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Reconstructing Woody: Art, Love, and Life in the Films of Woody Allen / Edition 1

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Overview

For too long, the films of Woody Allen have been interpreted as expressions of deconstructionism, nihilism, and postmodern angst. In this pathbreaking new book, distinguished writer Mary P. Nichols challenges these assumptions by arguing that Allen's entire body of work, from Play It Again, Sam to Mighty Aphrodite, is actually an attempt to explore and reconcile the tension between art and life. As witty and complex as its subject, Reconstructing Woody shows why Allen, despite his recent personal turmoil, is immensely concerned with human ethics, goodness, and virtue. Ardent fans and strident detractors will view Woody Allen's films from an entirely new perspective.

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Editorial Reviews

Rocky Mountain Review
Is full of valuable insights, especially in the way it examines the philosophical nature of a number of Woody Allen's films. Offers the reader a strong foundation on which to build an understanding of Allen and his work.
Ronald Schwartz
Reconstructing Woody is an important contribution to the field of film criticism because few critics delve into the philosophical underpinnings of Woody Allen's scripts—and Nichols does this masterfully, with great perception, care, and depth.
Vincent Canby
It's about time we had the kind of in-depth study Nichols has written, with such rewarding insights.
Crisis, March 1999 - John C. Chalberg
What began as a diversion provoked a larger revelation. In both works Nichols discovered a writer mocking the pretensions of philosophers whose words prove to be empty as, well, clouds. Is this similarity enough to make Manhattan's Allen a modern-day Aristophanes?

Her focus is always on Allen the filmmaker and never on Allen the home-wrecker. More importantly, it is her conviction that Allen's real on-screen preoccupation is not his sex-life, but the interrelationships between art and life.

The Washington Times - Pia Nordlinger
Miss Nichols' approach to the topic of Woody Allen is peculiar, as she is a professor of political science, not film studies. What she brings to Mr. Allen's films is a way of thinking and analyzing that is unavailable to the run-of-the-mill film studies professor or critic.
CHOICE - P. H. Stacy
All film collections should include this title.
The Washington Times
Miss Nichols' approach to the topic of Woody Allen is peculiar, as she is a professor of political science, not film studies. What she brings to Mr. Allen's films is a way of thinking and analyzing that is unavailable to the run-of-the-mill film studies professor or critic.
— Pia Nordlinger
Choice
All film collections should include this title.
— P. H. Stacy, Emeritus, University of Hartford
Washington Times
Miss Nichols' approach to the topic of Woody Allen is peculiar, as she is a professor of political science, not film studies. What she brings to Mr. Allen's films is a way of thinking and analyzing that is unavailable to the run-of-the-mill film studies professor or critic.
— Pia Nordlinger
P. H. Stacy
Since many books have been written about Allen, any new study must be mighty different and mighty good. In looking at Interiors, Nichols (political science, Fordham Univ.) shows two modes of attention. "Eve has arranged five vases on the mantel, just as she orders her and Arthur's lives and those of their three daughters. Perfect. Agree or disagree, this wonderful observation forces attention to visual details. Interiors "applies Rousseau's criticism of modern life to Flyn." Also perfect. Any work teaching the value of sharp attention to both visual and aural details is valuable. Nichols joins Sander lee (Woody Allen's Angst, CH, Apr' 97), Richard Blake (Woody Allen: Profane and Sacred, 1995), and Foster Hirsh (Love, Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life in the Films of Woody Allen, rev. and updated, 1990) as the best of Allen's interpreters. All film collections should include this title.
CHOICE
All film collections should include this title.
— P. H. Stacy
Washington Times
Miss Nichols' approach to the topic of Woody Allen is peculiar, as she is a professor of political science, not film studies. What she brings to Mr. Allen's films is a way of thinking and analyzing that is unavailable to the run-of-the-mill film studies professor or critic.
— Pia Nordlinger
Choice
All film collections should include this title.
— P. H. Stacy, Emeritus, University of Hartford
The Washington Times
Miss Nichols' approach to the topic of Woody Allen is peculiar, as she is a professor of political science, not film studies. What she brings to Mr. Allen's films is a way of thinking and analyzing that is unavailable to the run-of-the-mill film studies professor or critic.
— Pia Nordlinger
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847689903
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 0.61 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary P. Nichols is professor of political science at Fordham University and an avid fan of Woody Allen. She lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Acknowledgements Chapter 2 Preface Chapter 3 The Interpreter and the Artist Chapter 4 The Hero and the Klutz (Play It Again, Sam) Chapter 5 The Anhedonist and the Singer (Annie Hall) Chapter 6 The Interior Decorator and the Vulgerian (Interiors) Chapter 7 The Director and the Fan (Stardust Memories) Chapter 8 The Empiricist and the Image-Maker (A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy) Chapter 9 The Changing Man and the Psychiatrist (Zelig) Chapter 10 The Actor and the Character (The Purple Rose of Cairo) Chapter 11 The Eavesdropper and the Patient (Another Woman) Chapter 12 The Ophthamologist and the Filmmaker (Crimes and Misdemeanors) Chapter 13 The Detectives (Manhattan Murder Mystery) Chapter 14 The Sportswriter and the Whore (Mighty Aphrodite) Chapter 15 The Comic Chapter 16 Notes Chapter 17 Bibliography

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