The influence that many Hollywood movies have had on this country’s national identity will be the topic of the Wednesday (May 23) lecture at the Arizona Senior Academy by William H. Epstein, professor emeritus of English at the University of Arizona. Open to the public free of charge, the lecture begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Great Room of the ASA Building.
Epstein’s studies have focused on the significance of biopics, biographical narratives in the form of movies that make visual and aural references to things unmistakably identified with the United States
He will discuss well-known films that have circulated all over the country and throughout the world, including Birth of a Nation, Young Mister Lincoln, Citizen Kane, Bonnie and Clyde, Coalminer’s Daughter, and Lincoln.
A distinguished biographer and biographical critic, Epstein has a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College and an M.A. and PhD. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He is the author of the first book-length biography of the 18th-century British novelist John Cleland and the first New-Historicist study of the generic poetics of English biography. New historicism is a form of literary theory whose goal is to understand intellectual history through literature, and literature through its cultural context.
Epstein has contributed many articles to professional journals on 18th, 19th, and 20th century British literature, lifewriting, the professional practice of literary study, and genre theory. He received the James Russell Lowell prize from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and his work has been nominated for the Modern Language Association’s James Russell Lowell prize and Phi Beta Kappa’s Christian Gauss Award. He wrote a prize-winning article on Cold-War criticism and has edited collections on the theory and practice of biography.
Written by H. Deon Holt, Academy Village Volunteer