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Cover for Red Velvet Seat

Red Velvet Seat

Women's Writings on the First Fifty Years of Cinema

Antonia Lant (Editor), Betty Balfour (Contributions by), Djuna Barnes (Contributions by), Iris Barry (Contributions by), Sarah Bernhardt (Contributions by)


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A comprehensive anthology of women’s film culture, from the origins of cinema to 1950

As viewers, actresses, directors and writers, women have always been central to cinema. However, evidence of their roles has until now remained scant and dispersed, eclipsed by historical opinion written by men.

In magisterial scale, Red Velvet Seat restores women’s film culture to center stage, using women's written accounts from the beginning of cinema up to 1950. Drawing on fashion and parenting magazines, newspapers and literary journals, memoirs and etiquette guides, and with contributors ranging from Virginia Woolf, Colette, and Rebecca West to psychoanalysts, poets, social reformers, labor organizers, film editors, screen beauties, and race activists, the volume displays the full scope of women’s film culture. In each section, editor Antonia Lant with Ingrid Periz provides historical context and links archival accounts to major social and political movements.

Comprehensive and absorbing, Red Velvet Seat is an invaluable contribution to the history of cinema.

Verso, 9781859847220, 872pp.

Publication Date: December 17, 2006

About the Author

Djuna Barnes (1892–1982) was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, and worked as a journalist in New York before leaving the country to spend many years in Paris and London. She returned to New York in 1941, and lived in Greenwich Village until her death.

Born in California in 1893, Anita Loos was herself a celebrity of the Jazz Age that produced Lorelei Lee. She began writing movie scripts by the time she was twelve, and before her death in 1981 she had written an enormous number of stories, screenplays, and more. She was also the author of an autobiography, A Girl Like I.