A Critical Companion to Clint Eastwood
A Critical Companion to Clint Eastwood
Deadline for submission of abstracts:
November 1, 2023
Prof. Ian Bekker & Dr. Philip van der Merwe
North-West University, South Africa
Edited by Ian Bekker and Philip van der Merwe
Clint Eastwood is the director of 41 films, from his directorial debut with Play Misty for Me in 1971 up to Cry Macho in 2021 at the time of writing. Due to his acting roles not only in films such as Gran Torino (2008), Million Dollar Baby (2004) and The Bridges of Madison County (1995), but also famously as ‘The Man with No Name’ in Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western ‘Dollars trilogy’ as well as Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry series, Eastwood is a common household name. He is, however, also an impressive director whose oeuvre includes evocative films such as A Perfect World (1993), Mystic River (2003), American Sniper (2014) and many others. More than merely entertaining, many of his films have artistic merit and are marked by a diversity of themes such as trauma, loss, death, grief and love. Other themes that contribute to the pathos of his films include heroism, war, patriotism, politics and morality. There is also a tendency in his films to fictionalize historical ‘stories’ and present them as literary cinematic reinventions, as is the case of Richard Jewell (2019), The 15:17 to Paris (2018), Sully (2016), Invictus (2009) and many others. As such, his oeuvreoffers an incredibly fertile ground for critical examination, analysis and discussion.
At 93 years of age, Clint Eastwood is preparing to direct his 42nd film, entitled Juror No. 2. This anthology is aimed at honoring the extensive oeuvre of this director and will be part of the A Critical Companion to Popular Directors series edited by Adam Barkman and Antonio Sanna.
The goal is to showcase previously unpublished essays that explore Eastwood’s oeuvre from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We are particularly interested in contributions that take a ‘long view’ across Eastwood’s films and thus provide an holistic perspective on his oeuvre as a whole (i.e. the films directed from 1971 up to 2021; or later if his next film is available before the publication of this volume).
There are several themes worth exploring when analyzing Eastwoods’s works, utilizing any number of theoretical frameworks of one’s choosing. We request that chapters be based on formal, academic analysis, i.e., using the methodology of a theoretical framework as an approach to his films.
Contributions may include (but are not limited to) the following topics (feel free to apply with any other topics than those named below):
- Themes such as those mentioned above (humanity, trauma, loss, death, grief, love, heroism, war, patriotism, politics, and morality, etc.)
- The fictionalization of historical ‘stories’/history (possibly in terms of possible worlds theory)
- Eastwood’s genres
- Cinematic style
- Narrative structures
- Recurrent elements
- Composition of the protagonists
- Adaptations of novels
- Philosophical questions
- Gender and queer readings
- Ecocritical interpretations
- Cultural studies and popular culture
- Music and sound in Eastwood’s films
The 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. Feel free to contact the editors of the anthology 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.
Please submit a 300-500 word abstract of your proposed chapter contribution, a brief CV and complete contact information to Prof. Ian Bekker (Ian.Bekker@nwu.ac.za), and Dr. Philip van der Merwe (Philip.VanDerMerwe@nwu.ac.za) by 1 November 2023. Full chapters of 6000-7000 words will be due upon signing a contract with the publisher which will take place once the editors have submitted a full proposal to the publishers of the series and as soon as we have selected the list of chapters. (We will inform you as soon as possible about the further detailed schedule.) Note: all full chapters submitted will be included subject to review.