An Aesthete at the Movies
I ENCOUNTERED Parker Tyler for the first time back in the very late 40′s (either in 1948 or ’49) when he came to Columbia to deliver a lecture on the artist as a movie character in both the literal and colloquial sense. He spoke in the basement of what is now Butler Library to a small gathering of the curious, down among book stacks in the cultural catacombs to which serious discussions of the cinema were consigned in those days. As a lecturer, Tyler seemed self-possessed, academically chic, and knowingly unruffled by his predominantly passive audience.
He began by apologizing for not speaking ad lib as a previous lecturer in the series had done, and then proceeded to read a reasonably literate, humorless diatribe against Hollywood philistinism, then, especially, the deadest of dead horses.
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