A fury for seeing: Cinema, audience and leisure in London in 1913
AbstractThis article analyses an anonymous article from The Times in 1913 that considers the phenomenon of metropolitan cinema-going. Cinemas had first appeared in London in 1906, and had enjoyed an explosion in numbers since 1909. They were an inescapable presence on London's streets, drawing in a vast new audience, and led to much social comment. The writer of The Times article sets out to explain what it is that is drawing so many people to the screen. While the initial tone suggests that cinema will be dismissed as just another 'craze', the writer progressively reveals his fascination with cinema by recording his emotional and intellectual processes in the act of spectatorship, with the assumption that these are experiences common to all. This article expounds on ideas put forward by The Times article's writer with reference to contemporary and subsequent theories of the psychology of film, philosophy, audience studies and leisure studies. It considers the early cinema's special position in the history of leisure, and argues that the writer of The Times article's real subject is human happiness.