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FT-249295-16

Michael Gerard Devine, PhD
SUNY Research Foundation, College at Plattsburgh (Plattsburgh, NY 12901-2637)

Poetry, Film, and the Battle for a National Art, 1895-1930

Research and writing leading to a book-length study of the connections between poetry and cinema in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America.

My book project offers a timely prehistory of writing in an age of new media. It tells the story of poetry’s crisis in the early twentieth century—a machine age not unlike our own—when many considered the humanities doomed to disappear. Poetry, instead, became startlingly visible through films like Vitagraph’s The Battle Hymn of the Republic (1911), which deeply influenced boosters of a modern and American art. Interdisciplinary in scope, my project shows the revitalizing interplay between poetry and film: both poetry’s transformation on the screen and page and the efforts of Walt Whitman’s disciples—poets, but also painters, photographers, and filmmakers—to shape film into a mode of national expression. An archival account of how the humanities reemerged in the cinematic public square a century ago, my project explores what the NEH calls The Common Good—a primer for understanding our current moment when new media technologies promise again to transform the arts.

Project fields:
American Literature; American Studies; Film History and Criticism

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2016 – 6/30/2016