Call for chapters: A Critical Companion to Stanley Kubrick

deadline for submissions: 
March 29, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Elsa Colombani / Independent Scholar

A Critical Companion to Stanley Kubrick

Edited by Elsa Colombani 

Part of the Critical Companion to Popular Directors series

edited by Adam Barkman and Antonio Sanna

As 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s death, his influence on contemporary cinema keeps intensifying. Steven Spielberg recently paid homage to The Shining (1980) in his film Ready Player One (2018) when Damien Chazelle referenced 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) in First Man (2018). Meanwhile Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) and The Favourite (2018) clearly follow the footsteps of Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and Barry Lyndon (1975) respectively. Kubrick’s legacy looms over the 21st Century and fascinates artists and scholars alike, as the many studies dedicated to his work, from his passing to this day, can testify. ​

While at the time of their release his films were often misunderstood and undervalued, Kubrick is today considered as an unequaled visionary and auteur. In the preface to Michel Ciment’s seminal book on the filmmaker (Kubrick, 2003), Martin Scorsese writes: “[…] with each new film, he redefined the medium and its possibilities.” From his first feature film Fear and Desire (1953) to his last (Eyes Wide Shut), Kubrick directed thirteen feature films, all in different genres, from the epic (Spartacus, 1960) to the war film (Paths of Glory, 1957; Full Metal Jacket, 1987), while also taking on science-fiction (2001: A Space Odyssey) and the horror genre (The Shining, 1980). And yet, however separate and distinct Kubrick’s films can seem – both in scale and aesthetics –, their themes, obsessions, and directing interweave thus establishing a self-reflective and thought provoking thread throughout his entire filmography.

This anthology seeks previously unpublished essays that explore Stanley Kubrick’s body of work. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches that can illuminate the various aspects of the director’s work and visual style. This volume will undertake to address the entirety of his work. Essays exploring Kubrick’s photographs as well as his unrealized projects will also be considered. As this volume will be peer-reviewed and scholarly, chapters are to be written at a high academic level.

Contributions could include – but are not limited to – the following topics:

  • Old Hollywood and classicism​
  • Film genres (film noir, the epic, etc.)​
  • The Fantastic
  • Collaboration with Kirk Douglas​
  • Collaboration with Peter Sellers
  • Photography​ and cinematography
  • Color patterns
  • Shapes and symmetry
  • Sets and architecture
  • 18th Century Art
  • Sound and use of music
  • War​ and rebellion
  • Satire, black humor and caricature
  • Evil​ and crime
  • Eros and Thanatos
  • Passion and reason
  • Sex and sexual violence​
  • Depiction of the family unit (marriage and children)
  • Masks
  • Nihilism​
  • Misanthropy​
  • The unconscious, dreams and nightmares​
  • Madness​
  • Morality​ and transgression
  • Representations of masculinity and femininity​
  • The perception of time (intra and extra-diegetic)
  • Philosophical approaches

This anthology will be organized into thematic sections around these topics and others that emerge from submissions. We are open to works that focus on other topics as well and authors interested in pursuing other related lines of inquiry. Feel free to contact the editor with any questions you may have about the project and please share this announcement with colleagues whose work aligns with the focus of this volume.

Submit a 300-500 word abstract of your proposed chapter contribution, a brief CV and complete contact information to Elsa Colombani ( by March 29, 2019. Full chapters of 5,000-6,000 words will likely be due in late July after signing a contract with the publisher (we expect this to be a volume in the ongoing Critical Companion to Popular Directors series edited by Adam Barkman and Antonio Sanna and published with Lexington Books at Rowman & Littlefield). 

Note: Acceptance of a proposed abstract does not guarantee the acceptance of the full chapter into the completed volume.