Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton (Joseph Francis Keaton), 1895–1966, American movie actor, b. Piqua, Kans. Considered one of the greatest comic actors in film history, Keaton used his considerable acrobatic skills, which he had developed as a child in vaudeville, in many silent comedies in which he portrayed a deadpan hero who survived against incredible odds. Among these movies are The Navigator (1924), The General (1926), and Steamboat Bill Junior (1927). He made a comeback as a supporting actor in such films as Sunset Boulevard (1959), Limelight (1952), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966).

See biographies by R. Blesh (1960), M. Meade (1995), and E. McPherson (2005); J. E. Rapf, Buster Keaton: A Bio-Bibliography (1995); J. Kline, The Complete Films of Buster Keaton (2003); studies by G. Wead and G. Lellis (1977), G. Oldham (1996), and R. Knopf (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Keaton's Silent Shorts: Beyond the Laughter
Gabriella Oldham.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1996
Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Vicki K. Janik; Emmanuel S. Nelson.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Buster Keaton" begins on p. 265
A History of Narrative Film
David A. Cook.
W.W. Norton, 1996 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Buster Keaton" begins on p. 205
You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet: The American Talking Film: History & Memory, 1927-1949
Andrew Sarris.
Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Buster Keaton (1895-1966)" begins on p. 151
The Counterfeiters: An Historical Comedy
Hugh Kenner.
Indiana University Press, 1968
Librarian’s tip: Chap. II "The Man of Sense as Buster Keaton"
Intimate and Authentic Economies: The American Self-Made Man from Douglass to Chaplin
Tom Nissley.
Routledge, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Buster Keaton begins on p. 152
The Oxford History of World Cinema
Geoffrey Nowell-Smith.
Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Buster Keaton (1895-1966)" begins on p. 80
Becoming Film Literate: The Art and Craft of Motion Pictures
Vincent Lobrutto.
Praeger, 2005
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 23 "Period Comedy : The General"
Reel Food: Essays on Food and Film
Anne L. Bower.
Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 19 "Supper, Slapstick, and Social Class: Dinner as Machine in the Silent Films of Buster Keaton"
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