The Artist as Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg

By William Beard

© 2001

PAPERBACK INCLUDES TWO NEW CHAPTERS

David Cronenberg is one of the most fascinating filmmakers in the world today. His provocative work has stimulated debate and received major retrospectives in museums, galleries, and cinematheques around the world. William Beard's The Artist as Monster was the first book-length scholarly work in English on Cronenberg's films, analyzing all of his features from Stereo (1969) to Crash (1996). In this paperback edition, Beard includes new chapters on eXistenZ (1999) and Spider (2002).

Through close readings and visual analyses, Beard argues that the structure of Cronenberg's cinema is based on a dichotomy between, on the one hand, order, reason, repression, and control, and on the other, liberation, sexuality, disease, and the disintegration of self and of the boundaries that define society. The instigating figure in the films is a scientist character who, as Cronenberg evolves as a filmmaker, gradually metamorphoses into an artist, with the ground of liberation and catastrophe shifting from experimental subject to the self.

Bringing a wealth of analytical observation and insight into Cronenberg's films, Beard's sweeping, comprehensive work has established the benchmark for the study of one of Canada's best-known filmmakers.

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Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 584 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.5in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED DEC 2001

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Quick Overview

The first systematic examination in English of Cronenberg’s feature films, from Stereo (1969) to Crash (1996).

The Artist as Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg

By William Beard

© 2001

PAPERBACK INCLUDES TWO NEW CHAPTERS

David Cronenberg is one of the most fascinating filmmakers in the world today. His provocative work has stimulated debate and received major retrospectives in museums, galleries, and cinematheques around the world. William Beard's The Artist as Monster was the first book-length scholarly work in English on Cronenberg's films, analyzing all of his features from Stereo (1969) to Crash (1996). In this paperback edition, Beard includes new chapters on eXistenZ (1999) and Spider (2002).

Through close readings and visual analyses, Beard argues that the structure of Cronenberg's cinema is based on a dichotomy between, on the one hand, order, reason, repression, and control, and on the other, liberation, sexuality, disease, and the disintegration of self and of the boundaries that define society. The instigating figure in the films is a scientist character who, as Cronenberg evolves as a filmmaker, gradually metamorphoses into an artist, with the ground of liberation and catastrophe shifting from experimental subject to the self.

Bringing a wealth of analytical observation and insight into Cronenberg's films, Beard's sweeping, comprehensive work has established the benchmark for the study of one of Canada's best-known filmmakers.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 584 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.5in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    'Beard is less interested in Cronenberg's "authorial sensibility" than in D.H. Lawrence's "Never trust the artist. Trust the tale." He has a sense of the film itself thinking. This allows him to argue with Cronenberg and, as a critic, to go even farther with the films than Cronenberg, as his own critic, may be willing to do.'


    Greil Marcus
    Bookforum

    'The Artist as Monster is essential reading in Cronenberg studies.'


    Suzie S.F. Young
    Science Fiction Studies

    'The Artist as Monster offers the most thorough and balanced account of David Cronenberg ever published ... Eminently readable and intellectually (as well as emotionally) engaging.'


    Monique Tschofen
    Canadian Literature

    'Essential reading for any fan of the filmmaker.'


    Matthew Hays
    Mirror

    'Beard's interpretation of Cronenberg's cinema is original and unique ... A fascinating and rigorous critical examination.'


    Thomas Caldwell
    Screening the Past

    'A painstaking and meticulous analysis of the films.'


    Marc Horton
    Edmonton Journal

    'Timely and insightful ... Highly recommended to anyone interested in the compelling and disturbing work of the éminence grise of contemporary English-Canadian art-cinema.'


    Scott McKenzie
    British Journal of Canadian Studies

    '[The Artist as Monster] makes a significant contribution to the field in its relentlessly meticulous look at the filmmaker as an Auteur. No other book provides such a detailed analysis of so many of Cronenberg's films.'


    André Loiselle, Film Studies Program, Carleton University

    'This book deserves to become the definitive account of Cronenberg. That is, this is the book that will tell people, in meticulous detail, what is actually in the films. Theoretical speculation may take off from there, but it will do well to be grounded in Prof. Beard's painstaking analysis.'


    Stephen Scobie, Professor of English, University of Victoria
  • Author Information

    William Beard is a professor and film studies program director in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta.

  • Table of contents

    Preface

    Acknowledgments

    1. Stereo (1969)
    2. Crimes of the Future (1970)
    3. Shivers (1975)
    4. Rabid (1976)
    5. The Brood (1979)
    6. Scanners (1980)
    7. Videodrome (1982)
    8. The Dead Zone (1983)
    9. The Fly (1986)
    10. Dead Ringers (1988)
    11. Naked Lunch (1991)
    12. M. Butterfly (1993)
    13. Crash (1996)
    14. eXistenZ (1999)
    15. Spider (2002)

    Notes

    Bibliography

    Index

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