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BIC Excellence Award

Reading the Cinematograph
The Cinema in British Short Fiction, 1896-1912

Edited by Andrew Shail

Reading the Cinematograph
Hardback, 336 pages £75.00
Published: 2011
ISBN: 9780859898539
Format: 234mm x 156mm
Buy this Book

Paperback, 336 pages £22.50
Published: 2011
ISBN: 9780859898546
Format: 234mm x 156mm
Buy this Book

PDF, 336 pages £22.50
Published: 2015
ISBN: 9780859899420
Buy this Book

Subjects: Film History
Series: Exeter Studies in Film History

The birth of cinema coincided with the heyday of the short story. This book studies the relationship between popular magazine short stories and the very early British films. It pairs eight intriguing short stories on cinema with eight new essays unveiling the rich documentary value of the original fiction and using the stories as touchstones for a discussion of the popular culture of the period during which cinema first developed. The short stories are by authors ranging from the notable (Rudyard Kipling and Sax Rohmer) to the unknown (Raymond Rayne and Mrs. H.J. Bickle); their endearing tributes to the new cinematograph chart its development from unintentional witness to entertainment institution.

Contributions by
Stephen Bottomore, Jon Burrows, Stacy Gillis, Tom Gunning, Andrew Higson, Chris O'Rourke, Lise Shapiro Sanders, Andrew Shail and David Trotter

Reading the Cinematograph: Introduction, Andrew Shail

Story 1: Our Detective Story (24 January 1897) by Dagonet [George R. Sims]

Chapter 1: George R. Sims and the Film as Evidence, Stephen Bottomore

Story 2: The Awful Story of Heley Croft (20 May 1899) by A.S. Appelbee

Chapter 2: Cinema Re-Mystified: A.S. Appelbee's Technological Ghost Story, David Trotter and Chris O'Rourke

Story 3: Colonel Rankin's Advertisement (December 1901) by Raymond Rayne

Chapter 3: The Great American Kinetograph: News, Fakery and the Boer War, Andrew Shail

Story 4: Mrs Bathurst (September 1904) by Rudyard Kipling

Chapter 4: "The Very Thing": Rudyard Kipling's 'Mrs Bathurst', Tom Gunning

Story 5: The Green Spider (October 1904) by A[rthur Henry] Sarsfield Ward, a.k.a. Sax Rohmer

Chapter 5: 'Only from the Senses': Detection, Early Cinema and a Giant Green Spider, Stacy Gillis

Story 6: Romantic Lucy (Summer 1911) by Alphonse Courlander

Chapter 6: "She Had So Many Appearances": Alphonse Courlander and the Birth of the 'Moving Picture Girl, Jon Burrows

Story 7: Love and the Bioscope: A Heart-Thrilling Story of a Deserted Bride (8 June 1912) by Mrs H.J. Bickle

Chapter 7: Melodrama, Sensation and the Discourse of Modernity in 'Love and the Bioscope', Lise Shapiro Sanders

Story 8; The Sense of Touch (December 1912) by Ole Luk-Oie [Ernest Dunlop Swinton]

Chapter 8: A visit to the cinema in 1912: 'The Sense of Touch', Andrew Higson

'As entertaining as it is edifying, Reading the Cinematograph showcases the transformative presence - and role - of cinema in British short fiction at the turn of the twentieth century. Andrew Shail has devised a marvelous format for the occasion; eight stories, reprinted in full and accompanied by their original illustration, followed by valuable critical commentary by eminent film scholars, and framed by Shail's indispensable historical/ critical introduction and sure editorial hand. A work of impeccable and imaginative scholarship...'
Maria DiBattista, Professor of English and Chair of the Film Studies Committee, Princeton University, and author of Fast Talking Dames (Yale UP)


‘… the volume sustains an unbroken fascination with the wider implications of emergent cinematic technologies and modes of representation. It accurately reflects the widely felt cultural significances that were attributed to moving pictures and therefore will be valuable reading for cultural historians of the period as well as historians of cinema.’ (Victorian Studies. Volume 54, No. 5, Summer 2012)

Andrew Shail is Lecturer in Film at Newcastle University.

Reading the Cinematograph
Reading the Cinematograph - The Cinema in British Short Fiction, 1896-1912 - Paperback cover

Reading the Cinematograph
Reading the Cinematograph - The Cinema in British Short Fiction, 1896-1912 - Hardback cover

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 336 pages
 234mm x 156mm

 Paperback , 336 pages
 234mm x 156mm

 PDF , 336 pages

BIC Code:
  FIC029000, HIS015000, HIS018000, HIS054000, LIT000000, PER004030
 University of Exeter Press


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