Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth

silent filmSilent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth is a broad cultural study that connects the rise of film to the rise of America as a cultural center and world power in the twentieth century. Cohen argues that through the medium of silent film, America was able to sever its literary and linguistic ties to Europe, assert its cultural independence, and forge a unique form of cultural expression.

“Much of [Cohen’s] stimulating book deals with a conjunction in American history, the arrival of film around 1900 just at the right time for a vibrant national mythology to find its perfect medium…. [She] posits a strong case for a marriage made in historical heaven between this mythology and film.” –Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic

 “Why as American pop culture become so dominant? One intriguing is given [here.] Cohen…shows that the development of the silent film ‘sustained the American myth and sold it to the world.'” –Edward Rothstein, New York Times

“Cohen’s seamless integration of seemingly disparate facts is refreshing and convincing…. A thoughtful, engaging [exploration] of the American myth of self-creation.” –Library Journal

“Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth is the most accessible account I know of the aesthetic and historical ramifications of this most remarkable of art forms. Beautifully written and imaginatively conceived, it provides a powerful introduction to the form for those who have never thought seriously about silent films and offers a splendid evocation of their power for those who already know and love them.” –Jonathan Freedman, coeditor of Hitchcock’s America