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The Films of Stan Brakhage in the American Tradition of Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and Charles Olson

R. Bruce Elder

Hardcover 583 pp.

ISBN13: 978-0-88920-275-7

Release Date: January 1999


Hardcover edition is out of print.  

Paper 583 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-201-3

Release Date: August 2011

Online discount: 25%

$48.99  $36.74


Since the late 1950s Stan Brakhage has been in the forefront of independent filmmaking. His body of work — some seventy hours — is one of the largest of any filmmaker in the history of cinema, and one of the most diverse. Probably the most widely quoted experimental filmmaker in history, his films typify the independent cinema.

Until now, despite well-deserved acclaim, there has been no comprehensive study of Brakhage’s oeuvre. The Films of Stan Brakhage in the American Tradition fills this void. R. Bruce Elder delineates the aesthetic parallels between Brakhage’s films and a broad spectrum of American art from the 1920s through the 1960s.

This book is certain to stir the passions of those interested in artistic critique and interpretation in its broadest terms.

Filmmaker, author and critic, R. Bruce Elder inspires and enjoys debate. His films have been exhibited internationally and his polemical piece, “The Cinema We Need”, remains one of the most discussed pieces of writing on Canadian film. Elder has also produced a forty-two-hour film cycle entitled The Book of All the Dead. In 2007, R. Bruce Elder received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.


“Elder evidences a brilliant command of Brakhage’s immense filmography and a lifetime’s engagement with the poets he discusses....In every reading there are traces of the lessons Brakhage’s cinema can offer to open-minded an open-eyed artists. In fact, The films of Stan Brakhage is less an academic study than the enthusiastic and fully committed response of one filmmaker to another and to the modernist tradition they both share.”

— P. Adams Sitney, Princeton University, author of Visionary Films and Modernist Montage

“In R. Bruce Elder’s The Films of Stan Brakhage in the American Tradition of Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and Charles Olson, the link between Brakhage and the great poetic voices of the 20th century is persuasively established....Elder’s greatest accomplishment in this book is his ability to interweave varying disciplines so that the reader becomes acutely aware of the points of intersection between media. Despite its wide-ranging topic, The Films of Stan Brakhage is meticulously researched, remarkably lucid, and provides a compelling argument for Brakhage’s place alongside these great thinkers of the 20th century.”

— Christopher Luna, Rain Taxi

“This challenging and important work demands the attention of film historians, scholars, critics, theoreticians, and media and culture commentators. In addition to a select bibliography, there is a glossary, a filmography, and 58 pages of notes.”

— M. Wayne Cunningham, Canadian Book Review Annual