As viewers, actresses, directors and writers, women have always been central to cinema. However, full evidence of their roles has until now remained scant and dispersed, eclipsed in historical opinion formed through the texts of men. In magisterial scale Red Velvet Seat restores this film culture to visibility, using women's written accounts from the beginnings up to 1950 to understand the significance of cinema for them. Sources include fashion and parenting magazines, newspapers and literary journals, memoirs and etiquette guides, while contributors range from novelists such as Virginia Woolf, Colette and Rebecca West to psychoanalysts, poets, social reformers, labor organizers, film editors, screen beauties, and race activists. For each section, Antonia Lant and Ingrid Periz provide an introduction, explaining the historical context and linking their themes to the major social and political movements of their time, as well as to more traditionally feminine concerns. Compendious and absorbing, Red Velvet Seat is an invaluable contribution to the history of cinema.
Djuna Barnes (1892-1982) was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, and worked as a journalist in New York before leaving the country to spend many years in Paris and London. She returned to New York in 1941, and lived in Greenwich Village until her death. Born in California in 1893, Anita Loos was herself a celebrity of the Jazz Age that produced Lorelei Lee. She began writing movie scripts by the time she was twelve, and before her death in 1981 she had written an enormous number of stories, screenplays, and more. She was also the author of an autobiography, "A Girl Like I."