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In Dreams Begin Responsibilities: A Jonathan Rosenbaum Reader

In Dreams Begin Responsibilities: A Jonathan Rosenbaum Reader




*This title is on pre-sale. Pre-orders ship in late April.

Hardcover, approx. 500 pages
6 in. x 9 in. | 15.24 cm. x 22.86 cm.

A culmination of nearly six decades of writing from the mind of iconoclastic film, literary, and music critic Jonathan Rosenbaum.

Looking back at six decades of his writing, where many flights of fancy and fantasy prove to suggest certain duties as well as privileges, Jonathan Rosenbaum has teased out three threads: the film criticism he is mainly known for (especially during his 20-year stint at the Chicago Reader), the literary criticism he has also been publishing over the past half-century, and the jazz criticism he has been writing during the same period.

Believing that these three art forms are interrelated and have often been intertwined in his perceptions of them, he builds a manifesto out of a hundred of his best pieces, arranged chronologically, taking on such disparate figures as Stanley Kubrick, Thomas Pynchon, Sonny Rollins, Michael Snow, Philip Roth, Duke Ellington, Spike Lee, Roland Barthes, Keith Jarrett, Jean-Luc Godard, Vladimir Nabokov, and Ahmad Jamal, and such diverse subjects as Adam Curtis documentaries, Mad, Peanuts, Louis Armstrong, Italo Calvino, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Shoah, Johnny Guitar, PlayTime, Chantal Akerman, Kelly Reichardt, Kira Muratova, William Faulkner’s Light in August, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, and, in a final essay dealing with all three artforms, a film of a jazz cantata by André Hodeir derived from a passage in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.


Jonathan Rosenbaum was film critic for the Chicago Reader from 1987 to 2008. Born in Alabama in 1943, the son and grandson of movie exhibitors, he grew up in a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. While living in Paris (1969-1974), he worked as an extra for Robert Bresson and as a script consultant for Jacques Tati, before working as assistant editor for Monthly Film Bulletin and staff writer for Sight and Sound in London (1974-1977). He has written more than a dozen books, including most recently, Cinematic Encounters: Interviews and Dialogues and Cinematic Encounters 2: Portraits and Polemics, and by his own count, has published more than 9,000 pieces since the late 60s. He has taught at State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York University, the School of Visual Arts (in New York), the University of California branches at Berkeley, San Diego, and Santa Barbara, the University of Chicago, the University of St. Andrews (in Scotland), the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, KinoKlub Split (in Croatia), and FilmFactory (in Sarajevo).