New Books by Literature Area Faculty

CATEGORIES: Department News, English

Jeremy Withers and Justin Remes have published two new books.

Futuristic Cars and Space Bicycles

Contesting the Road in American Science Fiction

Jeremy Withers

Liverpool University Press

Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies LUP

  • The first book to examine the history of representations of automobiles and bicycles in American science fiction
  • Explores authors who appeal to hard-core science fiction fans and scholars (Keller, Stephenson, Ballard) as well as texts popular among less academic fans (E.T., Stranger Things, Fahrenheit 451)
  • Although focusing on novels and short fiction, the study also broadens its outlook to consider other more recent, popular media such as film, zines, web television and comics
  • Presents an exciting new perspective on how literature relates to the timely and urgent topic of transportation and issues such as climate change, healthy communities and personal health
  • Draws on archival research carried out at science fiction archives such as the Eaton Collection and the Judith Merrill Collection


Absence in Cinema

The Art of Showing Nothing

Justin Remes

Columbia University Press

Absence has played a crucial role in the history of avant-garde aesthetics, from the blank canvases of Robert Rauschenberg to the invisible paintings of Yves Klein, from the “silent” music of John Cage to the minimalist theater of Samuel Beckett. Yet little attention has been given to the important role of absence in cinema. In the first book to focus on cinematic absence, Justin Remes demonstrates how omissions of expected elements can spur viewers to interpret and understand the nature of film in new ways.

While most film criticism focuses on what is present, such as images on the screen and music and dialogue on the soundtrack, Remes contends that what is missing is an essential part of the cinematic experience. He examines films without images, such as Walter Ruttmann’s Weekend (1930), a montage of sounds recorded in Berlin, and films without sound, such as Stan Brakhage’s Window Water Baby Moving (1959), which documents the birth of the filmmaker’s first child. He also examines found footage films that erase elements from preexisting films, such as Naomi Uman’s removed (1999), which uses nail polish and bleach to blot out all the women from a pornographic film, and Martin Arnold’s Deanimated (2002), which digitally eliminates images and sounds from a Bela Lugosi B movie. Remes maps out the effects and significations of filmic voids while grappling with their implications for film theory. Through a careful analysis of a broad array of avant-garde works, Absence in Cinema reveals that films must be understood not only in terms of what they show but also what they withhold.