Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film

Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film

By: Robert Sitton (author)Hardback

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Iris Barry (1895-1969) was a pivotal modern figure and one of the first intellectuals to treat film as an art form, appreciating its far-reaching, transformative power. Although she had the bearing of an aristocrat, she was the self-educated daughter of a brass founder and a palm-reader from the Isle of Man. An aspiring poet, Barry attracted the attention of Ezra Pound and joined a demimonde of Bloomsbury figures, including Ford Maddox Ford, T. S. Eliot, Arthur Waley, Edith Sitwell, and William Butler Yeats. She fell in love with Pound's eccentric fellow Vorticist, Wyndham Lewis, and had two children by him. In London, Barry pursued a career as a novelist, biographer, and critic of motion pictures. In America, she joined the modernist Askew Salon, where she met Alfred Barr, director of the new Museum of Modern Art. There she founded the museum's film department and became its first curator, assuring film's critical legitimacy. She convinced powerful Hollywood figures to submit their work for exhibition, creating a new respect for film and prompting the founding of the International Federation of Film Archives. Barry continued to augment MoMA's film library until World War II, when she joined the Office of Strategic Services to develop pro-American films with Orson Welles, Walt Disney, John Huston, and Frank Capra. Yet despite her patriotic efforts, Barry's "foreignness" and association with such filmmakers as Luis Bu uel made her the target of an anticommunist witch hunt. She eventually left for France and died in obscurity. Drawing on letters, memorabilia, and other documentary sources, Robert Sitton reconstructs Barry's phenomenal life and work while recasting the political involvement of artistic institutions in the twentieth century.

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About Author

Robert Sitton is adjunct professor of media and culture at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Duke University and worked on the cultural news staff of the New York Times, as director of film education for the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and, in the 1970s, developed the Northwest Film Study Center of the Portland Art Museum, fashioned after Iris Barry's collection at the Museum of Modern Art.


List of IllustrationsForeword by Alistair CookeCreditsPreviews1. Early Years2. "We Enjoyed the War"3. "Dear Miss Barry"4. The Other Bloomsbury5. Life with Lewis6. Children7. Alan Porter8. The Spectator9. Splashing Into Film Society10. Cinema Paragons, Hollywood, and Lady Mary11. Let's Go to the Pictures12. Victory and Defeat13. America14. The Askew Salon15. Museum Men16. Remarriage17. Settling In18. Cracking Hollywood19. Art High and Low20. On to Europe21. Going Public22. The Slow Martyrdom of Alfred Barr23. Meanwhile, Back at the Library24. New Work, Old Acquaintances25. "The Master" and His Minions26. Temora Farm27. The Museum Enlists28. Mr. Rockefeller's Office29. L'Affair Bu uel30. The Other Library31. Divorce32. Postwar Blues33. Abbott's Fall34. Hospital35. Departure36. La Bonne Font37. Things Past38. The Austin House39. Readjustments40. New York and London41. Final Breaks42. The EndSequelNotesSourcesIndex

Product Details

  • publication date: 13/05/2014
  • ISBN13: 9780231165785
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 496
  • ID: 9780231165785
  • weight: 454
  • ISBN10: 0231165781

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