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SUNY Old Westbury Library, Old Westbury, NY 11658
Films On Demand (Streaming Online Video)
Edgar Allan Poe: A Concise Biography
In this introduction to Edgar Allan Poe's life and work from the Famous Authors series, viewers follow Poe's early life and fortunate adoption by the Allans. Poe's relationship with Frances Allan was tender, but he and John Allan did not get along. His stepfather sent him away to university and then cut him off completely. In response, Poe went to Boston and joined the army, but persisted writing. Eventually being dismissed from West Point, he went to live with Poe relatives in Baltimore and continue his writing and publishing. There he fell in love with his young cousin Virginia and brought her to Richmond, Virginia and later to New York and Philadelphia, to live with him throughout his literary ups and downs.
Emily Dickinson: A Concise Biography
This overview of the life and literature of Emily Dickinson from the Famous Authors series offers an insight into the reclusive author of 1,775 poems and a valuable collection of letters. The video depicts Dickinson’s story as that of an individual in a society that smothers individuality and discusses the struggle of a female poet among male contemporaries. She did, however, know of and admire women writers like George Eliot and the Bronte sisters. She read avidly, and the video discusses the strong influence Shakespeare's work had on her. Dickinson lived next door to her closest friends—her brother Austin and his wife Susan Gilbert—in the family house, The Homestead, in Amherst, Massachusetts, a place still influenced by the puritanical tradition of practicality, work ethic, and faith at the time, and despite her reclusive reputation did have other meaningful friendships and correspondences.
Harriet Jacobs Autobiography
Harriet Jacobs began writing her autobiography, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” in the 1850s. She would become the first woman to write a slave narrative; it documented the salacious advances of her owner, James Norcom, who was 40 years her senior.
In the Words of Frederick Douglass
In the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr. was the premier spokesman for the Black community, articulating the struggle for freedom and equality. Dr. King carried on the tradition of another eloquent voice for Black progress and equality, Frederick Douglass. This program from Tony Brown's Journal relives the Black struggle to achieve the American dream, in pictures and dramatic reenactments, and in the words or context of Frederick Douglass.
Introducing the Transcendentalists
In this new release, host James H. Bride brings the language and lives of the Transcendentalists to realization by recognizing the context, expression, and foundation of the movement. This program pioneers a new way for teachers and general readers to be on familiar terms with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays, as well as the journals and writings of Henry David Thoreau. Professors Richard Baker, Joel Myerson, Bob Richardson, Wes Mott, and Larry Buell add significant biographical commentary and teaching suggestions to introduce this body of American philosophy and literature. Still important in the curriculum for studying the development of 19th-century American ideas, Introducing the Transcendentalists reflects today’s 21st-century individual and philosophical challenges and associations. Additionally, historian and actor Richard Smith offers a reenactment of a day in Thoreau’s life at Walden Pond. A separate documentary, In The Footsteps of Henry David Thoreau, mirrors the challenges and isolation in his 19th-century Walden Pond experiment.
Presenting Mr. Frederick Douglass: The Lesson of the Hour
The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass comes back to life in this acclaimed theatrical performance featuring Fred Morsell, as he dramatically re-creates Douglass’s famous speech on slavery and human rights. With an eloquence and intelligence rarely matched, Frederick Douglass became a giant in the struggle against racial injustice. He called upon all Americans of every color to work to fulfill the vision of a just society that was proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This program was filmed at the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in Washington, D.C., where Douglass delivered his celebrated last speech, "The Lesson of the Hour." A Bill Moyers special.
Slavery and Freedom—American Passages: A Literary Survey
How has slavery shaped the American literary imagination and American identity? This program turns to the classic slave narratives of Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass and the fiction of Harriet Beecher Stowe. What rhetorical strategies do their works use to construct an authentic and authoritative American self?
Walt Whitman: A Concise Biography
This introduction to the life and poetry of Walt Whitman from the Famous Authors series begins by contextualizing the writer's early life in 19th-century Brooklyn and Long Island, New York. Whitman took a trip to New Orleans in an attempt to start a newspaper, but he was deeply opposed to slavery and did not fare well in the South. While Leaves of Grass was eliciting both praise and disgust, he became a medical orderly for soldiers in Washington in an attempt to contribute to the Civil War. Finally, Whitman settled in Camden, New Jersey, where he reconnected with nature at Timber Creek.