The Great Art Of Light And Shadow
Archaeology of the Cinema
By Laurent Mannoni Edited by Richard Crangle Translated by Richard Crangle
Subjects: Film History
Widely regarded by historians of the early moving picture as the best work yet published on pre-cinema, The Great Art of Light and Shadow: Archaeology of the Cinema throws light on a fascinating range of optical media from the twelfth century to the turn of the twentieth. First published in French in 1994 and now translated into English, Laurent Mannoni's account projects a broad picture of the subject area now known as 'pre-cinema'.
Starting from the earliest uses of the camera obscura in astronomy and entertainment, Mannoni discusses, among many other devices, the invention and early years of the magic lantern in the seventeenth century, the peepshows and perspective views of the eighteenth century, and the many weird and wonderful nineteenth-century attempts to recreate visions of real life in different ways and forms. This fully-illustrated and accessible account of a strange mixture of science, magic, art and deception introduces to an English-speaking readership many aspects of pre-cinema history from other European countries
Contents: Part 1 The dreams of the eye: dark rooms and magic mirrors; light in the darkness; the "Lantern of Fear" tours the world. Part 2 Triumphant illusions: magie lumineuse in the country and the city; "Life and Motion" The 18th-century lantern slide; the phantasmagoria; from panorama to daguerreotype. Part 3 2The pencil of nature": the pirouette of the dancer; the "vital question" resolved?; great expectations; the magic lantern - a sovereign and her subjects. Part 4 Inscribing movement: the passage of Venus and the galloping horse; Marey releases the dove; the big wheel of little mirrors; Edison and his "films through the keyhole"; the labourers of the eleventh hour. Appendices: Museums displaying interesting items relating to the history of "pre-cinema" media; report of the scientists Jamin and Richer on the phantasmagorie of Robertson and the Phantasmaparastasie of Clisorius (17 July - 2 August 1800).
"If there is one book to use as a starting-point for an understanding of the history of image projection, and how pictures came to move, this is the book. Written in a clear and thoughtful style, maintained in an elegantly sympathetic translation by Richard Crangle."
(Living Pictures: The Journal of the Popular and Projected Image before 1914, Vol. 1:3, 2001)
"Richard Crangle's technical understanding is evident throughout . . . And the result is peerless . . . It has taken a great many years to create a widespread understanding that screen techniques did not start with 1895 and the Lumières. In this contribution to that understanding Laurent Mannoni tackles, with resounding success, a myriad of related media techniques, spanning half a millennium. To quote David Robinson's Foreward, this is 'no cold, dry, academic study, but a pulsing, vital chronicle'."
(The New Magic Lantern Journal, Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter 2001)
"A fine book, in my opinion the best 'pre-cinema' book ever written."
(Tom Gunning, University of Chicago)
Laurent Mannoni is Curator of the equipment collection of the Cinémathèque Française. Richard Crangle is a freelance researcher and writer and formerly Assistant Director, Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture, University of Exeter.
New Titles List
Exeter Studies in Film History
- 'Film Europe' And 'Film America' - Cinema, Commerce and Cultural Exchange 1920-1939
- Alternative Empires - European Modernist Cinemas and Cultures of Imperialism
- Alternative Film Culture in Interwar Britain
- The Big Show - British Cinema Culture in the Great War (1914-1918)
- British Cinema and Middlebrow Culture in the Interwar Years
- Charles Urban - Pioneering the Non-Fiction Film in Britain and America, 1897 - 1925
- A Chorus Of Raspberries - British Film Comedy 1929-1939
- Going to the Movies - Hollywood and the Social Experience of Cinema
- The Great Art Of Light And Shadow - Archaeology of the Cinema
- Hollywood, Westerns And The 1930S - The Lost Trail
- Legitimate Cinema - Theatre Stars in Silent British Films, 1908-1918
- Marketing Modernity - Victorian Popular Shows and Early Cinema
- Multimedia Histories - From Magic Lanterns to Internet
- Parallel Tracks - The Railroad and Silent Cinema
- A Paul Rotha Reader
- Popular Filmgoing in 1930s Britain - A Choice of Pleasures
- Reading the Cinematograph - The Cinema in British Short Fiction, 1896-1912
- The World According To Hollywood,1918-1939
- Young And Innocent? - The Cinema in Britain, 1896-1930