Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
American Documentary FilmProjecting the Nation$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jeffrey Geiger

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748621477

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621477.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Novelties, Spectacles and the Documentary Impulse

Novelties, Spectacles and the Documentary Impulse

(p.17) Chapter 1 Novelties, Spectacles and the Documentary Impulse
American Documentary Film

Jeffrey Geiger

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 1 looks at ‘authentic attractions’ and at phenomena that might be referred to as ‘documentary before documentary’. Though the documentary film had not yet formally come into being, one might discern a documentary ‘impulse’ in the combination of education, edification, sensation, and entertaining display encountered in sites such as the Midway Plaisance at the Chicago Exposition of 1893. This event brought together efforts to invoke a distinct American national identity through an amalgam of technologies, commercial ventures, cultural expectations, and ideological notions that fed into early cinema in the US, and into a popular taste for nonfiction actualities. The chapter moves on to examine films of the Edison Company, suggesting that rather than see these early films as ‘documents’ as opposed to fully fledged ‘documentaries’ we might consider how they lie at the heart of the documentary tradition, in no small part due to their interactions with a national imaginary.

Keywords:   World's Fairs, attractions, Eadweard Muybridge, Thomas Edison, early cinema, Biograph Company, actualities

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.