Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western (Austin Fisher)

Here is the description from amazon.com:

Though 1960s European cinema frequently reflected the shifting ideological tides which now characterize the era in the popular imagination, the complex and extensive relationship of the Italian – or “Spaghetti” – Western to these political ferments has gone almost entirely unnoticed. Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western fills this gap as the first in-depth analysis of militant political trends in the Italian Western. Providing a detailed, historically-grounded examination of the films of Damiano Damiani, Sergio Sollima and Sergio Corbucci, Austin Fisher reveals how and why these filmmakers responded to international and national events by inscribing Italian Far Left revolutionary doctrine, and a legitimacy of violence, into the genre. Offering fresh perspectives across the Western genre while recasting the Spaghetti’s influential position in exploitation cinema, Fisher brings the genre more firmly into the tradition of European political filmmaking.

Austin Fisher obtained his PhD in Media Arts from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2009, and is now an independent scholar, writer and editor.

Scheduled for April 26, 2011 for $85.00 (expensive)

Maybe it will be interesting, but I’m not sure. I hope it’s a scholarly treatment, but one can never tell-- it might be a political book. (It’s a shame we couldn’t have traded places with the Western Europeans since so many of them really love that system. We would have done so in a heartbeat.)

Sounds interesting, I’ll keep an eye out for that.

Well, isn’t the grass always greener on the other side of the hill? But you’re quite right, major. I often spoke to people from Poland, Rumania, Russia etc. and this is always one of the things that are brought up by them. The popularity of neomarxist ideas (mainly spread by German and French philosophers, ‘popularized’ by the media and popular artists) is an essential stage in post-war Western Europe. For a part it was a reaction to this war, WWII, and the Cold War, but its origins can be retraced to pre-war, or even late 19th century ideas, which were basically anti-Enlightment. Theodor Adorno is a name of cardinal importance here. It’s a quite complicated phenomenon, I can’t explain it in a few lines, and we’re actually experiencing a sort of repercussion of these ‘neomarxist’ days. The popularity of right-wing politics (which did not remain unnoticed on these pages) is a reaction to this period.

About the book: I read an article by this author week or so ago (it was a link on SWDB facebook pages); it’s a nice read, provided that you’re familiar with the sort of vocabulary people learn in studies like Media Arts. Most people here, won’t get very far in this book, I’m afraid. It would be nice to have an “in-depth analysis of militant political trends in the Italian Western (and) a detailed, historically-grounded examination of the films of Damiano Damiani, Sergio Sollima and Sergio Corbucci”. I’d like to read such a book, but I’m not sure Fisher’s book will close the gap.

Yap quite true, I remember being in one of those International Multinational Company meetings with people from everywhere in Europe, and the guys from the Baltic countries where more papists than the pope, they became really serious if any of us joke with teem by calling comunists or something of the kind, was a major offense, it was also the same thing (even more serious) with the troops from Poland and Estonia in Bosnia.
I also have a German friend that was born in East Germany, and I never forget him telling me about the film Good Bye Lenine, that only someone that not lived there could have made such a film.

On the other hand leftists feelings in Italy were reaaly strong, let’s not forget that during WWII Italy was like in a Civil War from 1943 on.
By the way I’ve just rewatched the other day Bertolucci 1900 I would make a revieew on it.

Hello all. It’s not really my place to intervene in a discussion about my book, but someone pointed me to this thread so I thought I’d offer my thoughts. Hope this is OK.

The book is an adaptation of my PhD thesis, so yes a scholarly text (not sure if that’s a good or bad thing), but I re-wrote it to widen its appeal as much as possible. Frayling was my external examiner and he encouraged me to get it published so I very much hope that it will offer something of interest to SW fans and scholars alike. Regarding politics, it’s not a book that drones on about Marxism; merely an historical and textual study of the films and their socio-political context from somebody who loves watching Spaghettis and is fortunate enough to be offered the chance to write about them (it’s mostly about Quien sabe, Se sei vivo, spara!, La resa dei conti, Faccia a faccia, Mercenario, Companeros and Tepepa, but touching upon many others).

Scherpshutter: yes I know what you mean about the article that was posted on Facebook. Rather heavy prose I’m afraid. That was, however, written for an academic journal, and we are compelled to “play the game” in academia by using the jargon of the discipline in order to get published. As I said, I hope the book will prove more accessible, since it’s aimed at a wider audience.

Oh, and the price. Yes, I’m annoyed about that. The publishers are only releasing it in hardback for now, but I hope that a paperback will follow.

Apologies again for sticking my nose in. All feedback and thoughts will be gratefully received with good humour.

You are welcome to answer any question we have about your book, and I don’t mind it if you make a little promotion for your book in this forum. At least not by telling us what it is about, or by trying to avoid misunderstandings about its content.
So, welcome to the forum. Maybe you like to write also about some other SW related things here.

I really would like to read it, but not for that price. For 30 € I’m in. For 40 or 50 bucks I must have read it before, to be sure that it’s worth the price. But how many people will buy it for 85 $?

Nice choice for external examiner!

Glad to hear that.

Paperback would be welcome! The price tag of $85 suggests an academic publication for libraries rather than the general public.

I think you might be spot on there Novecento. Publishers do tend to hedge their bets with academic books, so I get the feeling they want to test the water with libraries before committing to a more general release. Alas, I have no say on pricing, so it’s basically up to me to shoehorn it onto Film Studies reading lists to force university libraries to buy it!

A somewhat shameless plug but what the hell… I have found a site selling it at 24% off, but that’s the lowest I know of for now:

Nice to see you here Austin. And hope the book is received well.

I am now interested enough to pay the $85, Austin, and am very pleased that you are here on the forum.

Stick around!

Will wait for a few views on the book I think, but looks interesting.

The original asking price for Gire’s book is 85 euros so it’s not all that different. Having said that I’ve held off on buying Gire’s book precisely because of the prohibitive price. I think I am about to cave though…

I guess Austin’s book will have more text than Giré’s.

Giré’s book is hard-cover and very large, and it offers an incredible collection of posters, stills etc., all things which make it such an expensive book.

Personally I think 85 € is too much for a book (any book), but I’ve made an exception for Giré, so maybe I’ll make an exception for Austin too.

Blimey. Maybe I should give up academia and become a salesman!

Many thanks for the interest. I’m glad it’s being noticed.

Update: We will be handing out discount codes for the SWDB community to get the book at a cheaper price. We will also post a review asap and why dont we all start compiling questions to Austin because we plan to also post an interview with him.

Amazon.com reports that the scheduled publication date is now 30 August.

  1. Should we compile those questions here?
  2. How academic are the questions allowed to be?
  1. Good question (no idea, but seems logical)
  2. As academic as can be, he’s free to answer, so we’re free to ask

Nice. I’m sure we’ll all have more questions after we’ve read the book though.

Look forward to knowing how much discount :smiley: .