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Stanley Kubrick is generally acknowledged as one of the world’s great directors. Yet few critics or scholars have considered how he emerged from a unique and vibrant cultural milieu: the New York Jewish intelligentsia.
Stanley Kubrick reexamines the director’s work in context of his ethnic and cultural origins. Focusing on several of Kubrick’s key themes—including masculinity, ethical responsibility, and the nature of evil—it demonstrates how his films were in conversation with contemporary New York Jewish intellectuals who grappled with the same concerns. At the same time, it explores Kubrick’s fraught relationship with his Jewish identity and his reluctance to be pegged as an ethnic director, manifest in his removal of Jewish references and characters from stories he adapted.
As he digs deep into rare Kubrick archives to reveal insights about the director’s life and times, film scholar Nathan Abrams also provides a nuanced account of Kubrick’s cinematic artistry. Each chapter offers a detailed analysis of one of Kubrick’s major films, including Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut. Stanley Kubrick thus presents an illuminating look at one of the twentieth century’s most renowned and yet misunderstood directors.