Bypassing Elder - Sitney on Elder on Brakhage
Cameron, Evan Wm.
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P. Adams Sitney, in his otherwise estimable review of Bruce Elder's The Films of Stan Brakhage in the American Tradition of Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and Charles Olson, disregards the author's goal of demonstrating how Brakhage's achievement can be understood only from within the broad historical context of artistical and philosophical works by others that informed the modernist tradition, including Elder's own. To discount the references and extended commentaries that constitute the core of Elder's argument about the texts and films by himself and others that must be understood to understand better the works of Brakhage, even if unknown to Brakhage himself, is to misconstrue the aim and content of Elder's book and to mislead readers about the nature of his achievement within the book and elsewhere. The aim of this note is to assist readers to ponder what Elder wrote rather than mismeasuring it against whatever phantom texts Sitney would have preferred to encounter.
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