The Films of Derek Jarman


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About the Book

Derek Jarman’s films explore the possibilities and limitations of same-sex love and self-expression during various historical eras, ranging from ancient Egypt to present times. His work covers a millennium of sexual repression and efforts to escape it. Jarman provides us with a cinematic history of people whose homoerotic passions had a major impact on western civilization in religion, art, politics, philosophy, and war.
This book provides background information on each of Jarman’s fifteen scripts and films. The chapters are “program notes” to his films from a historical perspective. An interpretation of Jarman’s intentions, gleaned from the director’s writings and works about him, is also provided. This work reveals Jarman’s importance as a keen student of the limits of historical knowledge, and delineates the role of history in inspiring change or preserving inertia in the present struggle against homophobia.

About the Author(s)

William Pencak is a professor of history at the Pennsylvania State University and co-editor of the essay collection Paul Robeson: Essays on His Life and Legacy (2002). He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

William Pencak
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 213
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1430-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents



Akenaten: A Queer Pharaoh?     21

The Garden: The Relevance of a Queer Jesus     29

Sebastiane: Early Christianity and the Roman Empire     44

Edward II: From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance     55

Caravaggio and the Italian Renaissance     70

The Angelic Conversation: Queer Dee and Shakespeare?     85

The Tempest: From the Renaissance to the Present     100

Wittgenstein: The Grey Flame and the Early Twentieth Century     108

War Requiem: The Long Shadow of the Great War     120

Jubilee without John Dee? Modern Times     132

The Last of England: Modern Times Revisited     142

Neutron and Sod ’Em: Possible Futures     151

Blue: “Our Time Is the Passing of a Shadow”     157

Afterword: Imagining October     167

Appendix: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jarman’s Predecessor     171

Notes     185

Works Cited     197

Principal Films Discussed     199

Index     201

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice; “an excellent, stimulating book…every nook and cranny is worth exploring”—Film & History.