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Transactions with the World

Ecocriticism and the Environmental Sensibility of New Hollywood

Adam O'Brien

228 pages, 18 illus. bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-000-1 $95.00/£67.00 Hb Published (February 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-001-8 eBook

Hb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors


“This valuable work engages fully with the field of cinema studies and demonstrates ways of building on traditional film theory from an ecocritical perspective. The author speaks the language of film aesthetics, provides sophisticated analyses that go beyond cursory readings of plot and narrative, and directly engages with film technology and its impact on textual meaning.” · Stephen A. Rust, University of Oregon

“This is a significant contribution to the burgeoning field of ecocinema. The analyses of individual films are all expertly positioned within the existing literature, and O’Brien makes a convincing case for rethinking New Hollywood, as a mode of production and a cultural moment, from an ecocritical perspective.” · Pietari Kääpä, University of Stirling


In their bold experimentation and bracing engagement with culture and politics, the “New Hollywood” films of the late 1960s and early 1970s are justly celebrated contributions to American cinematic history. Relatively unexplored, however, has been the profound environmental sensibility that characterized movies such as The Wild Bunch, Chinatown, and Nashville. This brisk and engaging study explores how many hallmarks of New Hollywood filmmaking, such as the increased reliance on location shooting and the rejection of American self-mythologizing, made the era such a vividly “grounded” cinematic moment. Synthesizing a range of narrative, aesthetic, and ecocritical theories, it offers a genuinely fresh perspective on one of the most studied periods in film history.

Adam O’Brien teaches film studies at the universities of Bristol and Reading. He has published articles on ecocriticism and film in a number of journals, including Film Criticism, Journal of Media Practice, and ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.

Subject: Film Studies Environmental Studies
Area: North America


List of illustrations

Prologue: A Typical Love Scene


Chapter 1. Four Faces of New Hollywood
Chapter 2. Resisting Abstraction
Chapter 3. Rooting In and Lighting Out: New Hollywood and Genre
Chapter 4. Regional Frames
Chapter 5.  Conditions, Technologies and Presence

Conclusion: Coming to Terms with Mr. Meek


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