Will there ever be an end to the supply of books about Alfred
Hitchcock?, pleaded the "Times Literary Supplement" in 2008. It is
a fair question for, as Michael Walker pointed out in "Hitchcock s
Motifs," more has been written about Hitchcock (1899 1980) than any
other film director. Indeed, Jane E. Sloan s 1993 Hitchcock
bibliography revealed that well over seventy-five scholarly books
and nearly 1,000 articles had been published by 1990; and those
figures have, of course, continued inexorably to rise.
So, while the prospective viewer of "Vertigo" or "Rear Window"
is likely to feel a compelling need for some preparation before
consuming the film itself, the daunting quantity (and variable
quality) of Hitchcock criticism makes it difficult to discriminate
the useful from the tendentious, superficial, and otiose. That is
why this new Routledge title, compiled by Neil Badmington, is so
urgently needed. In four volumes, the collection meets the need for
an authoritative reference work to allow researchers and students
to make sense of the vast Hitchcock literature and the continuing
explosion in research output. Users will now be able easily and
rapidly to locate the best and most influential critical
scholarship, work that is otherwise often inaccessible or scattered
throughout a variety of specialist journals and books. With
material gathered into one easy-to-use set, researchers and
students can now spend more of their time with the key journal
articles, book chapters, and other pieces, rather than on
time-consuming (and sometimes fruitless) archival searches.
The collection is supplemented with a comprehensive introduction
newly written by the editor, which places the collected material in
its historical and intellectual context. It is also fully indexed
and includes an expertly compiled Thematic Guide to enable users
readily to discover and follow thematic pathways through the
assembled works. "Alfred Hitchcock" is an essential reference work
and is destined to be valued as a vital research resource.
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