‘Wonders of the Kinetoscope’, Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly, 1895, 39, 2, 245–51.

84. Gorky, ‘The Lumière Cinematograph’, Nizhegorodskii listok (4 July 1896), translated in Christie and Taylor (eds.), The Film Factory (Harvard, 1988), pp. 25–6.

85. Aubray, ‘Devant le cinématographe’, Lettres à ma cousine (Paris, 1897), translated in Film History, 2008, 20, 2, 146–7.

86. Jenkins, Animated Pictures: An Exposition of the Historical Development of Chronophotography (Jenkins, 1898), pp. 1–4, 45–75.

87. Matuszewski, A New Source of History. Animated Photography: What It Is, What It Should Be [1898] (Filmoteka Narodowa, 1999).

88. Stead, ‘The Mission of the Cinematograph’, The Americanisation of the World (London, 1901), pp. 174–82.

89. ‘An Unexploited Field and Its Possibilities: A Chance for Good Exhibitions’, Views and Films Index (6 October 1906), 3–4.

90. Méliès, ‘Les vues cinématographiques’, Annuaire general et international de la photographie (Plon, 1907), translated in Abel, French Film Theory and Criticism, 1907–1929 (Princeton, 1988), pp. 35–47.

91. Tille, ‘Kinema’ [1908], Framework, 1981, 15/16/17, 1–6.

92. Collier, ‘Cheap Amusements’, Charities and Commons, 1908, 20, 73–6.

93. Thovez, ‘L’arte di celluloide’, La Stampa, 29 July 1908, 3 (translated).

94. Pierce, ‘The Nickelodeon’, The World To-day (15 October 1908), 1052–7.

95. ‘Earmarks of Makers’, New York Dramatic Mirror (14 November 1908), 10.

96. Palmer, ‘The World in Motion’, Survey, 1909, 22, 10, 355–65.

97. Addams, ‘The House of Dreams’, The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (Macmillan, 1909), pp. 75–103.

98. Lux Graphicus, ‘On the Screen’, Moving Picture World (25 December 1909), 918–19.

99. Anon, ‘The Moving Picture and the National Character’, Review of Reviews, 1910, 315–20.

100. Snow, ‘The Workingman’s College’, Moving Picture World (27 August 1910), 458.

101. Inglis, ‘Morals and Moving Pictures’, Harper’s Weekly (30 July 1910), 12–13.

102. Romains, ‘La foule au cinématographe’, Les Puissances de Paris (Figuière, 1911), translated in Abel, French Film Theory and Criticism, 1907–1929 (Princeton, 1988), p. 53.

103. Guy, ‘In a Biograph Theatre. Humour, Pathos, and Sensation on the Film’, Strand Magazine, February 1911, 41, 156–61.

104. Vorse, ‘Some Picture Show Audiences’, Outlook (24 June 1911), 411–17.

105. Hulfish, ‘Motion Picture Theater’, Cyclopedia of Motion-Picture Work (American Technical Society, 1911), pp. 173–210.

106. Canudo, ‘The Birth of a Sixth Art’ [1911], translated in Abel, French Film Theory and Criticism, 1907–1929 (Princeton, 1988), pp. 58–66.

107. Talbot, ‘Trick Pictures and How They Are Produced’, Moving Pictures: How They Are Made and Worked (Lippincott, 1912), pp. 250–70.

108. Adams, ‘In Union is Strength’, Chicago Defender (24 February 1912), 6, reprinted in Lant (ed.), The Red Velvet Seat (Verso, 2006), p. 91.

109. Irzykowski, ‘Death of the Cinematograph’ [1913], Film History, 1998, 10, 4, 453–8.

110. Lukács, ‘Thoughts on an Aesthetic for the Cinema’ [1913], Framework, 1981, 14, 2–4.

111. D’Annunzio, ‘Del cinematografo considerato come uno strumento di liberazione e come arte di transfigurazione’, Corriere della Sera (28 February 1914), in Cherchi Usai, Giovanni Pastrone (Turin, 1986), pp. 115–22 (newly translated for this collection by Rhiannon Welch).

112. Gonda Yasunosuke, ‘The Principles and Applications of the Moving Pictures (1914)’, translated by Aaron Gerow, Review of Japanese Culture and Society, 2010, 22, 24–36.

113. Price, ‘Sees the Movies as Great, New Field for Women Folk’, Toledo News-Bee (30 March 1914), 14.

114. Schoenbaum, ‘Screens’, Motion Picture News (2 May 1914), 21–2, 42.

115. Blaché, ‘Woman’s Place in Photoplay Production’, Moving Picture World (11 July 1914), 195.

116. Todd, ‘Moving Pictures vs. the Saloon’, Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, 1914, 5, 4, 485.

117. Tanizaki, ‘The Present and Future of Moving Pictures’ [1917], in Lamarre, Shadows on the Screen (Center for Japanese Studies, 2005), pp. 65–74.

118. Arte, ‘Mr D. G. Phalke and His "Hindustan Cinema Films"’, Modern Review, May 1918, 516–19.


119. Normand, ‘Devant le cinematographe/In Front of the Cinemtograph’, L’Illustration (24 February 1900), translated in Soldiers of the Queen (March 1995), 18–21.

120. Coleman, ‘Girgenti, Italy’, Views and Films Index (2 November 1907), 5.

121. Fabbri, Al Cinematografo [Milan 1907] (Rome, 1993).

122. Apollinaire, ‘A Great Film’ [1907], trans. Roger Shattuck, Selected Writings of Guillaume Apollinaire (New Directions, 1971), pp. 238–41.

123. Loos, ‘The Moving Picture of Blinkville’, Moving Picture News (9 July 1910), 5–6.

124. Glass, ‘The Moving Picture Writes’, Saturday Evening Post (6 January 1912).

125. Howe, ‘The Passing of O’Sullivan’s Saloon’, Photoplay (March 1912), 45–8.

126. Milne, ‘Mr. Punch’s Holiday Film’, Punch (8 July 1914), 48–50.

127. Pirandello, Shoot! The Notebooks of Serafinao Gruffio, Cinematograph Operator [Milan, 1915], translated by Moncrieff (Chicago, 2006), pp. 3–9, 49–57, 67–9


128ff. Approximately 40 pages of cartoons.

About the Series

Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies

This extensive series from Routledge Major Works draws upon a broad range of academic interest within the diverse field of Media and Cultural Studies. The series explores key areas of research, such as Advertising and Radio and shines a spotlight on the study of Cinema, with collections analyzing the cinema of various geographic areas, including French Cinema and Chinese Cinema.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies