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Filmography - Authors: Biographies, interviews and readings: N-Z

Titles on DVD and streaming video as of July 2012

Authors - Biographies, interviews and readings

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of July 2012. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible.  All DVDs listed below are located in Media Services on the Lower Level of Bender Library. To search the library’s complete videos holdings on biology topics (including VHS tapes) keyword searches in the library catalog will be necessary:


Norman Mailer The American. 2012.  1 videodisc (85 min.). The life and times of Norman Mailer as told by those closest to him and by the man himself. A provocateur, a rebel, a performer, and a true American, Norman Mailer never stopped giving people something to talk about. This documentary goes beyond the Mailer of the book shelves and NY Times bestseller list to Mailer the social critic, family man, filmmaker, and lover. Here's a look into the life of a complex, intellectual, working-class hero.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10058

Octavio Paz. 2005.  Five Latin American Authors Speak: Five Latin American authors speak.  1 streaming video file (90 min.). The evocative poems of Octavio Paz, as featured in Pasado en claro, are nourished by Paz' intrinsic belief that poetry constitutes "the secret religion of the modern age. A remarkable prose stylist, he also wrote a large body of essays on poetics, literary and art criticism, and Mexican history, politics, and culture. In this program, the late Nobel Laureate addresses a variety of subjects, including his ongoing interest in politics, his views on relations between Mexico and Spain, the aesthetics of surrealism, and the characteristics of great writers.  Streaming video


Oscar Wilde A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (36 min.). This introduction to the life and literature of Oscar Wilde from the Famous Authors series begins by introducing Wilde's passionately political, literary, and flamboyant parents and nineteenth century Dublin, the earliest and strongest influences on the writer. Wilde went on to study classics at Oxford and develop his talents. The film discusses Walter Pater's large influence on Wilde's philosophy, most importantly his idea that everything beautiful was good, and the cultivation of Wilde's theatrical and decadent persona. Eventually, Wilde married, began editing 'The Woman's World,' and garnering literary success for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and his plays. The film finally explores the major scandal of Wilde's life, when he was criminally charged for homosexual acts which, while not secret in society, were formally exposed by his lover Lord Alfred Douglas' father. Wilde went to jail for this offense, and there wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol and De Profundis.  Streaming video


Paulo Coelho The alchemist of words. 2001.  1 streaming video file (48 min.). With sales of more than 32 million books in 51 languages, Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho is one of the most widely read authors in the world. This program captures Coelho's story through conversations with the award-winning writer and those who know and admire him. Coelho's use of a symbolic language, designed to transcend the intellect to speak directly to the heart, is discussed along with colorful incidents spanning his life, from his youthful involvement with the hippie movement to his emergence as a world-class author. In addition, The Alchemist, a number one bestseller in 29 countries, and some of his more recent writings are examined.  Streaming video


Robert Burns A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (35 min.). This program from the Famous Authors series offers an overview of Robert Burns’ life and major works, including occasional poems, reflective poems, dramatic poems, and lyrics. Beginning with a reading of  (3 )4z (BTo a Mouse, (3 )4y  (Bthe video introduces Burns parents, William and Agnes Burns, who, though poor farmers, supported the writer’s education and surrounded him with Scottish folk songs. As he grew older, Burns rebelled against traditional Scottish values of chastity and modesty in both his life and his poetry, and engaged in a debate group with friends. After some personal scandal and the literary success of his first book of poems, Burns moved from the family farm to Edinburgh and used social connections to gain a position as an exciseman and to his literary advantage. His various love affairs and a life-long search for intellectual equals left Burns unsatisfied.  Streaming video


Robert Louis Stevenson A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (33 min.). In this introduction to Robert Louis Stevenson's life and work from the Famous Author's series, the audience gets a look at the Scotland of the nineteenth century and the members of Stevenson's family. By the time Stevenson went to university, he'd committed to becoming a writer and sought out a bohemian, literary life, which upset and intermittently estranged his father. After he suffered some illness, his parents accepted his lifestyle and supported his writing. Not until he married his wife Fanny did Stevenson produce successful fiction. They moved often to find a climate suitable to Stevenson's health, but were happy and found literary success.  Streaming video


Sandra Cisneros, Reading, 8 October 1996 . 2011.  Lannan Foundation videos: Lannan Foundation videos.  1 streaming video file (27 min.). Sandra Cisneros reads her story "Eleven" on October 8, 1996.  Streaming video


Simone de Beauvoir. 89.  1 videodisc (105 min.). Simone de Beauvoir recalls the events and ideas of her life in conversations with Jean-Paul Sartre and Claude Lanzmann.  DVD 6976

Sir Walter Scott A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (36 min.). Opening with an excerpt from 'The Lady of the Lake,' this introduction to the life and work of Sir Walter Scott from the Famous Author series contextualizes life in Scotland in the late 18th century. Scott spent much of his younger years touring the country with his lawyer father, becoming fascinated with Scottish culture, landscape, architecture, and people, and eventually going to school for law himself. After law school, however, he spent most of his life writing, with much success, touring Scotland, and building his home in the Scottish countryside. He became a popular figure of the Scottish spirit.  Streaming video


Stone reader. 2004.  2 videodiscs (129 min.). In 1972 Mark Moskowitz read a New York Times book review of "The stones of summer" by Dow Mossman, a title which, later in Moskowitz's life would later become an object of obsession. Though he shelved the book for 25 years, Moskowitz finally read it and was amazed at its ingenuity. He was shocked that its one-time author never penned another book. Determined to solve the mystery, Moskowitz documented his research project in finding the forgotten author and getting to the bottom of the publishing mystery of how so many great books of literature, and great authors, just disappear.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 843

Thomas Hardy A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (35 min.). This program from the Famous Authors series offers an overview of the biography and works of Thomas Hardy. The film introduces the writer’s hometown of Dorchester, which was a strong part of his identity and the model for the fictional land of Wessex where most of his stories were set. Insights into his lower class upbringing, waning religious conviction, and the major relationships in his life, with his mother Jemima and his wife Emma, cultivate an understanding of his work.  Streaming video


Toni Morrison. 1 streaming video file (25 min.). This program introduces one of the greatest contemporary American authors: winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature, a literary Moses stripping away the idols of whiteness and blackness that have prevented blacks from knowing themselves. Readings from Beloved and Jazz show how she returns to the pain of slavery and segregation to restore wholeness to the black psyche. The past,Morrison says, is more infinite than the future... It's avoiding it, deceiving ourselves about it, that paralyzes growth.  Streaming video


Under a coloured cap Sean O'Casey, his life and work. 2005.  1 streaming video file (82 min.). This program paints an intimate and fascinating portrait of Sean O'Casey: a controversial playwright, a prolific memoirist, and one of the great figures of the Irish literary renaissance. Narrated and directed by Shivaun O'Casey, his daughter, the program profiles the renowned writer's life of hardship and triumph, idealism and disenchantment. Topics under discussion include O'Casey's grim formative years; his activities in various socialist movements and in the movements for Irish independence; his satiric and often violent tragicomedies The Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock, and The Plough and the Stars; and his later years in self-imposed exile in Britain.  Streaming video


Victor Hugo A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (47 min.). This program from the Famous Authors series provides an overview of the life and writings of Victor Hugo, author of the novels The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. The video contextualizes Hugo's childhood as the son of an officer in Napoleon's army during the French Revolution. As a schoolboy, Hugo began cultivating his talents as a journalist and poet, and his older brother nurtured these talents and arranged for the publication of his first book of poetry. By his early twenties, he enjoyed much public recognition, and the video illuminates the connections between the tumultuous political developments in France and Hugo's personal life and literary production.  Streaming video


Virginia Woolf A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (35 min.). This overview of Virginia Woolf's life and work from the Famous Author's series introduces the writer's upperclass family and their many literary friends who cultivated her talents and later inspired characters. The film takes a look at Woolf's response to the early loss of her mother and sister and her mental health struggles thereafter. Woolf secured an important position in London literary circles, and was part of the famous Bloomsbury group, and proceeded to write innovative fiction that changed the way women were represented in literature.  Streaming video


Voltaire A Concise Biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (36 min.). In this program from the Famous Authors series, viewers are introduced to the biography and work of the French writer Voltaire. The video discusses conditions and politics of 18th century France, and reviews important tenents of the  Enlightenment, both critical to understanding the writer's work. Voltaire was often in trouble, and sometimes imprisoned, for voicing his controversial views and mocking the court.  Streaming video


W. B. Yeats A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (33 min.). This program from the Famous Authors series begins by contextualizing W.B. Yeats' early life in 19th century Ireland and introducing the Yeats' artistic family and the Irish legends that were so influential in his life and work.  Yeats eventually became a ring leader of a group of artists in London called the Tragic Generation. Yeats became known as a political and literary voice of Ireland and an advocate for the performance of Irish drama.  Streaming video


Walden diaries, notes and sketches. 2009.  2 videodiscs (180 min.). "Poet and hero of the American counter-culture, Jonas Mekas, born in Lithuania in 1922, invented the diary form of film-making. Walden, his first completed diary film, an epic portrait of the New York avant-garde art scene of the 60s, is also a groundbreaking work of personal cinema"--Slipcase.  DVD 9024

Walt Whitman A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (33 min.). This introduction to the life and poetry of Walt Whitman from the Famous Authors series begins by contextualizing the writer's early life in nineteenth 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 illiciting 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.  Streaming video


What happened to Kerouac? 86.  1 videodisc (96 min.). Investigates the personal history and creative process of Jack Kerouac, father of the Beat Generation, author of "On the road", and a pivotal figure of the fifties countercultural revolution. Shows what happened when fame and notoriety were thrust upon an essentially reticent man.  DVD 2931

Wilde. 2002.  1 videodisc (116 min.). Notorious poet and playwright Oscar Wilde devours all that life has to offer, but there's only so much that late Victorian England will tolerate. As Wilde delves into a taboo world of unrealized homosexual desire, his life rapidly becomes a turbulent charade. He cannot escape the repercussions wrought by a "pure" society, nor will he hide in shame for being true to his nature.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 543

Willa Cather The road is all. 2005.  1 streaming video file (90 min.). Her contribution to American letters is astonishing, including O Pioneers!, My Antonia, Death Comes for the Archbishop, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning One of Ours. This edition of American Masters profiles Willa Cather, one of our nation's most unique and powerful literary voices. In 1883, Cather was plucked from her luxurious childhood home in Virginia and dropped into the tall grass prairies of Nebraska-an experience that exhilarated her and became the force behind much of her writing. Rediscovered in every decade for the past 100 years, Cather's works have inspired authors and readers around the world. Distributed by PBS Distribution.  Streaming video


William Faulkner. 2006.  1 streaming video file (24 min.). The writer who best represents 20th-century Southern narrative led an existence every bit as colorful and dramatic as his fictional sagas. This program beautifully recounts William Faulkner's life and the great literary works it produced, exploring his affinity for the tragic and whimsical aspects of a decaying, racially fractured South. Beginning with the author's birth in New Albany, Mississippi, the video describes his early military and romantic ambitions; his family life, alcoholism, and stints in Hollywood; and his eventual garnering of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-all within the framework of his vast literary output. Summaries of major Faulkner novels-including Soldier's Pay, Sartoris, The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Light in August, and Absalom, Absalom!-highlight the author's recurring themes of loss, faded glory, and dignity in the face of mortality. Passages from several works are read aloud and displayed visually as text.  Streaming video


William Faulkner A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (35 min.). This overview of the biography and fiction of William Faulkner from the Famous Authors series introduces the major themes of Faulkner's poems, plays, short stories, and novels. The film contextualizes life in the American south in the first half of the 20th century; Faulkner's southern upbringing, family history, and race relations in the wake of the Civil War were a major influence on his fiction. In 1924, Faulkner left his small town of Oxford and spent six months in New Orleans, where he was finally able to see the conditions of his upbringing from a distance and become acquainted with a literary circle with Sherwood Anderson at the center, jump-starting his serious fiction writing.  Streaming video


William S. Burroughs a man within. 2011.  1 videodisc (87 min.). An in-depth look at the troubled and brilliant world of American author William S. Burroughs, one of the first writers to cross the boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s. Features never-before-seen archival footage and exclusive interviews with colleagues and confidants including John Waters, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Laurie Anderson, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, and David Cronenberg.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 8144

William Shakespeare A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (46 min.). This introduction to William Shakespeare's life and works from the Famous Authors series begins at the author's childhood home in Stratford and tours the institutions of the town and country that would have been part of Shakespeare's life. The film follows the 23-year-old writer to London, providing a picture of the city in Elizabethan and Jacobean England when Shakespeare went to make his success in the theater. Tension between the Catholics and Protestants marked the time, and the film explores these conditions and the world of the theater, with all its major players, patrons, and buildings of the era.  Streaming video


William Wordsworth A concise biography. 2011.  Famous authors: Famous authors.  1 streaming video file (37 min.). Opening by introducing William Wordsworth's boyhood home in the Lake District of England, this film from the Famous Authors series offers an overview of the writer's work and biography. The Lake District greatly inspired Wordsworth and resulted in his apparent fascination with nature. The film contextualizes the poet's life at Cambridge and then in France, the ongoing conditions of the French Revolution, and the important relationships of Wordsworth's life, including those with Annette Vallon, Mary Hutchinson, his sister Dorothy, and the poet Samuel Coleridge, within whom he wrote Lyrical Ballads.  Streaming video


Zora Neale Hurston Jump at the sun. 2008.  1 videodisc (83 min.). A biography of African American author and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, the first black woman to enter the American literary canon.  DVD 4889