In this essay, I will explain my topic for this bibliography, the
search steps and the domain (where items were found). I will also discuss
who the potential user of this bibliography should be and why I included
what I did. Finally, I will give some anecdotes of what happened during
the search process.
The general topic for this bibliography was "Technology in the
Humanities." I had a lot of difficulty in narrowing this topic and, after
contacting the professors, narrowed the topic to "Television and the
Humanities." This bibliography includes general works on television and
its effect on the humanities as well as television criticism from a
humanities perspective. There is also a section for the representation of
specific parts of the humanities (art, music, literature) on television. I
discovered that much research about television has been done from a
sociological/cultural perspective. I tried to keep that aspect out of the
One of the first steps in the research was to define humanities. The
definition used here was from the American Heritage Dictionary, Second
College Edition (1982). This includes "those subjects, such as philosophy,
literature and the fine arts, that are concerned with man and his culture
as distinguished from the sciences."
I began my search by photocopying the appropriate subject headings
from the Library of Congress Subject Headings books. Armed with this
information, I began searching databases such as CARL, Chinook at CU-
Boulder, InfoTrack, EBSCO and several search engines on the Internet.
Once I had a list of potential books I would go to the shelves to find them.
In the general subject location of the shelves, I would graze for books.
Often I evaluated every book in the section.
I limited my search space to the greater Denver area because it was
practical for me and it probably makes sense for my bibliography user to
be able to find everything in one general area. Much of my bibliography
consists of books from CU-Boulder and Denver Public Library. I have
indicated in my bibliography where each source was found.
I tried to keep my potential user in mind as I selected books for the
bibliography. I created this bibliography as if I were preparing to teach a
graduate-level seminar on "Television and the Humanities." As a result,
some of the works are fairly technical in content and style. To balance
the technical works I included some books addressed to a more general
audience. This would help the students by providing a variety of sources
and some items that are easy to read.
I found that I had to include certain books that were older than I
preferred. I had originally tried to find sources that were not older than
1990. Some items were too important too omit because of age, and
because the information is still valid, I included them.
I paid close attention to the publisher of the works. Most of the
works were published by reputable publishers. I also checked the
biographies of the authors, when available, and most were academics in
radio, film, television and communication disciplines.
I tried to find as many book reviews as I could, but given that I did
that at the last, I was not able to provide much review information. I feel
comfortable with the works I have included because of my new knowledge
of television. Many authors cited other authors, and I tried to include the
The annotations contain a brief summary of the book's subject
matter, information about the author and a description of the structural
features of the document. For the potential audience of the work, I
examine whether the book is too technical or too general. Would it be
interesting to a graduate-level class?
One item that I found at the end of my research would have been
helpful in the early stages of the search. The book, Television Research,
would have been a valuable resource in preparing this bibliography. It
contains a general overview of many topics relating to television. It
presents subtopics suitable for research papers and a bibliography for
each topic. As it was, I used the appendix to check the publishers for the
books in my bibliography. The appendix listed publishers that are known
for publishing works on television. In Television Research, I saw many of
the authors that I had already included in my list.
During the early stages of my search I had a "new paradigm"
encounter with a librarian at Denver Public Library. I was stuck in my
search and, when she asked if I needed help, I asked if I could discuss my
topic with her. She identified a problem with my topic and helped me to
clarify it. She sat with me at the CARL terminal to help search. She gave
me some new ideas for search words and taught me some CARL shortcuts.
As she left, she suggested that I call the local PBS stations to ask for
ideas and see if there are any professional organizations that discuss
television and the humanities. I later found some information on such a
group, but did not include it since it dated back to 1974.
The following is a selected bibliography of items relating to
television and the humanities. Enjoy!?
Beck, Kirsten. Cultivating the Wasteland: Can Cable Put the Vision Back
in TV?. New York: American Council for the Arts (Edwards Brothers
Printing), 1983. (Denver Public Library)
Although this book is dated, it provides a good history of cable and
its support of the arts. Cultivating the Wasteland gives a general
overview of cable technology, accessibility and costs of production.
Kirsten Beck is a consultant for arts and communications. She has
been active in the issues involved in cable television and its relationship
to the arts. This book is a joint effort of the American Council for the
Arts and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
Beck began the book with the idea that cable was not going to
further the arts, despite what the Reagan administration had said as it cut
funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. She found that it was
true, that cable would not save the arts. What she did find was a surprise;
cable does have an effect on the arts, but at a local rather than national
level. Access and local origination channels were providing a new outlet
for the arts in the community.
Beck starts with an overview of how the cable system works. She
discusses commercial support of cable and cable channels that support the
arts. In "The CBS Cable Story", she presents a case history of the failure
of the arts on cable. One chapter explains the difficulties and issues
surrounding television production of the arts. The final chapters discuss
accessibility, franchising, providing feedback to the cable industry and
local access channels. In an appendix, the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
present information on "understanding television deals:" copyright,
contracts and negotiation.
Cultivating the Wasteland contains a list of trade and service
organizations for cable and the arts. The book has a brief bibliography,
but no index.
Bianculli, David. Teleliteracy: Taking Television Seriously. New York:
The Continuum Publishing Company, 1992. (Denver Public Library)
Teleliteracy was chosen for this bibliography at the recommendation
of the professors. The author of this book presents a strong argument to
give television credit where credit is due. In providing a defense of
television, it addresses the treatment of the humanities on television.
One chapter in particular, "Some Television is Literature -- And Vice
Versa," is especially pertinent to the topic of television and the
Bianculli is a television critic for the New York Post who maintains
that television is a medium to be taken seriously. He begins the book with
the "Teleliteracy Pretest" which compares one's knowledge of the classics
to one's knowledge of television. The purpose of the pretest is to show
where television has come from and its impact on humanity. The first
section of the book explains the history of media throughout western
civilization. The second part defines Bianculli's argument in his "Media
Manifesto." In the last section, the author addresses some specific issues
in detail. The issues include children's television, television as a teaching
tool and television's treatment of war.
This book has a conversational presentation style; the author writes
in first person and uses slang. While it is aimed at a general rather than
scholarly audience, it presents the well-formed thoughts and insights of a
professional television viewer. It is suitable for use with high school
students through the graduate level.
Teleliteracy contains an extensive bibliography which is organized
by author. In addition, several of the chapters are annotated with detailed
references. There are two indexes, one by name and one for titles of
television programs. The book lacks an index by subject which is a major
Burns, Gary. "Television and the Crisis in the Humanities." Journal of
Popular Film and Television, vol. 19, Fall 1991, pp. 98-105. (Norlin
Library, University of Colorado)
"Television and the Crisis in the Humanities" is a call for increased
study of television and other media to determine its effect on the
humanities. The author states that television is a natural part of the
humanities in that it is concerned with literature and learning in human
culture (Oxford English Dictionary definition of the humanities).
The author of this article, Gary Burns, is an associate professor in
communication studies at the University of Northern Illinois in Dekalb. He
is the co-editor of Making Television: Authorship and the Production
Process (Praeger, 1990).
Burns takes exception to the conservative critiques of the
humanities and liberal arts education, and especially to the criticism of
media studies programs. These conservative critics include William
Bennett, Alan Bloom and others. Burns proposes that more media studies
should be included in curricula and that more research should be done to
evaluate the effect of the media on the humanities. This article is
intended for those that determine college curricula, and not meant for
The major problem with this article is that Burns spends too much
time refuting the writings of the conservative critics. This leaves little
time for the development of his arguments. This article features
endnotes, but no bibliography.
Commission on the Humanities. The Humanities in American Life.
Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1980. (Norlin
Library, University of Colorado)
This book is somewhat dated since it was published in 1980, but it
provides an important overview of the status of the humanities in
American life. It includes a section on the humanities and the media, with
specific information about television.
In April 1978, the Rockefeller Foundation decided to sponsor a
Commission on the Humanities to examine the state of the humanities in
American culture. Members of the commission were drawn from
academia, publishing, industry and the political arena. The majority of the
commission came from academia and the chairman was the former
President of Stanford University.
The book is divided into five chapters. The first chapter examines
the domains of the humanities and offers recommendations and priorities
for the future. The next two chapters examine the humanities in the
schools and in higher education. The examination of television and the
humanities falls under the category of the humanities in the community
and private life. Finally, the book details the problems and sources of
financial support for the humanities.
The first sentence of the media section sets the tone for the
section: "Although television, radio, and newspapers are not institutions
of the same order as the others we have considered in this chapter, their
educational functions are similar." (p. 140) The main emphasis is on the
programming from the Public Broadcasting System with a brief mention
that commercial television has produced some works based on historical
and ethical themes. The chapter also mentions cable television as one
possibility for promoting the humanities.
This book is not intended for general audiences; its subject is too
esoteric. It is suitable for students of the humanities, although the
information is somewhat dated. The table of contents is quite helpful in
that it shows chapter subheadings as well as headings. The index is also
good; it is very detailed in its subject headings and subheadings.
Ellis, John. Visible Fictions: Cinema: Television: Video, revised edition.
London: Routledge, 1992. (Norlin Library, University of Colorado)
This book is important in the study of television and the humanities
in that it provides a deconstructionist view of the aesthetic of television.
Ellis provides a philosophical overview of broadcast television sound,
image and narration.
John Ellis has been a film critic and associated with cinematic
organizations. His television experience includes heading a small
production company from which he gained much practical experience.
Visible Fictions is organized into three sections. The first deals
only with film, the second section applies to this bibliography; it
discusses television. The third section examines the relationship,
similarities and differences of film and television. The book contains a
section on films and television programs cited. The Selected Bibliography
is not user-friendly in that the references are organized by chapter and
hidden in explanatory text. The "further reading" section contains many
important works, although most are published in England.
This book, while not technical or detailed, is quite abstract in its
subject matter. It is suited for scholarly audiences. The fact that this
was written and published in England is not an issue because the content
is more theoretical than illustrative. There are few references to
television programs, and those mentioned are often known to American
viewers through public broadcasting. Ellis also mentions American
programs that are seen in Britain.
Federman, Raymond. "The Last Stand of Literature." ANQ, vol. ns5, Oct.
1992, pp. 190-192. (Norlin Library, University of Colorado)
This article emphasizes literature and its relationship to television.
Literature is a key element of the humanities.
The author of this article, Raymond Federman, is associated with the
State University of New York at Buffalo. The original version of this
essay was presented as a lecture in Munich as part of the conference, "The
Fall of the Prophet -- Literature in Transition."
The thrust of this article is that literature is endangered by the
mass media, especially television. The author explains that current
literature is banal and conformist because of television. Television is
commercialized entertainment, while literature must be independent of
such forces. Literature must "oppose and denounce the way television
captures the world".
"The Last Stand of Literature" is a quick read with a very important
message. It is suitable for all levels of students, high school and above.
This article has no bibliography, notes or index.
Fowles, Jib. Why Viewers Watch: A Reappraisal of Television's Effects,
Revised Edition. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, Inc., 1992.
(Norlin Library, University of Colorado)
This book is included in this bibliography more for what it lacks
than what it contains. Like Bianculli, Fowles provides a strong defense of
television. The difference is that Fowles does not discuss television's
humanities-promoting qualities. Fowles discusses why people watch
television -- for entertainment purposes only. He maintains that through
the entertainment, people obtain psychological benefits of relaxation,
reduced aggression and education through television news programming.
Jib Fowles is a professor of media studies at the University of
Houston-Clear Lake. He has written articles for the popular press and
scholarly journals. Fowles has written books about mass advertising and
the public's response to celebrities.
Why Viewers Watch is not technical, nor very detailed. It is suitable
for general readers. Fowles states that he has avoided the use of jargon
and tried to state his case as clearly as possible in order to appeal to
students, teachers, specialists and non-specialists. Fowles' book contains
a section for references in which he cites books, journals and research
studies. The index appears to be quite extensive with subject headings
Himmelstein, Hal. On the Small Screen: New Approaches in Television and
Video Criticism. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1981. (Boulder Public
Although this work is somewhat dated, it contains some valuable
information about television as art and television criticism. On the Small
Screen was often cited in television-related works.
Hal Himmelstein is a professor of radio and television at Ohio
University in Athens, Ohio. Himmelstein has published many articles on
the subject of television, popular art and video. He has interviewed
artists in Access and Wide Angle. Praeger is one of the publishing houses
associated with television-related books.
Himmelstein's first chapter applies directly to the topic of
television and the humanities. The author's intent is to "place television
and video in the context of contemporary referents, namely art,
entertainment, and culture." (p. xiv) Chapter two provides a general
overview of television criticism and the critics who write it. Chapters
three through seven are interviews with various television critics. Two
of the critics are from the popular press, one is Horace Newcomb, an
academic critic, and the other two are from the arts.
Each chapter is formally annotated and there is an extensive
bibliography at the end of the book. The bibliography is difficult to use in
that the entries are divided into books, journal and magazine articles, and
newspaper articles. If one were to look for all referenced material by a
particular author, one would have to search in each section. On the Small
Screen contains a thorough index, which includes detailed subject
headings and subheadings.
Jacobson, Ronald L.. Television Research: A Directory of Conceptual
Categories, Topic Suggestions and Selected Sources. Jefferson, North
Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1995. (Norlin Library,
University of Colorado)
Television Research is an incredibly useful book for scholarly
research in various categories concerning television. For a class studying
television and the humanities, it would be a valuable source for the
instructor or the students, in picking a research topic, for example.
The book is published by McFarland, a publisher of television-related
books. No biographical information was available about the author.
In the introduction, the author briefly describes the format and
content. He is careful to state that the book is not meant to be all-
inclusive; rather it is a starting point for television research. Jacobson
recommends that the expertise of a professional librarian for finding the
most relevant sources available on the topic of interest.
The book is divided into chapters with headings such as children,
programming, social aspects and regulation/policy. A short description of
the category explains its scope and breadth. Cross-references to other
categories follow. The next section gives approximately twenty sample
topics that fit within the category. A list of possible sources includes
journal articles and books.
The "additional sources" section at the end of the book includes a
list of bibliographies; books on research methods and strategies;
dictionaries and encyclopedias; directories and guides; annuals; abstracts,
indexes and databases; newspapers, magazines, journals, and trade
publications; libraries and museums; professional organizations; and
publishers of television-related books. After such a rich sources section,
the index is somewhat of a disappointment. It contains proper names and
subject headings, but no sub-headings.
Kaplan, E. Ann, Editor. Regarding Television: Critical Approaches - An
Anthology. Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America in
association with the American Film Institute, 1983. (Boulder Public
Library and Norlin Library, University of Colorado)
This book was frequently mentioned in other sources chosen for this
bibliography. It is a collection of essays by humanities scholars.
E. Ann Kaplan teaches film and literature at Rutgers University. The
other contributors to the book are all academics, mostly from film,
broadcasting, English and history departments. This is the second book in a
series published as the American Film Institute Monograph Series. The
other books are Cinema and Language, Re-Vision: Essays in Feminist Film
Criticism and Cinema Histories, Cinema Practices.
In Kaplan's introduction, she explains that American universities
have emphasized the technological, practical and sociological effects of
television while ignoring the aesthetic of television. This occurred
because of the view of television as low art or popular culture -- "trivial,
cheap and meaningless."( p. xii) Kaplan notes that humanities-based
television research began in England in the 1960's, but that this book is
one of the first in the US.
Following Kaplan's introduction is an essay that evaluates American
writing on television. This essay explains that journalists have not
examined the "artistic specificity of medium," but have taken the stance
of the "reviewer-as-cultural-crusader." (p. xiii) The remaining essays
discuss television news, sports, and soap operas. The final essay
examines video art as a medium for the future.
Detailed notes follow each essay. Kaplan assembled a selected
bibliography for the end of the book. The bibliography contains mostly
references to periodical articles, which must surely be dated by now. The
book does not have an index -- a serious deficiency. The beginning of the
book has a section which outlines the current work of the essay
Lichter, S. Robert, Lichter, Linda S., and Rothman, Stanley. Prime Time:
How TV Portrays American Culture. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing,
Inc., 1994. (Denver Public Library)
Prime Time summarizes the research of the Lichters and Rothman of
how prime-time television reflects American society. This book does not
contain information about television and the humanities per se, but it
gives important insight into the role of television in America today.
Robert and Linda Lichter are the directors of the Center for Media
and Public Affairs in Washington, DC The CMPA is a group that monitors
the role of mass media in American society. Stanley Rothman is a
professor at Smith College and directs the Center for the Study of Social
and Political Change. Scholarly and
popular press reviews praise Prime Time for its even-handed evaluation
of television. The reviews mention that the book is based on a large
scientific study. A review of Prime Time in the National Review (2/6/95)
criticizes the authors for saying that the book is based on scientific
analysis when it is basically television criticism. The authors performed
a survey of television critics, but the book does not explain how the
critics were selected, nor how many critics were sampled. The review
also notes the book's right-leaning slant in that the authors suggest that
television reflects the ideas of liberal producers, more than the
population at large. In a way, the authors call for the return of the golden
days of television such as "Father Knows Best".
Prime Time discusses television's treatment of sex, wealth, women,
the work world, crime, and race, to name a few. The authors present
examples from television in the 1950's to the present to support their
arguments. The book is aimed at a general audience, but includes
information in the appendix about the scientific research methods used in
the study. The book includes a detailed prologue and conclusion. The
chapters address the different issues of sex, sexism, race, etc. There are
detailed endnotes and an adequate index.
Marc, David. Bonfire of the Humanities: Television, Subliteracy and Long-
Term Memory Loss. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1995.
(Woodbury Branch of Denver Public Library)
Bonfire of the Humanities can be considered seminal work for the
topic "Television and the Humanities." This book directly addresses the
relationship of the decline of the humanities in academia and the rise of
such media as television.
David Marc is a former television critic. He has taught
communications, writing, television, film and literature at many
respected colleges and universities. Marc is the author or co-author of
several works (scholarly and for the popular press) about television.
Bonfire of the Humanities speaks of an out-of-control bonfire
consuming the humanities. The bonfire is burning in a culture that has
two aspects, one based on the printed and written word and the other on
the mass media. Marc presents seven of his essays including the decline
of literacy, the reduction of memory, political correctness, yuppies and an
overview of television criticism. These essays provide a general
overview of the subject. Marc's writing is conversational; his tone is
ironic and often angry. It is quite easy to read, but a certain level of
sophistication is required to fully understand the irony. It is appropriate
for the college-level student.
The foreword is written by Susan J. Douglas, a professor in the
School of Communication and Cognitive Science at Hampshire College. The
seven essays are annotated at the end of each segment. A comprehensive
bibliography is followed by an extensive index.
National Endowment for the Humanities, "Media Log: A Guide to Film,
Television and Radio Programs Supported by the National Endowment for
the Humanities." Internet WWW page, at URL:
http://www.neh.fed.us/documents/media1.html (Version current at 20
This is an excellent resource for students of television and the
humanities. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has created
a list of 800 radio, television and film productions for which it has
provided funding. The Media Log gives information about the format,
content, production staff, length and awards
of NEH-sponsored productions.
One can access the entire index or search for subjects such as
"World Culture and History" or "History, Theory, and Criticism of the Arts."
Each entry provides information on how to acquire the film, video or radio
program. The entries have direct links to the distributor's address and
Newcomb, Horace, editor. Television: The Critical View, Second Edition.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1979. (Denver Public Library)
This important work is currently in its fifth edition (1994), but the
book was not available at Norlin Library, University of Colorado. This book
was cited in many of the books listed in this bibliography.
This series of critical essays about television is another attempt to
study television seriously. Newcomb divides the essays into three
sections: seeing television (individual programs), thinking about
television (cultural issues) and defining television (the characteristics of
the medium). The section on defining television applies most to this
bibliography. It contains three essays on television aesthetics, video art
and television melodrama.
Horace Newcomb is a professor of English and Popular Culture at the
University of Texas at Austin. Newcomb is the author of TV: The Most
Popular Art (Doubleday, Anchor Press, 1974). The other contributors come
from academia or the popular press.
Newcomb has provided an introduction to the book and introductions
to each chapter. He has also written a preface to the first and second
editions. The preface to the second edition explains why he has updated
the book and why essays have been added or deleted. He regrets having
deleted any essays, but the ephemeral nature of television is part of the
problem. Newcomb would have liked to include everything in order to
provide a history of television and a flow of television criticism.
Television: The Critical View does not contain an index, notes or
bibliography. It does list the contributors and give a brief biographical
note for each one.
Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age
of Show Business. New York: Penguin Books, 1985. (Boulder Public
Postman's book is mentioned in much of the literature about
television for his controversial viewpoint. The premise of his book,
Amusing Ourselves to Death, is that American society has become "a
trivial culture" as in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Television is much
to blame for this trivial culture which has resulted in a lack of public
discourse, one of the elements of the humanities.
Neil Postman is a professor of communication arts and sciences at
New York University. He is the editor of Et Cetera, a journal of general
semantics. His books include The Disappearance of Childhood and, more
Postman's style of writing is bombastic and sarcastic, which may be
offensive to some. The book is easy to read and is suitable for general
audiences as well as scholarly ones. The book is not technical; it merely
presents Postman's commentary on American culture. In part I, Postman
describes the history of the printed and spoken word in America in an
effort to show what once existed. Part II details the effect that
television has had on religion, politics and education.
Amusing Ourselves to Death has an endnotes section, a bibliography
and an index. All of these are sufficient for this type of book.
Quality Time? The Report of the Twentieth Century Fund Task Force on
Public Television with background paper "Public Television: The Ballpark's
Changing," by Richard Somerset-Ward. New York: The Twentieth Century
Fund Press, 1993. (Denver Public Library).
The major purveyor of the humanities in the United States is the
Public Broadcasting System. It is the only non-commercial version of
television available to US citizens. This book reports on the health and
future of public television.
The Twentieth Century Fund decided to establish a task force to
perform a study of the state of public television. The Carnegie Report in
1979 was the last major analysis public television prior to the Twentieth
Century Fund Task Force.
Richard Somerset-Ward, formerly of the BBC, and now a consultant
in private practice, provided an in depth report of public television
including its history, financial status, goals and programming. Of
particular interest to the topic "Television and the Humanities" is the
section on programming. The first recommendation of the committee is
also very pertinent. It states, "The mission of public television should be
the enrichment and strengthening of American society and culture through
high-quality programming that reflects and advances our basic values."
This book is not appropriate for a general audience, but a specialized
audience such as a graduate seminar would benefit from its content.
Quality Time contains a lot of statistics and financial data. The first
section of the book is the report from the task force, followed by specific
comments from task force members who did not agree with the final
result. Somerset-Ward's paper follows the task force report. The entire
book is annotated and an adequate index exists.
Rose, Brian. Television and the Performing Arts: A Handbook and
Reference Guide to American Cultural Programming. Westport,
Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1986. (Denver Public Library)
Television and the Performing Arts is a seminal work for this
bibliography. In this book, Rose presents an aesthetic, economic and
historical perspective of televising the performing arts.
Brian Rose is a professor at Fordham University at Lincoln Center.
He has written and edited several books about television genres. His
articles have appeared in the International Encyclopedia of Dance, The
Journal of Popular Film and Television, The Journal of Communication and
Rose's approach to the performing arts on television is quite
straightforward. The book is organized in sections labeled "Dance on
Television," "Classical Music on Television," "Opera on Television" and
"Theater on Television." In each section he begins with a history of the
performing art, discusses the effect of commercial, public and cable
television on the presentation of the arts, and then concludes his thoughts.
Each chapter is followed by a lengthy notes section, "references" (more
notes in narrative form), and a selected bibliography of books, articles,
dissertations and videography. The index at the end of the book contains
very few subject headings; most of the entries are names of works, people
and television stations.
Dance Research Journal's review of this book is predominantly
positive. The main criticisms center on Rose's discussion of aesthetic
issues and his method of citing other works. The reviewer calls for
clearer citations and improved cross-referencing.
Television and the Performing Arts is a scholarly work, yet is
interesting and easy to read. It contains more detail than the casual
reader would need, but probably would be too general for the serious
researcher. This work would be suitable for college-level students for
study of the history, economic and logistical issues of staging performing
arts on television.
Rose, Brian. Televising the Performing Arts: Interviews with Merrill
Brockway, Kirk Browning and Roger Englander. Westport, Connecticut:
Greenwood Press, 1992. (Norlin Library, University of Colorado)
Televising the Performing Arts presents Brian Rose's interviews
with three key players in putting the performing arts on television. This
book gives a personal history of the struggles of producing and directing
the performing arts on television.
See the annotation for Television and the Performing Arts for Brian
Rose's biographical information.
The interviews in this book provide an inside look at the careers and
experiences of three men who brought concerts, opera and ballet to
television. The book begins with an introduction in which Rose gives a
brief history of the performing arts on television. It is quite similar to
his previous book. The remainder of the book is made up of dialogue
between Rose and Merrill Brockway, Kirk Browning and Roger Englander.
The final chapter documents a meeting of the author with all three men.
At the end of each interview, Rose has included a professional chronology
for the interviewees. It would have been more helpful to have these
timelines at the beginning of the interviews for a point of reference. Rose
includes a black and white photograph of each director at the beginning of
the chapter. This adds an extra element of personality to the interview.
This book is not technical, and it is meant for a specialized
audience. It would be appropriate for students studying at television and
the humanities, but is more anecdotal than educational. The merit would
be in learning about the difficulties experienced in staging ballet, etc. for
television. The dialogue style of the book makes it difficult to extract
specific information. In this respect, the index is severely lacking.
Tichi, Cecelia. Electronic Hearth: Creating an American Television
Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. (Denver Public
Tichi presents the idea that television is an environment through her
analysis of forty years of advertisements, cartoons, fiction and
journalism. The book contains two chapters which relate to television and
the humanities. The remainder of the book establishes her idea of the
electronic hearth as central to American society.
Cecelia Tichi is a professor of English at Vanderbilt University. She
is the author of Shifting Gears: Technology, Literature, Culture in
Modernist America. Electronic Hearth is published by the Oxford
Electronic Hearth would appeal to general audiences in that it
contains many anecdotes relating television to the development of modern
culture. Tichi presents her ideas how the television became an electronic
hearth, how it relates to leisure and labor, and how Americans view
television in conflicting ways. People talk of television being a hypnotic
drug, yet they talk back to it and interact with it. Tichi defines
teleconsciousness as being able to split attention between multiple
channels (as in channel surfing) and real life.
The chapter on "Two Cultures and the Battle by the Books" discusses
the battle between television and the printed word, that the two are
natural enemies despite the fact that television often produces high
culture representations of fiction. The humanities is also presented in
Tichi's discussion of television's representation of comics, movies, music
and art in the final chapter.
The book contains a lengthy bibliography, but the index is skimpy.
Publishers Weekly states that the book is full of fresh insights on the
influence of television on personal behavior.
Vande Berg, Leah and Wenner, Lawrence. Television Criticism: Approaches
and Applications. White Plains, New York: Longman, 1991. (Norlin
Library, University of Colorado)
This textbook on styles of television criticism is included because
much of the information about television and the humanities is written by
television critics. Students learning about television and the humanities
should be aware of different critical methods employed.
Leah Vande Berg teaches in the communications studies department
at California State in Sacramento. Lawrence Wenner is the associate dean
of the College of Arts and Sciences and teaches in the communications
department at the University of San Francisco. The other critics who
contributed to the book are academics from all across the United States.
Television Criticism gives an overview of different critical methods
used to analyze television. Each contributor provides an introduction and
overview of the critical analysis. Throughout the analysis there are notes
in the margin which explain the techniques used or ask questions. The
critical analyses are organized by television genre. The first table of
contents reflects this organization; the second table of contents
organizes the analyses by critical method.
This text is naturally designed for students or academics in media
studies. The level of detail and technical language are appropriate for the
academic setting. Each critical analysis is followed by a section of
references and recommended reading. The index appears to be adequate.
Williams, Martin T. Hidden in Plain Sight: An Examination of the American
Arts. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. (Denver Public Library)
Williams, Martin T. TV: The Casual Art. New York: Oxford University
Press, 1982. (Boulder Public Library)
These books are listed together because the gist of Williams'
message is much the same in both books. In fact, Hidden in Plain Sight
contains an essay on the art of television that is identical to chapters in
TV: The Casual Art. Williams' books are included because of his
discussion of television as art. His examples of art include "The Rocky
and Bullwinkle Show" and "Quick Draw McGraw".
Martin Williams is a former television critic turned Program
Director in the Division of Performing Arts at the Smithsonian Institution.
He has written and edited a number of books on television, jazz and
Hidden in Plain Sight celebrates the art in American culture in a
series of essays. Williams states that Americans believe the only good
art forms come from Europe. His essays cite examples of motion picture
drama, jazz, the modern detective story, comic strips and television
programs as uniquely American art forms or genres.
Both books have adequate indexes. The indexes have single line
entries with mostly proper names or show titles. Williams' books are for
general audiences, although some references may be unfamiliar to the
casual reader. TV: The Casual Art is somewhat dated in its references to
television programming, but the author's faith in TV is still pertinent.
Specific Areas of the Humanities
Bulman, J.C. and Coursen, H.R., editors. Shakespeare on Television: An
Anthology of Essays and Reviews. Hanover, New Hampshire: University
Press of New England, 1988. (Norlin Library, University of Colorado)
Shakespeare on Television is included in this bibliography as a type
of book that addresses a very narrow section of the humanities on
television. Jane Austen's Emma on Television, also in this bibliography, is
the same type of book.
Shakespeare on Television is a collection of essays that discuss the
presentation of Shakespeare plays for television. (This book does not
include any works that were made for film, but are now available on
videocassette.) The first section of the book contains essays which
generally address the problems and successes of televising Shakespeare
plays. The second part of the book has essays which address specific
productions or specific plays. This section is divided into the tragedies,
comedies and histories. Bulman and Coursen present their ideas on
reviewing Shakespeare for television in the final section. Nearly seventy
pages of actual reviews follow in chronological order.
J.C. Bulman is affiliated with Allegheny College, while H.R. Coursen
comes from Bowdoin College. One of the immediate faults of this book is
that it does not contain biographical information about the editors, nor
The table of contents lists all of the plays examined. This list
shows the date broadcast, the network on which it was shown and the
page number on which it is reviewed. The appendix contains an annotated
bibliography, videography and a limited index. The index lists only the
play title and version.
Dayan, Daniel and Katz, Elihu. Media Events: The Live Broadcasting of
History. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1992.
(Denver Public Library)
This book emphasizes one area of the humanities, namely history.
The premise of Media Events is that television makes live "historical"
events into world rituals. These rituals change societies by bringing them
together to some extent.
Elihu Katz and Daniel Dayan are both faculty members at the
Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern
California. Katz is the Scientific Director at the Guttman Institute of
Applied Social Research as well as a professor at the Hebrew University
of Jerusalem. Dayan is a Fellow of the Centre National de la Recherche
Scientifique in Paris. The book was published by the Harvard University
In the first chapter, the authors present the idea of media events as
providing "societal integration". Chapter two explains the major themes
that these media events play: Contest (the Olympics), Conquest (the
Pope's first visit to Poland) and Coronation (John F. Kennedy's funeral).
The next three chapters describe the set-up, "performance" and
"celebration" of the events, looking at the perspective of the organizers,
broadcasters and audience. The final chapters examine the magic of the
events and analyze specific examples. The content and
presentation of Media Events is slightly beyond the capabilities of the
casual reader. The book jacket celebrates this book as required reading
for mass communications students. It is certainly appropriate for
students of television and the humanities.
The chapters include some informative graphs. There is a detailed
notes section at the end of the book. The bibliography appears to be quite
good and the index, while brief, has detailed subject headings. The
acknowledgments section is placed in the middle of the appendices, which
seems rather unusual.
Goodwin, Andrew. Dancing in the Distraction Factory: Music Television
and Popular Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992.
(Norlin Library, University of Colorado)
Dancing in the Distraction Factory was chosen because of its
treatment of music on television. Goodwin uses MTV as a case study
because of his interest in it, as well as MTV's success and relative
Andrew Goodwin is an associate communication arts professor at
the University of San Francisco. He provides criticism for several
newspapers as well as co-editing two journals, Understanding Media and
Media, Culture & Society.
Goodwin first attempts to synthesize an economic/historical
institutional analysis, text analysis from film and television studies and
musicology. His second purpose is to provide a textual analysis of music
videos from a sociological and musicological perspective. Finally, he
connects specific issues about music with the rock culture and how it
corresponds to music television. The information in this book is very
detailed and technical for the general reader, but it would be appropriate
for a scholarly audience.
The book is organized to develop the themes presented above. In the
first chapter he discusses postmodernism, and then proceeds to explain
the development of music television. The last chapter provides a good
conclusion and summary of his arguments. The music television timeline
that follows the last chapter is the highlight of the book. It provides the
chronology of great musical events on television beginning in 1921.
Dancing in the Distraction Factory has a good set of notes and an
excellent bibliography. The index is rather brief, but contains cross-
references as well as subject entries.
Hall, Doug and Fifer, Sally Jo, Editors. Illuminating Video: An Essential
Guide to Video Art. New York: Aperture Foundation, Inc., 1990. (Denver
Illuminating Video provides an overview of an art form that has
emerged from the world of television. The authors acknowledge that video
art had its beginnings in television, yet has become its own legitimate
genre. Television still has an enormous impact on video art, conceptually
Doug Hall is the chairperson of the performance/video department at
the San Francisco Art Institute. Sally Jo Fifer is the editor of Video
Networks, and works as the Program and Development Director at the Bay
Area Video Coalition. The Aperture Foundation "publishes a periodical,
books and portfolios of fine photography to communicate with serious
photographers and creative people everywhere." The book was published
with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts Media, Arts
National Services and the Arts Visual Artists Forums, as well as the
Rockefeller Foundation and the Zellerbach Family Fund.
The purpose of Illuminating Video "is to construct a base from which
we can address the issues that are raised by video." (p. 27) The book
contains a collection of essays, categorized by Histories;
Furniture/Sculpture/Architecture; Audience/Reception: Access/Control;
Syntax and Genre; and Telling Stories. A general history of video art is
given in Histories, although the authors state that it is far from being a
definitive history of the field. The Furniture chapter deals with the
television set as a physical entity. In the Audience/Reception chapter,
"the authors look at television as a system of representation and discuss
video art's role in establishing strategies for questioning its
representational hegemony." (p. 21) The chapter Syntax and Genre
explains that video artists are attempting to take the art form beyond the
"restrictive (and purely aesthetic) perceptions of modernism." (p. 23)
Telling Stories contains essays that attempt to describe, not analyze
Illuminating Video is not a technical work, yet it may not be
appropriate for the general reader; its content is esoteric. It would be
appropriate for art students or communications students.
This book contains excellent photographs as examples as examples
of video art. There are notes for each essay, biographies for each
contributor, a twenty-page bibliography, nine-page videography and an
Kaplan, E. Ann. Rocking Around the Clock: Music Television,
Postmodernism, and Consumer Culture. New York: Methuen, 1987. (Norlin
Library, University of Colorado)
This book was cited in several other books in this bibliography. It is
a study of music on television in the form of MTV.
E. Ann Kaplan is a professor of film and literature at Rutgers
University. Her books include Women in Film Noir and Women and Film:
Both Sides of the Camera. She edited Regarding Television which is also
included in this bibliography.
Kaplan discusses "MTV: advertising and production," "History,
'reading formations,' and the televisual apparatus in MTV," "MTV and the
avant-garde: the emergence of a postmodernist anti-aesthetic?,"
"Ideology, adolescent desire, and the five types of video on MTV," and
"Gender address and the gaze in MTV." She concludes with a chapter on
postmodernism. It is interesting to note that Kaplan received no
assistance from MTV in writing this book, despite her efforts to contact
This work is well-suited for the college student. It may be too
advanced for high school students. Rocking Around the Clock provides a
detailed analysis of the MTV culture. Kaplan states that it is difficult to
pin this culture down. Typically postmodern, once it is identified, it
changes. This is an interesting work that would fit nicely in a curriculum
for television and the humanities.
The book contains stills from music videos. While the stills are
dramatic, the quality of the photographs is poor. Rocking Around the Clock
has an afterword, extensive notes, a videography, bibliography and index.
The book also contains a select glossary compiled by Kaplan and one of her
colleagues. The glossary contains definitions for words such as
representation, semiology, ideology and classical cinema.
Roger Kimball, as quoted in Burns' "Television and the Crisis in the
Humanities" (also in this bibliography), provides a scathing review of
Rocking Around the Clock in his book Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has
Corrupted Our Higher Education (Harper Collins, 1990). Kimball is a
conservative of the likes of Allan Bloom and William Bennett. Kimball's
attack on Kaplan is for the topic of her research -- music television,
rather than the content. He assumes that because the book is about MTV,
it must be bad. Kimball also criticizes Kaplan's writing for her use of
jargon, equivocation and passive verbs which makes her meaning unclear.
Lauritzen, Monica. Jane Austen's Emma on Television: A Study of a BBC
Classic Serial. Goteborg, Sweden: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis
(Minab Press), 1981. (Norlin Library, University of Colorado)
Jane Austen's Emma on Television is included in this bibliography as
a type of book that addresses a very narrow section of the humanities on
television. Shakespeare on Television, also in this bibliography, is a
similar type of book.
Monica Lauritzen is a professor at a Swedish university. The book
was published as part of the Gothenburg Studies in English.
Emma on Television is a study of the adaptation of Jane Austen's
Emma by the BBC for the Classic Serials Series. This series began in 1951
with a production of Anthony Trollope's The Warden. This book includes a
videography of Classic Serials made by the BBC between 1951 and 1972.
This book includes information about the BBC Classic Serials,
Lauritzen's comparison of the television production process to Jane
Austen's own situation, a comparison of the plots of the novel and the
television serial and a discussion of the differences between the two
genres of television and novel.
The book includes still frame photographs from the television
production. The photographs are quite good. The notes section is unusual
in that one must consult the bibliography for the entire reference. Many of
the works in the bibliography are in Swedish or German. Appendix I
contains the production staff and cast for the television production,
Appendix II lists interview questions Lauritzen used in interviewing
production staff and cast members, and Appendix III lists the novels
adapted to BBC television from 1951 to 1972.
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