Duo to discuss works of film critic Farber


Robert Polito and Patricia Patterson will discuss “Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber,” edited by Polito, at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at D.G.Wills Books, 7461 Girard Ave. Patterson was Farber’s wife and collaborator.

Emanuel “Manny” Farber (1917-2008) was at his home in Leucadia when he passed away at age 91. He began his career in the 1940s writing art and film criticism for The New Republic and The Nation. Also an artist, his first group exhibition was in 1945, followed by his first solo exhibition in 1957.

While pursuing art full time, Farber continued as a film critic until the late 1970s for Time, The New Leader, Cavalier and Artforum. He also contributed to Commentary, Film Comment, City Magazine and Film Culture.

Farber taught film at UCSD from 1970 to 1987. Vanity Fair added him into its Hall of Fame in June 1998.

Considered by many to have reinvented film criticism with his unusual and pointed prose, Farber’s 1962 essay “White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art” is one of his best-known. He challenged the work of filmmakers such as Orson Welles, John Huston and Alfred Hitchcock that fellow critics applauded and instead championed the B-movies, westerns and horror films, and was an early advocate for filmmakers later acclaimed as American masters: Val Lewton, Samuel Fuller, Raoul Walsh and Anthony Mann.

This new complete collection of his writing on film from the Library of America, “Farber On Film,” will include his early and previously uncollected weekly reviews for The New Republic and The Nation, as well as his essays, some written in collaboration with Patterson, on Godard, Fassbinder, Herzog, Scorsese, Altman and others.

It was edited by distinguished scholar Polito, director of the writing program at The New School in New York. His many books include “Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson,” which received the National Book Critics Circle Award and an Edgar Award; “A Reader’s Guide to James Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover”; and “At the Titan’s Breakfast: Three Essays on Byron’s Poetry.”

Polito is also editor of the Library of America volumes “Crime Novels: American Noir of the ‘30s and ‘40s,” “Crime Novels: American Noir of the ‘50s” and “The Selected Poems of Kenneth Fearing.” He is editor of “The Everyman James M. Cain” and “The Everyman Dashiell Hammett.” His essays and poems have appeared in numerous publications.

For more details, call the book store at (858) 456-1800 or visit www.dgwills books.com.