Editorial

Article excerpt

This is the second special edition of Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, in which the journal makes available, in the form of a complete 'document of performance', material that it is relatively inaccessible or little known for the use of fellow scholars of nineteenth and early twentieth century performance. Our document section offers objects and texts that, individually, throw light on theatrical and/or filmic processes or the cultural circumstances in which performance events have taken place. As with any other document, these documents are open to other readings and further or different interpretations. Thomas Dixon's The Clansman is of interest on a number of levels - both for itself as an example of early twentieth century stage performance where, unusually, we have a number of different versions of the performance text, and as an example of performance in very particular 'cultural circumstances' - resulting in a script that many twenty-first century readers will find especially problematic. The play is also of interest as an example of an early adaptation of stage to screen performance, and as the source for one of the most influential and controversial films from the silent era, D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation.

The editors would welcome suggestions for further special editions dedicated to 'Documents of Performance.' We also invite readers to contest identifications or otherwise comment or enlarge upon all the documents and essays that have appeared in this journal. Contributions should be sent to the editors in the usual way.

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Further Reading

Because Dixon's The Clansman derives its significance from its role as the principal source used by D. W. Griffith for his 1915 film The Birth of a Nation, the editors of Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film append this bibliography which lists a) further sources of national, especially Southern, history upon which Griffith drew; b) accounts and interpretations of how Griffith treated his sources as he developed his film; c) responses to his film; d) other accounts of early twentieth century racial politics; e) other near-contemporary films which depict either the Civil War and/or the Reconstruction Era.

Bernardi, Daniel, ed. The Birth of Whiteness: Race and the Emergence of U.S. Cinema. New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996.

Brown, Karl. Adventures with D. W. Griffith. Kevin Brownlow, ed. Afterword by John Boorman, London: Faber & Faber, 1973.

Brownlow, Kevin. The Parade's Gone By. London: Secker & Warburg, 1968.

Cherchi-Usai, Paolo, ed. 10 Essays on The Birth of a Nation, The Griffith Project, Volume 8, Films Produced in 1914-1915. London: British Film Institute and Pordenone: Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, 2004, pp. 49-112 .

Dunning, William A., Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruction New York: Harper, 1898. …