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Romantics and Modernists in British Cinema$
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John Orr

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640140

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640140.001.0001

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Introduction: romantics versus modernists?

Introduction: romantics versus modernists?

(p.1) Introduction: romantics versus modernists?
Romantics and Modernists in British Cinema

John Orr

Edinburgh University Press

If there is a clash between romanticism and modernism in what is called ‘British’ cinema, it is as much internal as external. Most great directors in Britain are romantics to some degree and modernists to another. In film, paradoxically, the great British romantics like Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, Carol Reed and Ian Powell have often worked though classical ‘invisible’ narration and under tight censorship: the great romantic films invoke war and its aftermath or the end of Empire and frame within them the romantic ironies of personal passion. A film in which the romantic the modern fluidly intersect is Patrick Keiller's documentary fiction London (1994). This book explores the twentieth-century history of the relationship between romanticism and modernism in British cinema starting at the end of the silent era in 1929, stops deliberately in the year 2000 with Terence Davies' The House of Mirth, then starts again with a postscript in the new century.

Keywords:   romanticism, modernism, Britain, cinema, directors, censorship, romantic films, Terence Davies, The House of Mirth, London

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