Reality's Written Language

A Critical Anthology of Classical and Contemporary Film Theory (First Edition)
Edited with commentary by Jon Wagner and Denise Spampinato
©2018, 536 pages

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Reality's Written Language

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    2017 Graphic Design USA RecipientReality's Written Language: A Critical Anthology of Classical and Contemporary Film Theory combines fundamental sources in classical and contemporary film theory with extensive commentary to provide readers with tools for understanding the philosophical, aesthetic, and historical evolution of film and its cultural critique.

    The aim of the anthology is to make the critical complexity of film theory accessible to students, readers, and creators without oversimplifying its crucial demands. By encouraging the curiosity and confidence required to think critically, the book hopes to challenge easy dichotomies between theory and practice and to foster more articulate writing about film and more reflective filmmaking.

    The volume features seminal texts in classical theory from realism, formalism, classical Hollywood and genre evolution to auteurism and the art film, and follows with fundamental contemporary discourses of structuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, post-structuralism, and post-modernism.

    Extensively classroom-tested, the readings, the accompanying lecture commentary, and the filmographies are appropriate for advanced undergraduate courses in film theory and visual studies as well as stimulating for graduate study across the disciplines. The anthology is also rewarding to non-academic readers interested in cinema.

    Jon Wagner holds a Ph.D. from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California where he is a visiting professor of film theory. A scholar, translator, and poet, Dr. Wagner is a core professor of critical studies at California Institute of the Arts where he co-founded and directed the MFA Writing Program. He is currently completing a collaborative manuscript on the French poets Saint-John Perse and Yves Bonnefoy.
    Denise Spampinato earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine. She has worked as an international freelance curator and as an adjunct professor to programs in critical studies, art, and writing at Otis College of Art and Design, California Institute of the Arts, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of California, Irvine. A 2015-2016 Fulbright Fellow to Naples, Italy, Dr. Spampinato is completing a book centered on the dialectical relationship between city, cinema, and the cinematic in Naples as seen from the perspective of foreign visitors and local observers.
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    Reality's Written Language: A Critical Anthology of Classical and Contemporary Film Theory is the recipient of a 2017 Graphic Design USA American Inhouse Design Award. Learn more about the honor in the Cognella press release.