Todd Haynes: A Magnificent Obsession

An issue of: Camera Obscura

Todd Haynes
Journal Issue Volume 19, Number 3 Number: 57 Published: 2004 An issue of Camera Obscura
Special Issue Editor: Amelie Hastie
With almost two decades of work, from the critically acclaimed low-budget Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story to Far from Heaven (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for screenwriting), Todd Haynes has established himself as one of the most important contemporary independent filmmakers in the United States. Often described as provocative, inventive, and groundbreaking, his work is celebrated for inaugurating New Queer Cinema—a term coined in 1992 to describe the emergence of films committed to queer culture. Despite the richness and complexity of Haynes’s work—which engages auteurs ranging from Chantal Akerman to Douglas Sirk and theorists from Judith Butler to Michel Foucault—relatively little scholarly work on it has been published.

Stepping into this void, Todd Haynes: A Magnificent Obsession offers the first collection of scholarly essays exclusively devoted to Haynes’s entire oeuvre. Including critical essays by well-known and emerging scholars in television theory and feminist film, this special issue of Camera Obscura demonstrates Haynes’s engagement with history, feminism, queer culture, biography, and a range of artistic practices. In one essay a former professor of Haynes’s examines the depiction of women in many of his films, describing how Haynes revisits key questions and themes reminiscent of those invoked in the “woman’s film” genre of the 1940s and 1950s. Other essays address the representations of television and film in Far from Heaven, the aesthetics of pirated video copies of Superstar, Velvet Goldmine’s representation of the recent past, and the politics of abjection and marginalization in Poison and Safe.

Contributors. Laura Christian, Mary Desjardins, Mary Ann Doane, Lucas Hilderbrand, Lynne Joyrich, Edward R. O’Neill, Susan Potter


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Table of Contents Back to Top

1. Pathos and Pathology: The Cinema of Todd Haynes–Mary Ann Doane

2. The Incredible Shrinking Star: Todd Haynes and the Case History of Karen Carpenter–Mary Desjardins

3. Grainy Days and Mondays: Superstar and Bootleg Aesthetics–Lucas Hilderbrand

4. Of Housewives and Saints: Abjection, Transgression, and Impossible Mourning in Poison and Safe–Laura Christian

5. Dangerous Spaces: Safe–Susan Potter

6. Traumatic Postmodern Histories: Velvet Goldmine’s Phantasmatic Testimonies–Edward R. O’Neill

7. Written on the Screen: Mediation and Immersion in Far from Heaven–Lynne Joyrich

8. Volume Index

Additional InformationBack to Top
ISBN Paperback: 978-0-8223-6629-4