Abstract

Abstract:

This article explores how film configured its relationship to poetry to help facilitate film's artistic and technological legitimacy as an emergent medium in the early twentieth century. During the silent era, industry journals regularly affiliated film with poetry in order to depict film as an outgrowth or even the most fully realized version of the poetic arts. On-screen, however, film sought to disaffiliate itself from poetry. Using Edwin S. Porter's The Night before Christmas (1905) and D. W. Griffith's The Unchanging Sea (1910) and Enoch Arden (1911) as examples, I show how filmmakers used poetry intertitles not only to depict film as superior to poetry but also to negotiate silent film's relationship to print and sound.

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