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Lady in the dark : Iris Barry and the art of film

Author: Robert Sitton
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, [2014]
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Iris Barry (1895-1969) was a pivotal modern figure and one of the first intellectuals to treat film as an art form, appreciating its far-reaching, transformative power. Although she had the bearing of an aristocrat, she was the self-educated daughter of a brass founder and a palm-reader from the Isle of Man. An aspiring poet, Barry attracted the attention of Ezra Pound and joined a demimonde of Bloomsbury figures,  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
History
Named Person: Iris Barry; Iris Barry; Iris Barry
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Robert Sitton
ISBN: 9780231165785 0231165781
OCLC Number: 861211096
Awards: Winner of PROSE Awards in Biography & Autobiography 2017
Commended for One of PopMatters's Best Books of 2014: Nonfiction 2014
Commended for One of The Huffington Post's Best Film Books of 2014 2014
Short-listed for Oregon Book Awards for the Frances Fuller Victor Award in General Nonfiction 2017
Long-listed for Kraszna-Krausz Book Award for Best Moving Image Book 2015
Description: xvii, 475 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Early years --
"We enjoyed the war" --
"Dear Miss Barry" --
The other Bloomsbury --
Life with Lewis --
Children --
Alan Porter --
The spectator --
Splashing into film society --
Cinema paragons, Hollywood and Lady Mary --
Let's go to the pictures --
Victory and defeat --
America --
The Askew Salon --
Museum men --
Remarriage --
Settling in --
Cracking Hollywood --
Art high and low --
On to Europe --
Going public --
The slow martyrdom of Alfred Barr --
Meanwhile, back at the library --
New work, old acquaintances --
"The master" and his minions --
Temora Farm --
The museum enlists --
Mr. Rockefeller's office --
L'affair Bunuel --
The other library --
Divorce --
Postwar blues --
Abbott's fall --
Hospital --
Departure --
La Bonne Font --
Things past --
The Austin house --
Readjustments --
New York and London --
Final breaks --
The end.
Responsibility: Robert Sitton.

Abstract:

Iris Barry (1895-1969) was a pivotal modern figure and one of the first intellectuals to treat film as an art form, appreciating its far-reaching, transformative power. Although she had the bearing of an aristocrat, she was the self-educated daughter of a brass founder and a palm-reader from the Isle of Man. An aspiring poet, Barry attracted the attention of Ezra Pound and joined a demimonde of Bloomsbury figures, including Ford Maddox Ford, T.S. Eliot, Arthur Waley, Edith Sitwell, and William Butler Yeats. She fell in love with Pound's eccentric fellow Vorticist, Wyndham Lewis, and had two children by him. In London, Barry pursued a career as a novelist, biographer, and critic of motion pictures. In America, she joined the modernist Askew Salon, where she met Alfred Barr, director of the new Museum of Modern Art. There she founded the museum's film department and became its first curator, assuring film's critical legitimacy. She convinced powerful Hollywood figures to submit their work for exhibition, creating a new respect for film and prompting the founding of the International Federation of Film Archives. Barry continued to augment MoMA's film library until World War II, when she joined the Office of Strategic Services to develop pro-American films with Orson Welles, Walt Disney, John Huston, and Frank Capra. Yet despite her patriotic efforts, Barry's "foreignness" and association with such filmmakers as Luis Buñuel made her the target of an anticommunist witch hunt. She eventually left for France and died in obscurity. Drawing on letters, memorabilia, and other documentary sources, Robert Sitton reconstructs Barry's phenomenal life and work while recasting the political involvement of artistic institutions in the twentieth century.

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Sitton's book is chock full of fascinating detail and tells a compelling story about an unusual character, a woman who built institutions and contributed to a way of thinking about film that we take Read more...

 
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