Wood was born in Richmond, London, England. According to Contemporary Authors he attended Jesus College, Cambridge, where he was influenced by F. R. Leavis and A. P. Rossiter, and graduated in 1953 with a diploma in education. From 1954 to 1958, Wood taught in schools in both England and Sweden. After a year in Lille, France, teaching English, Wood returned to schools in England, and again in Sweden. where he met Aline Macdonald whom he married on May 17, 1960. They had three children, Carin, Fiona, and Simon.
Wood began to contribute to the film journal Movie in 1962, primarily on the strength of an essay he wrote for Cahiers du cinéma on Hitchcock's Psycho. In 1965, he published his first book, Hitchcock's Films (New York: A. S. Barnes, 1965). From 1969 to 1972, under the aegis of Peter Harcourt, Wood was a lecturer in film at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. In September 1974, Wood and his wife divorced. Around this time, he also had a relationship with John Anderson, the dedicatee in at least one of Wood's books. Later he was to meet Richard Lippe, with whom he lived from 1977 until his death in 2009.
From 1973 to 1977, Wood was a lecturer on film studies at the University of Warwick, Coventry, where he met the future film scholar Andrew Britton, whose influence on Wood, by his own account, was as great as Wood's on his student. Britton led him away from liberal attitudes. Wood became professor of film studies at York University, Toronto, Ontario in 1977, where he taught until his retirement in the early 1990s. In 1985 Wood helped form a collective with several other students and colleagues to publish CineACTION!.
Wood's books include Ingmar Bergman (Praeger, New York, 1969), Arthur Penn (Praeger, New York, 1969), The Apu Trilogy (Praeger, New York, 1971), The American Nightmare: Essays on the Horror Film, edited by Robin Wood and Richard Lippe (Festival of Festivals, Toronto, 1979), Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan (Columbia University Press, New York, 1986), Sexual Politics and Narrative Film: Hollywood and Beyond (Columbia University Press, New York, 1998), The Wings of the Dove: Henry James in the 1990s (British Film Institute Publishing, London, 1999), and Rio Bravo (BFI Publishing, London, 2003).
Columbia University Press has reprinted and updated his book on Hitchcock, and Wayne State University Press has recently begun a series of reprints of his early books, with new introductions. The first in the series is Howard Hawks in 2006, to be followed by Personal Views in 2006, and Ingmar Bergman.
Changes in Wood's critical thinking divide his career into two parts. Wood's early books are still prized by film students for their close readings in the auteur theory tradition and their elegant prose style. Wood brought psychological insight into the motivations of characters in movies such as Psycho and Marnie, and Wood was admired for his tendency to champion under-recognized directors and films. After his coming out as a gay man, Wood's writings became more — though not exclusively — political, primarily from a stance associated with Marxist and Freudian thinking, and with gay rights. The turning point in Wood's views can arguably be pinpointed in his essay "Responsibilities of a Gay Film Critic", originally a speech at London's National Film Theatre and later published in the January 1978 issue of Film Comment. It was subsequently included in the revised edition of his book Personal Views.
Robin Wood died from leukemia on December 18, 2009 in Toronto. His novel Trammel up the Consequence was published posthumously in 2011.
Some of Wood's students have also become notable film scholars, including Andrew Britton and Tony Williams. His former student Bruce LaBruce is now an underground film director.
Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan...and Beyond by Robin Wood
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press; Rev Exp edition (July 15, 2003)
Amazon: Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan...and Beyond
This classic of film criticism, long considered invaluable for its eloquent study of a problematic period in film history, is now substantially updated and revised by the author to include chapters beyond the Reagan era and into the twenty-first century. For the new edition, Robin Wood has written a substantial new preface that explores the interesting double context within which the book can be read-that in which it was written and that in which we find ourselves today. Among the other additions to this new edition are a celebration of modern "screwball" comedies like My Best Friend's Wedding, and an analysis of '90s American and Canadian teen movies in the vein of American Pie, Can't Hardly Wait, and Rollercoaster. Also included are a chapter on Hollywood today that looks at David Fincher and Jim Jarmusch (among others) and an illuminating essay on Day of the Dead.
Personal Views: Explorations in Film (Contemporary Approaches to Film and Television) by Robin Wood
Paperback: 423 pages
Publisher: Wayne State University Press; Revised edition (July 2006)
Amazon: Personal Views: Explorations in Film
A reissue of a significant and hard-to-find text in film studies with a new introduction and three additional essays included.
Sexual Politics and Narrative Film by Robin Wood
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press (December 15, 1998)
Amazon: Sexual Politics and Narrative Film
One of the most distinctive voices in film criticism explores relationships between narrative style and sexual politics. Robin Wood, well known for his books Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan and Hitchcock's Films Revisited, probes the political and sexual ramifications of fascism and cinema, marriage and the couple, romantic love, and representations of women, race, and gender in contemporary films from the United States, Europe, and Japan. He looks closely at the works of Leo McCarey and Jacques Rivette, Ozu's "Noriko Trilogy," and the recent Generation X films Before Sunrise and The Doom Generation. In a chapter on fascism and cinema that juxtaposes Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will and Alain Resnais's Night and Fog, Wood finds that what is most important is not these films' record of another time and place but "the light they can throw on our contemporary cultural situation." Wood's central concern in these chapters is the ways in which the films relate to sexual politics and the organization within our culture of gender and sexuality. Seeing humanity as a "battleground" of a struggle between forces for Life and those of Death, Wood holds out hope for a joining of the forces of feminism, antiracism, lesbian and gay rights, and environmentalism necessary for authentic movement toward liberation.
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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