Mason, Fran 1962–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Mason, Fran 1962–

PERSONAL:

Born 1962. Education: Southampton University, Ph.D., 1993.

ADDRESSES:

Office—University of Winchester, Winchester SO22 4NR, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

University of Winchester, Winchester, England, lecturer in humanities.

MEMBER:

Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association, International Association for Media and History.

WRITINGS:

American Gangster Cinema: From "Little Caesar" to "Pulp Fiction," Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2002.

Historical Dictionary of Postmodernist Literature and Theater, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Fran Mason's interests include postmodernist culture, genre film—especially gangster and film noir—and the cultures of cyberspace. Mason is a film critic, but he is also widely versed in postmodernist genres of all sorts, including literature, criticism, and theater. His studies of modern technology encompass mind control and cyberpunk, among other topics. Mason's two books, though widely varied in subject matter, show the breadth of his scholarly pursuits. American Gangster Cinema: From "Little Caesar" to "Pulp Fiction" explores America's social and cultural issues as portrayed in gangster films through most of the twentieth century. Historical Dictionary of Postmodernist Literature and Theater serves as a repository for information on the postmodernist movement, its writers, critics, and playwrights, including explanations on the aims and practices of the movement. Both works have evolved from the author's teaching experiences in the United Kingdom.

In American Gangster Cinema, Mason seeks to define the gangster genre and demonstrate how it has reflected America's changing views of organized crime, gang and family relations, and even masculinity, over the decades. Beginning with three classic gangster movies from the 1930s, Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, and Scarface, Mason charts the changing gangster/gang archetype from its earliest renditions to more modern, or even postmodern films such as Pulp Fiction. "This book is extremely well-researched and very useful," noted Georges-Claude Guilbert in Cercles. Guilbert particularly praised Mason's discussion of how gangster films "reflect or promote modernity" by illustrating unconventional family ties, alienation, and subordination of individuality. Guilbert concluded that the "enjoyable book" will "deserve a place of choice on my crammed bookshelves, as it will no doubt on those of many a film-buff."

The postmodern movement can be daunting to college students due to its international scope and its sophisticated level of experimentation. Mason's Historical Dictionary of Postmodernist Literature and Theater aims to demystify postmodernism through entries on its practitioners, its scholars and critical ideas, its themes, and its visual presentations. The book contains an overview essay on the movement and a chronology of important events in the postmodernist movement from 1939 through 2006. Library Journal contributor Lisa Flanzraich felt that the work "gives the reader a lucid understanding of this elliptical literary development." In the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Neil Murphy called the book "comprehensive, inclusive, well-researched and alert to the many nuances within postmodernism." Murphy concluded that the Historical Dictionary of Postmodernist Literature and Theater "is extremely significant and should be acknowledged as such."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Library Journal, June 15, 2007, Lisa Flanzraich, review of Historical Dictionary of Postmodernist Literature and Theater, p. 96.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 2003, review of American Gangster Cinema: From "Little Caesar" to "Pulp Fiction," p. 224; May, 2007, review of Historical Dictionary of Postmodernist Literature and Theater.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, summer, 2007, Neil Murphy, review of Historical Dictionary of Postmodernist Literature and Theater, p. 147.

ONLINE

Cercles,http://www.cercles.com/ (March 22, 2008), Georges-Claude Guilbert, review of American Gangster Cinema.

University of Winchester Web site,http://www.winchester.ac.uk/ (March 22, 2008), author biography.