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Personal Views

Explorations in Film, Revised Edition

Robin Wood

Film Theory and Criticism

Published: July 2006
ISBN: 9780814332788
Pages: 440 Size: 5.25 x 7.5
Illustrations: 14 b&w illus.
Published: July 2006
ISBN: 9780814340066

Wood is one of the truly individual critics of our time, and Personal Views remains among his greatest accomplishments.

— Film International

Robin Wood, the renowned scholarly critic and writer on film, has prepared a new introduction and added three essays to his classic text Personal Views. This important book contains essays on a wide range of films and filmmakers and considers questions of the nature of film criticism and the critic. Wood, the proud "unreconstructed humanist," offers in this collection persuasive arguments for the importance of art, creativity, and personal response and also demonstrates these values in his analyses.

Personal Views is the only book on cinema by Wood never to have been published in the United States.
It contains essays on popular Hollywood directors such as Howard Hawks, Vincente Minnelli, and Leo McCarey; as well as pieces on recognized auteurs like Max Ophuls, Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, and Josef von Sternberg; and essays on art-film icons Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Kenji Mizoguchi. The writings that make up Personal Views appeared duing a pivotal time in both film studies-during its academic institutionalization-and in the author's life. Throughout this period of change, Wood remained a stalwart anchor of the critical discipline, using theory without being used by it and always staying attentive to textual detail.

Wood's overall critical project is to combine aesthetics and ideology in understanding films for the ultimate goal of enriching our lives individually and together. This is a major work to be read and reread not just by film scholars and students of film but by anyone with an interest in twentieth-century culture.

Robin Wood is a founding editor of CineAction! and the author of numerous works, including Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan (Columbia, 1985) and Sexual Politics and Narrative Film: Hollywood and Beyond (Columbia, 1998). He is professor emeritus at York University, Toronto, and the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Cinema Studies.

Personal Views reminds us on every page that Robin Wood has always been, as he still is, a great film critic who unfailingly connects films and ideas in unexpected and provocative ways. These essays exemplify the value of thinking critically about movies, the ways we experience them, and their impact on society and culture."

– Wiliam Rothman, professor of motion pictures and director of the graduate program in film studies at the University of Miami and author of Hitchcock: The Murderous Gaze, The "I" of the Camera, and Documentary Film Classics

Few serious thinkers about cinema have been untouched by Robin Wood's singular insights. These strikingly varied, richly rewarding essays demonstrate the ongoing importance of his deeply felt yet rigorously argued views, reaffirming and revitalizing his commitment to film criticism as an exacting, eclectic, and ultimately indispensable art."

– David Sterritt, author of Guiltless Pleasures and chairman of the National Society of Film Critics

Concerned mostly with film, but also with literature, music, and pedagogy, this long-lost book of humanistic criticism integrates aesthetics, morals, and politics in a set of precise, resonant analyses of Welles, Hawks, Mizoguchi, Tolstoy, and others, while vividly challenging the hegemony of theory."

– Bruce Kawin, author of Mindscreen and The Mind of the Novel and professor of English and film at the University of Colorado at Boulder

Wood is one of the truly individual critics of our time, and Personal Views remains among his greatest accomplishments."

– Film International

Robin Wood's Personal Views reminds us that experience is never out of date. His essays-erudite, mature, and carefully styled-strike me again today with the freshness and the depth of the films that so took hold of him. I'm grateful for what he has felt and for such candid reflection on those feelings."

– Dudley Andrew, R. Selden Rose Professor of Film and Comparative Literature at Yale University