André Bazin, Rhetorician: 999 Epigrams 1942-1954

Prescient and magisterial. An essential addition to every film lover’s library.
— Hilary Radner, Professor Emeritus of Film and Media Studies, University of Otago

Read an 11-page sample on the caboose site

André Bazin wrote and published some three million words of film criticism in his brief lifetime and sixteen-year writing career – equivalent to some thirty 250-page books. The vast majority of this material is untranslated, and most of it will likely remain so. These 999 pithy epigrams reveal that deep within this massive body of work, sometimes in the seemingly unlikeliest of places, lies a hitherto unknown Bazin, capable in the midst of his staggering output to come up with pithy zingers of astonishing clarity and insight across the vast breadth and depth of his thought and the range of his interests.

In a career which produced the aforementioned three million words of criticism, most of it written in ill health on a hectic daily or weekly schedule of reviews of sometimes humdrum movies about which, by Bazin’s own admission, it could be hard to find anything interesting to say, there is inevitably a certain amount of dross in Bazin’s oeuvre. Timothy Barnard has done the work of reading all of Bazin in the original French for the English-speaking reader and forged out of this vast treasure trove an astounding new Bazin that will keep readers glued to the page. In his reading, Barnard has spotted the golden nuggets in Bazin’s long flowing stream of words, picked them up, rubbed off any mud clinging to them and polished them over and over until they gleam.

Readers will discover in addition his by turns playful and acerbic wit, social engagement and unusual unerring aesthetic taste and instinct in commentary now more than sixty years old which has lost none of its bite or ability to jolt us into rethinking our critical commonplaces.

About one-fifth of the 999 epigrams in the book are drawn from caboose’s mammoth new volume André Bazin: Selected Writings 1943–1958, now in its second edition. The other four-fifths are new translations done especially for this volume of epigrams.

André Bazin, Rhetorician: 999 Epigrams 1942–1954 will immediately earn a favoured place on readers’ bookshelves and bedside table and leave them impatient for the follow-up volume, currently in preparation and covering the years 1954 to 1958, and which will include an essay on André Bazin as rhetorician by a leading Bazin scholar.

Please note that for copyright reasons this book cannot be sold in the U.S.A., U.K., Europe or Australia. Forthcoming in January 2021.

Praise for the forthcoming caboose volume André Bazin, Rhetorician: 999 Epigrams 1942–1954:

The volume follows in the time-honoured tradition of Erasmus, gathering together succinct epigrammatic statements that encapsulate the astute perceptions of a writer who arguably founded the field of film studies. Organised chronologically by year, André Bazin’s insights into the nature of cinema remain the cornerstones on which much of film philosophy builds today––as fresh as when they were written, these passages, which vary in length, are both prescient and magisterial. Scholars, students and cinephiles will treasure this collection as a source of inspiration, intellectual stimulation––and bed-time reading. An essential addition to every film lover’s library.

— Hilary Radner, Professor Emeritus of Film and Media Studies, University of Otago