A Robin Wood Bibliography
A descriptive, illustrated bibliography of the work of noted film critic
Robin Wood: A Brief Biography
Robin Wood was born (Robert Paul Wood) on 23 February, 1931, in London England, to Robert Wood, an artist, and Florence Wood, né Earthy. He attended Jesus College, Cambridge, where he was influenced by F. R. Leavis and A. P. Rossiter, and graduated in 1953 with a diploma in education.
From 1954 to 1958, Wood taught in schools in both England and Sweden (it is no coincidence that one of Wood's first books was on Ingmar Bergman, or that the first critical study of Wood is in Swedish). After a year in Lille, France, teaching English, Wood returned to England, teaching English there and again later in Sweden.
On May 17th, 1960, Wood married Aline Macdonald (or MacDonald) in Lund, Sweden, where he had met his future wife. They had three children, Carin, Fiona, and Simon, and were married 14 years.
Wood soon began writing film criticism. Though he went to Cambridge, and the editorial staff of Movie were Oxford, Wood began to contribute to the magazine in 1962, mostly on the strength of an essay he did on for Cahiers du cinema on Psycho. In 1965, he published his first book, Hitchcock's Films, at the invitation of A. Zwemmer publishers in London.
From 1969 to 1972, under the aegis of Peter Harcourt, Wood was a lecturer in film at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. In September, 1974, Wood and his wife divorced. Around this time, he had a relationship with John Anderson, the dedicatee in at least one of Wood's books. Later he was to meet Richard Lippe, with whom he lived since 1977.
Wood came out as a gay man, almost in passing, as he says, in a Times Educational Supplement review, and then later in a famous Film Comment essay in 1977. From 1973 to 1977, Wood was a lecturer on film studies at the University of Warwick, Coventry, where he met the future film scholar Andrew Britton, whose influence on Wood, by his own account, was as great as Wood's on his student. Wood became professor of film study at York University, Toronto, Ontario in 1977, until his retirement in the early-1990s.
One of the most prolific film writers since the 1960s, Wood published at least one book or significant essay every year. Wood has (unintentionally) inspired his own cult of worshipers, not unlike those followers of his own mentor, Leavis. Only Raymond Durgnat and Andrew Sarris have an equal status for film students of a certain generation. In 1985 Wood formed a collective with several other students and colleagues, set up to publish CineACTION!. As of this writing the magazine continues to come out about three times a year. In recent years he had been an underused resource on DVD retrospective "making of" documentaries. Discs he has appeared on include, from Hitchcock alone, Marnie, The Birds, and Rear Window in supplementary material directed by Laurent Bouzereau.
According to autobiographical material in one of his recent books, in 1989, Wood spent his sabbatical year in San Francisco, where he formed a life-affirming if temporary relationship with a man named Yuichi, which also inspired him to take an early retirement, designed to free him to write novels, of which, according to clues on dust jackets and elsewhere, he has written at least four, one, Trammel Up the Consequence, published posthumously. The novel has been reviewed by Jonathan Rosenbaum. Robin Wood himself provided an account of his life and career to interviewer Armen Svadjian in Your Flesh.
Wood died in December 2009 of leukemia at the age of 78. There are numerous obituaries available on the Web, which will be linked here.
Special Note: This bibliography is unauthorized. It is unaffiliated with Robin Wood, his associates, or any of his magazine publications.
A shot from Truffaut's Day for Night: as the film-within-the-film's director listens to the score of his film via telephone, he opens a package in his office, and out falls numerous recognizable books: Dryer's Jesus script, a Movie anthology of the works of Godard, and Robin Wood's Hitchcock's Films (3rd Edition).