Off to the Pictures

Cinemagoing, Women’s Writing and Movie Culture in Interwar Britain

Lisa Stead

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Examines women’s constructions of selfhood through film and literature in interwar Britain

Off to the Pictures: Cinemagoing, Women’s Writing and Movie Culture in Interwar Britain offers a rich new exploration of interwar women’s fictions and their complex intersections with cinema. Interrogating a range of writings, from newspapers and magazines to middlebrow and modernist fictions, the book takes the reader through the diverse print and storytelling media that women constructed around interwar film-going, arguing that literary forms came to constitute an intermedial gendered cinema culture at this time.

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Chapter 1: Off to the Pictures: Cinema, Fiction and Interwar Culture
Chapter 2: Screen Fantasies: Tie-ins and the Short Story
Chapter 3: Middlebrow Modernity: Class, Cinemagoing and Selfhood
Chapter 4: Wander, Watch, Repeat: Jean Rhys and Cinema
Chapter 5: Film Talk: C. A. Lejeune and the Female Film Critic
Chapter 6: Elinor Glyn: Intermedial Romance and Authorial Stardom

'Lisa Stead's methodologically sophisticated and impeccably researched study of women and cinema culture between the wars brings under the spotlight a transformative moment when popular media, modernity, modernism and femininity came together in shaping unprecedented new ways of being a woman.'


Professor Annette Kuhn, Queen Mary University of London
'Off to the Pictures presents an alternative way of examining the gendered uses of film and its part in determining the complex and changing roles and identities of women after the First World War. Looking at a range of women’s writings on or for the movies, Stead interrogates written representations of the figure of the female cinema-goer as original or artistic reflections of women who were themselves involved in processes of shaping their identity as cinema-goers and as women working in cinema, journalism or literature. A unique feature of this book is that it considers women both as consumers and producers of film and film culture.'
Leen Engelen, LUCA School of Arts & KU Leuven, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
'In bringing together “cinema-going characters” with “creators of film fictions” across an array of genres and media, Stead’s project not only demonstrates how gender was navigated through cinema in this transformative period in the United Kingdom but also offers innovative means of interconnecting authorial and fictional identities, lived and imagined experiences, across media without collapsing them.'
Laurel Harris, Rider University, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature
Lisa Stead is Lecturer in Film Studies in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Exeter. She is the co-editor of The Boundaries of the Literary Archive: Reclamation and Representation (2013). Her essays on fandom, archives and women’s cinema have appeared in Women’s History Review and Transformative Works and Cultures, among other publications.

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