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Title cover of "American Tyrannies in the Long Age of Napoleon" by Elizabeth Duquette, part of the Oxford Studies in American Literary History series published by Oxford University Press

Napoleon’s cinematic empire: a fascination with film

Given his decided penchant for spectacle—he crowned himself emperor, after all—there is no reason to be surprised that Napoleon’s empire soon included the cinema, a medium his visual ubiquity made ripe for conquest. To prepare for our newest Napoleon, it is worth looking back on some of his prior celluloid incarnations, some great and others less so.

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"Music for Prime Time: A History of American Television Themes and Scoring" by Jon Burlingame published by Oxford University Press

Music for Prime Time: 15 of the greatest TV themes

Music composed for television had, until recently, never been taken seriously by scholars or critics. Catchy TV themes, often for popular weekly series, were fondly remembered but not considered much more culturally significant than commercial jingles.

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"Race, Politics, and Irish America: A Gothic History" by Mary M. Burke, published by Oxford University Press

A Black Irish-American rejoinder to Gone With The Wind: Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow

“The Foxes of Harrow” (1946), a Southern historical romance by Black Irish-American author Frank Yerby (1916–1991), writes back to Margaret Mitchell’s bestselling novel, “Gone with the Wind” (1936). Although Yerby and Mitchell were both raised in Georgia during segregation by mothers of Irish descent, their socially assigned racial identities created divergent approaches to representing the pre- and post-Civil War South in their respective novels.

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"On Marilyn Monroe: An Opinionated Guide" by Richard Barrios, published by Oxford University Press

Marilyn Monroe goes to the Oscars

Marilyn Monroe attended the Oscars only once in 1951, before the Academy Awards were even televised. Ana de Armas is nominated for playing Monroe in Blonde this year, but Marilyn’s work as an actress is rarely given the recognition it deserves.

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Dreams of Love: Playing the Romantic Pianist

The Piano meets The Power of the Dog

In Jane Campion’s 1993 film “The Piano”, and her new film, “The Power of the Dog”, the grand piano serves as more than the emblematic instrument of feminine domestic music-making and of European bourgeois culture transported to the hinterlands of the nation or empire; it also functions as a gender technology because it regulates the metaphorical sound-body of the woman who plays it.

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Totally Truffaut: 23 Films for Understanding the Man and the Filmmaker

François Truffaut: why we crave great fiction

François Truffaut is among the few French directors whose work can be labeled as “pure fiction.” He always professed that films should not become vehicles for social, political, religious, or philosophical messages.

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Forms of Astonishment: Greek Myths of Metamorphosis by Richard Buxton

Charlie Chaplin and the art of metamorphosis

Charlie Chaplin was certainly the greatest mime, probably the greatest actor, and arguably the greatest artist in any medium in the twentieth century. As self-transformations go, his personal rags-to riches story is hard to match. But the theme of metamorphosis also permeates his movies.

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Screening the Police: Film and Law Enforcement in the United States by Noah Tsika

Beyond “Copaganda”: Hollywood’s offscreen relationship with the police

Do Hollywood’s portrayals of policing matter as much as the industry’s material entwinement with law enforcement—as much as the working relationships pursued beyond the screen? Instead of conceding that the consumers of popular media are eminently capable of thinking for themselves (and thus of resisting flattering depictions of power), more and more commentators are calling for the complete elimination of cop shows, cinematic police chases, and other, ostensibly entertaining images of law enforcement.

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Charlie Brown's America

A Charlie Brown Christmas: the unlikely triumph of a holiday classic

A Charlie Brown Christmas was never supposed to be a success. It hit on all the wrong beats. The pacing was slow, the voice actors were amateurs, and the music was mostly laid back piano jazz (the opening theme, “Christmas Time is Here,” carried a strange, wintery melody built on unconventional modal chord progressions). It was almost like the program was constructed as a sort of anti-pop statement. In many ways, that’s exactly what it was. And that’s exactly why it so worried the media executives who had commissioned it.

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SHAPE

SHAPE and societal recovery from crises

The SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy) initiative advocates for the value of the social sciences, humanities, and arts subject areas in helping us to understand the world in which we live and find solutions to global issues. As societies around the world respond to the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, research from SHAPE disciplines has the potential to illuminate how societies process and recover from various social crises.

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