ReFocus: The Films of William Wyler

deadline for submissions: 
June 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
University of Edinburgh Press
contact email: 

Call for Papers 

ReFocus: The Films of William Wyler 

In 1925, William Wyler was the youngest director at Universal.  His final film was in 1970.  This forty-five-year career not only spanned the silent to the sound era, but also connected classic Hollywood to “new Hollywood.”  The range of his films also traverses a wide spectrum of genres: from westerns, The Westerner (1940) to adaptations of classic literature, Wuthering Heights (1939); from crime thrillers, The Desperate Hours (1955) to rom-coms, Roman Holiday (1953); from controversial topics, The Children’s Hour (1961) to musicals, Funny Girl (1968), a body of work capped by his three Best Picture/Best Director efforts: Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and the big-screen epic Ben-Hur (1959).  His three Oscars for Best Director are an achievement surpassed only by John Ford.  Wyler also garnered awards for those he worked with, steering five actresses and two actors to Academy Awards in leading roles, as well as seven acting Oscars in supporting roles.  The range of his work and his role in the studio system make Wyler an interesting, if not enigmatic, study in “auteurship.”  His life experience as one of Hollywood’s early immigrant artists also speaks to the foreign influence on classic Hollywood.  These are just a few of the areas in which this collection of scholarly essays seeks to contextualize and theorize his entire canon and his relationship to American cinematic history and American culture.

We are currently soliciting 150-200 word abstracts for chapters to be included in an essay collection on director William Wyler.   The Films of William Wyler will be a scholarly volume published in the University of Edinburgh’s ReFocus series, examining American film directors.  Series editors are Robert Singer, Gary D. Rhodes, and Frances Smith. ReFocus features a series of contemporary methodological and theoretical approaches to the interdisciplinary analyses and interpretations of the work of American directors, from the once-famous to the ignored, in direct relationship to American culture --its myths, values, and historical precepts.  Essays may focus on a single film by Wyler, a group of films, or themes and topics that pervade his work, and explore his cinematic influence.

Essays accepted and included in this anthology should be approximately 6,000 to 8,000 words referenced in Chicago endnote style.  Note: Acceptance of a proposed abstract does not guarantee the acceptance of the full chapter into the completed volume.  

Please attach a curriculum vitae and abstract and email by April 10th, 2021 to the editor:

John M. Price, PhD