Jackson, Kevin 1955-
Jackson, Kevin 1955-
Born January 3, 1955, in London, England; son of Alec (a cavalry officer) and Alma Jackson. Education: Pembroke College, Cambridge, B.A., 1977, M.A., 1980, graduate study, 1977-80. Politics: "Vague." Religion: "Uncertain."
Home—15 Nascot St., London W12 0HE, England. Office—Independent, 1 Canada Sq., Canary Wharf, London, England. Agent—Georgina Capel, Simpson-Fox Associates, 52 Shaftesbury Ave., London W1V 7DE, England.
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, teaching fellow in English, 1980-82; British Broadcasting Corporation, London, England, producer and director for radio and television, 1983-87; Independent (newspaper), London, England, associate arts editor, 1987—; Alces Press, managing director; lecturer at institutions, including Royal College of Art; has also worked as a documentary film producer and editor.
National Union of Journalists.
Jan Dawson Award, Jan Dawson Trust, 1983, for film criticism.
(Editor) Schrader on Schrader, Faber (Boston, MA), 1990.
(Editor) The Humphrey Jennings Film Reader, Carcanet (Manchester, England), 1993.
(Editor) Selected Writings of Dylan Francis, Cambridge Quarterly Editions (Cambridge, England), 1995.
(Editor, with Robin Hackney) A Parent-Teacher's Guide to Children's Educational Software, Childhood Education Publishing, 1996.
The Language of Cinema, Routledge (New York, NY), 1998.
Invisible Forms: A Guide to Literary Curiosities, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Jonathan Stamp) Building the Great Pyramid, Firefly Books (Buffalo, NY), 2003.
The Verbals: Iain Sinclair in Conversation with Kevin Jackson, Worple Press (Tonbridge, Kent, England), 2003.
Withnail and I, BFI (London, England), 2004.
Writer of documentaries for BBC-TV, including Middlemarch: A User's Guide, Dennis Potter: A Tribute, Who Framed Charles Dickens?, and Thinker, Painter … Scholar, Spy. Contributor to periodicals, including Granta, Modern Review, Leonardo, Times Literary Supplement, Vogue, Queen, Harper's, and Sight and Sound. Contributing editor, Arena, 1992—.
Kevin Jackson is a documentary film-maker, educator, and author whose books span a range of topics from literature and the arts to history and culture. In The Humphrey Jennings Film Reader, for example, Jackson assembles a collection of scripts, personal correspondence, poems, BBC broadcast transcripts, and other material on the well-known British filmmaker. Jackson provides material on Jennings's work as part of the Crown Film Unit during World War II, and on the movies he made following the war. The notes and correspondence provide a glimpse into Jennings's personal relationships, particularly with his wife, who was a refugee in America at the time the letters were written. The material assembled by Jackson "builds into a pen-portrait of the man and the period," commented Robert Carver in New Statesman & Society. "Serious-minded, moralistic, a transparently good egg, Jennings managed to be both engaging and ingenuous," Carver remarked.
Invisible Forms: A Guide to Literary Curiosities is an "entertaining and often accurate book [that] addresses those more or less peripheral aspects of printed volumes that tend to be found, metaphorically and literally, in the outlying areas of the individual page and of the codex as a whole," commented William Flesch in the Modern Language Quarterly. He explores the development, meaning, and use of elements such as titles, dedications, acknowledgments, appendices, footnotes, indexes, epigraphs, prefaces, stage directions, and other book features both obscure and well known. Examples and in-depth commentaries fully explain the characteristics and use of these aspects of the printed tome. Jackson also looks at how a number of notable authors, including William Wordsworth, T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, and James Boswell assembled and used the elements under discussion. Joyce Sparrow, writing in the Library Journal, called the book a "gold mine for students" and for "readers wanting to know more about the words surrounding the text." Flesch concluded that "Jackson's nimbly eccentric reading will certainly arouse the literary curiosity it betokens."
Jackson takes on a broader topic relevant to society at large in The Oxford Book of Money, a broad collection of literary works, poems, essays, novel excerpts, aphorisms, and other material focusing on the concepts, use, and misuse of money. The material covers topics such as riches and poverty, prices and values, and other aspects of currency and the excess and lack of it. The book is a "sumptuous source of amusement or contemplation," remarked Denise Perry Donavin in Booklist.
Turning to ancient history, Jackson and coauthor Jonathan Stamp explore one of the ancient world's most enduring mysteries in Building the Great Pyramid. Jackson presents detailed explanations, computer-generated images, and diagrams that suggest that only about four thousand men were needed to build the pyramids, rather than the more than one hundred thousand workers long thought to be the required number. Furthermore, Jackson and Stamp relate that they believe the men who built the structures were not slaves or prisoners, but were instead young men conscripted into a period of service to the pharaoh. The authors also present a variety of archival images of the pyramids and provide detailed information on the use and social context of the pyramids in Egyptian culture, religion, and everyday life. They discuss Egyptian beliefs in the afterlife, burial rites, mummification, and other aspects of interment within pyramids. A Publishers Weekly contributor concluded: "This is an excellent beginning for anyone interested in the culture of ancient Egypt and the pyramids."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 1995, Denise Perry Donavin, review of The Oxford Book of Money, p. 987; March 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Building the Great Pyramid, p. 1137.
Library Journal, October 15, 2000, Joyce Sparrow, review of Invisible Forms: A Guide to Literary Curiosities, p. 69.
Modern Language Quarterly, June, 2003, William Flesch, review of Invisible Forms, p. 272.
New Statesman & Society, December 3, 1993, Robert Carver, review of The Humphrey Jennings Film Reader, p. 40.
Publishers Weekly, February 24, 2003, review of Building the Great Pyramid, p. 69.
Science News, March 15, 2003, review of Building the Great Pyramid, p. 175.
Carcanet Press Web site,http://www.carcanet.co.uk/ (May 29, 2006), biography of Kevin Jackson.
Channel 4 Online,http://www.channel4.com/ (May 29, 2006), biography of Kevin Jackson.