Author Topic: Call for Papers - Silent Film Director Paul Leni - Deadline: 10-01-2017  (Read 404 times)


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Call for Proposals: Refocus: The Films of Paul Leni

deadline for submissions:  October 1, 2017
full name / name of organization:  Erica Tortolani and Marty Norden, University of Massachusetts Amherst
contact email:

Described by Siegfried Kracauer as one of the outstanding film directors of the post-World War I era, Paul Leni (1885-1929) is a significant yet overlooked figure in the German and US cinemas of the silent period. A frequent collaborator with stage director Max Reinhardt, Leni worked as an art designer for some of the most prominent German directors of the time before coming into his own as a director. Creating both avant-garde and commercial films in Germany, Leni quickly became known for his captivatingly macabre productions. Critics and audiences alike praised these films, which were marked by elaborate set designs, innovative use of light and shadow, and adept storytelling abilities. His best-known film, Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (or Waxworks, 1924), catapulted him into the international spotlight, and in 1927 he signed an agreement with Universalís Carl Laemmle to come to the US to create a string of mystery and horror films. The resulting productions, including The Cat and the Canary (1927) and The Man Who Laughs (1928), garnered Leni an even greater following amongst international audiences and cemented his status as a cinematic visionary until his untimely death in 1929.

We seek proposals on Leniís filmic work for an edited collection that will be a part of Edinburgh University Pressí ReFocus series, supervised by series editors Robert Singer and Gary Rhodes. Proposals may be on any aspect of Leniís cinematic pursuits. Proposed essays should be theoretically, critically, or historically grounded and draw upon primary source materials when appropriate. Approaches and topics include, but are not limited to:

Leniís early career and collaborations with contemporaries such as Max Reinhardt, Ernst Lubitsch, and Fritz Lang
Close studies of any of his German or American films, including his Rebus series of short films
Leniís stylistic and thematic contributions to Expressionist cinema
Leni and the Kammerspielfilm
His set designs, cinematography, and/or lighting designs
Audience and/or critical reception of his films
His relationship with Carl Laemmle and Universal Studios
His early attempts at sound cinema
Leniís source material, such as screenplays, novels/short stories, and stage plays
Studies of Leniís writings on the creative process
Leniís films in comparison with those of his contemporaries
The relationship between Leniís films and the tidal wave of 1930s US horror films
Leniís influence on other international films, both past and modern
Suggestions outside of the above areas are encouraged. If you have any questions regarding the appropriateness of your topic, please donít hesitate to contact us.

Proposals should be approximately 250-500 words and be accompanied by a 50-100 word author biography. All submissions must be in English and included as Microsoft Word or PDF attachments. We will consider proposals to include previously published essays with the understanding that the authors will secure all copyright clearances and pay any necessary republishing fees if the essays are accepted.

The deadline for abstract submissions is October 1, 2017. Please send your proposals and any inquiries to both co-editors, Erica Tortolani ( and Marty Norden ( Accepted contributors will be notified by October 15, 2017. Initial drafts of chapters will be due April 15, 2018.