Royal S. Brown

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Research Interests

  • Film
  • Music
  • Contemporary Literature
  • Theory
  • Translation
  • 20th Century


  • Ph.D., Columbia University


Affiliated Campus(es)

  • Queens College



  • Overtones and Undertones: Reading Film Music. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994.
  • Focus on Godard (editor). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1972.

Selected articles and Chapters in Anthologies:

  • "Shostakovich's Symphonies: An Appraisal of the Music and the Recordings." High Fidelity 19, 4 (April 1969): 43-47; 94.
  • "Introduction: One Plus One Equals." Focus on Godard (1972, see "Books, etc."): 5-19.
  • "Jean-Luc Godard: Nihilism Versus Aesthetic Distantiation." Focus on Godard: 109-22.
  • "La Chinoise: Child's Play?" Focus on Godard: 168-73.
  • "French Music Since Debussy and Ravel." High Fidelity, 23, 9 (September 1973): 50-65.
  • "An Interview with Shostakovich." High Fidelity 23, 10 (October 1973): 86-89.
  • "An Interview with Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975)." High Fidelity 26, 9 (September 1976): 64-67.
  • "Jean Tardieu et le mythe." Nouvelle Revue Française 291 (March 1977): 62-66.
  • "Changing the Score." American Film 2, 6 (April 1977): 62-63.
  • "Considering De Palma." American Film 2, 9 (July/August 1977): 54-61. Excerpts rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 20. Ed. Sharon R. Gunton, ed. Detroit: Gale Research Col., 1981.
  • "Auric Speaks of Then and Now." New York Times (25 June 1978): D19-D-20.
  • "Hitchcock's Spellbound: Jung Versus Freud." Film Psychology Review 4, 1 (Winter/Spring 1980): 35-58.
  • "Eugène Ionesco" (24 entries in the bibliography by Rosette C. Lamont). In A Critical Bibliography of French Literature, Vol. 6: 1837-64.
  • "Jean Tardieu." In A Critical Bibliography of French Literature. Richard A. Brooks, ed. Vol. 6: The Twentieth Century. Ed. Douglas W. Alden and Richard A. Brooks, in 3 vols. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1980, III: 1806-09.
  • "Music and Vivre sa vie." Quarterly Review of Film Studies 5, 3 (Summer 1980): 319-33.
  • "Dressed to Kill: Myth and Male Fantasy in the Horror/Suspense Genre." Film/Psychology Review 4, 2 (Summer 1980): 169-82.
  • "Herrmann, Hitchcock, and the Music of the Irrational." Cinema Journal 21, 2 (Spring 1982): 14-49; rpt. in Pro Musica Sana 10, 3-4 (Fall 1983): 15-25; 11, 1 (Spring 1984), 6-13; 11, 2 (Fall 1984): 11-12.
  • "Film Musings": Ongoing column appearing in the bimonthly journal Fanfare; 1983-present.
  • "The Three Faces of Lady Macbeth." Russian and Soviet Music, Essays for Boris Schwarz. Malcolm Hamrick Brown, ed. Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1984: 245-52.
  • "Herrmann, Hitchcock, and the Music of the Irrational." Film Theory and Criticism, 3rd ed. Gerald Mast and Marshall Cohen, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985: 618-49; revised version of 1982 article.
  • "Vertigo as Orphic Tragedy." Literature/Film Quarterly, 14, 1 (January 1986): 32-43; rpt. in David Boyd, ed. Perspectives on Hitchcock. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1995: 112-127.
  • "Film and Classical Music." In Film and the Arts in Symbiosis: A Resource Guide. Gary Edgerton, ed. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1987: 162-215.
  • "The Cinema of Alain Robbe-Grillet: The Structure of Myth and the Mythology of Structure." Alain Robbe-Grillet Film Retrospective. New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1989: 3-11. Includes filmography, bibliography, and selections from Robbe-Grillet's prose.
  • "An Interview with Alain Robbe-Grillet. Literature/Film Quarterly, 17, 2 (Spring 1989): 74-83.
  • "Serialism in Robbe-Grillet's l'Eden et après: The Narrative and Its Doubles." Literature/Film Quarterly 18, 4 (1990): 210-20.
  • "In Praise of Video: A Response to the 'Statement on the Use of Video in the Classroom.'" Cinema Journal 31, 4 (Summer 1992): 66-71.
  • "Film Music: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." Cineaste 21, 1-2 (1995): 62-67.
  • "La Dynamique des émotions: Bernard Herrmann." Cahiers du Cinéma, special issue: "Musiques au cinéma" (December 1995): 25-27; followed by "Entretien avec Bernard Herrmann" (translation of the revised version of "An Interview With Bernard Herrmann" [see 1976] that appears in Overtones and Undertones): 28-30.
  • "Modern Film Music." The Oxford History of World Cinema. Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, ed. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1996: 558-66.
  • "Back from Among the Dead: The Restoration of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo." Cineaste 23, 1 (Summer 1997): 4-9.
  • "Henri Dutilleux" (biographical essay). Boston Symphony Orchestra (program booklet, week 3, 1997-98 Season): 23-37; program note on Dutilleux's The Shadows of Time follows: 37-39; bibliography/discography, 53-54. A modified version of the program note, in English, French, and German, appears in the program booklet of the Erato CD recording, Henri Dutilleux: The Shadows of Time.
  • "Lost and Found: Céline and Julie Go Boating." Cineaste 23, 3 (1998): 30-31.
  • "The Music of Vertigo." In insert booklet accompanying Douglas Gordon, Feature Film (London: Artangel/Book Works/agnès b., 1999): 5-8.
  • "Sound Music in the Films of Alain Robbe-Grillet." Cinesonic: The World of Sound in Film, ed. Philip Brophy. North Ryde, Australia: Australian Film Radio Television School, 1999: 189-209.
  • "Quo Vadis, Dr. Lecter?: From Manhunter to Hannibal." The Perfect Vision 28 (January/February 2000): 26-31.

Selected Reviews:

  • "Strzetelski, Jerzy. Some Problems of Short Fiction." The Polish Review, 24, 1 (Spring 1979): 91-93.
  • "Double Life, The Autobiography of Miklós Rózsa." Fanfare 7, 2 (November/December 1983): 423-24.
  • "A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann. By Steven C. Smith." Fanfare 15, 2 (November/December 1991): 602-03.
  • "Alphaville" (laser disc of the film). Cineaste 22, 1 (1996): 52.
  • "Seven" (laser disc of the film). Cineaste 22, 3 (1996): 44-46.
  • "La Cérémonie" (film). Cineaste 22, 4 (1997): 50-51.
  • "The Last Prodigy: A Biography of Erich Wolfgang Korngold" (book). Cineaste 23, 3 (1998): 50.
  • "Cleo from 5 to 7; Vagabond" (laser discs of the films). Cineaste 23, 4 (1998): 56-57.
  • "Music and the Silent Film: Contexts and Case Studies 1895-1924" (book). Cineaste 24, 1 (1998): 92-93.
  • "Mr. Klein" (video of the film). Cineaste 24, 1 (1998): 82-83.
  • "The War Symphonies: Shostakovich Against Stalin" (video of the film). Cineaste 24, 2-3 (1999): 88-89.
  • "Les Vampires" (video of the film serial). Cineaste 24, 4 (1999): 49-50.

Work in Progress

  • Images of Images: The Modern and Postmodern Mythologies of Narrative Cinema. Book-length study of the relationship between myth and the cinema, concentrating on postmodern mythology. This study will include major sections devoted to Hitchcock and to Robbe-Grillet.
  • While Daddy Was Away at War: An Autobiographical Critique of Psychotherapy.
  • The Black Maskers. Screenplay based on the play by Leonid Andreyev.

Film Appearances

  • Two appearances in the hour-long documentary Music for the Movies: Bernard Herrmann (New York: Alternating Current International, Inc., 1992). This film received an Academy Award Nomination for the Best Feature-Length Documentary for 1992. Shown on the Bravo cable network in October 1995. Released on VHS and laser-disc videos by Sony Classics in 1995.
  • Several appearances in the hour-long documentary Bilder, die man hören kann (a portrait of the film-composer David Raksin directed by Gerhard Midding). Made for German television (WDR Fernsehen). 1994.


  • Hall, R. Albert. "An Interview with Royal S. Brown" (First of Two Parts)." Fanfare 2, 3 (January/February 1979): 8-9; 136-39.
  • Hall, R. Albert. "An Interview with Royal S. Brown (Second of Two Parts)." Fanfare 2, 4 (March/April 1979): 7-10; 145-47.
  • Juillerat, Lee. "The Critic's Life: He Views His Field As That of Aesthetics." Herald and News (Klamath Falls, Oregon), 13, 088 (18 February 1983): 2.
  • Serviss, Naomi Freedman. "Movie Music: The Reel Score: Professor Notes the Best and Worst in Film Scoring." New York Newsday (Queens Edition, 8 January 1995): A60.
  • Hubbard, Robert. "Royal S. Brown: Writing Film Music Criticism." Film Score Monthly 58 (June 1995): 10-11

Talks and PResentations

  • Interviewed at length on WRVR-FM (New York) on the Shostakovich 14th Symphony. Broadcast 1 January 1970.
  • Participated (in French) in the panel discussion "Plein feu sur New York," broadcast in France on France Culture (O.R.T.F.), 20 April 1974.
  • "Alexander Scriabin as a Symbolist Poet." 10 April 1979, "Celebration of Russian Symbolism," C.U.N.Y. Graduate School, New York, NY.
  • "Music and Vivre sa vie." 22 March 1980, Society for Cinema Studies Annual Conference, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.
  • Four lectures on the films of Claude Chabrol. 27 October, 3, 10, 17 November, New School, New York, NY.
  • "The Musical Structure of Robbe-Grillet's La Maison de rendez-vous." 9 April 1981, N.E.M.L.A. Convention, "Music and Literature" section, Québec City, Canada.
  • "The Professorial Type in Modern French Theater." 3 April 1982, N.E.M.L.A. Convention, "Modern French Drama" section, Hunter College, New York, NY.
  • "The Beast Must Die: Narrative Versus Genre Deception in the Nicholas Blake Novel and the Claude Chabrol Film." 24 September 1982, "Seventh Annual Colloquium on Modern Literature: Deceit and Deception in Modern Literature and Film," sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages, University of West Virginia, Morgantown, W. VA.
  • Talks on Federico Fellini's films, Satyricon and Juliet of the Spirits; a talk on "How to Read a Film." 16-18 February 1983, Oregon Institute of Technology, sponsored by the Klamath Falls, Oregon, Arts Council.
  • "Vertigo as Orphic Tragedy." 4 March 1983, University of Rochester under the sponsorship of the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, the Film Studies Program, and the Student Activities Office.
  • Presented a program on film music and was interviewed, "IBM's Salute to the Arts: Moving Image," WQXR-FM, 2 November 1984.
  • "Music Structure in Pierrot le fou: Jean-Luc Godard and Antoine Duhamel." 7 June 1985, Salisbury Conference on Literature and Film, Salisbury State College, Salisbury, MD.
  • "Robbe-Grillet's l'Eden et après (1971): Narrative vs. Musical Structure." 6 February 1986, F.L.L.L. and Film Studies Spring Lecture Series, "Contemporary European Film and Film Criticism," University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.
  • "The Found Chord: Music for the Lost Hitchcock Films." 14 June 1986, Conference on Alfred Hitchcock's Re-released films, Pace University, New York, New York.
  • "Thématique de Jean Tardieu." 4 April 1986, N.E.M.L.A. Conference, Rutgers Universtiy, New Brunswick, NJ.
  • "Cinema Then/Cinema Now: The Man Who Knew Too Much." Panelist with Janet Cutler on the CUNY TV program, originally broadcast 10, 12 October 1986.
  • "Serialism in Robbe-Grillet's l'Eden et après: Authorial Structure Versus Spectatorial Structuration." 23 May 1987, Society for Cinema Studies Conference, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.
  • "Cinema Then/Cinema Now: Breathless." Panelist with Ellen Lampert on the CUNY TV program, originally broadcast 25-26 February 1989.
  • "Claude Chabrol's Que la bête meure, 1970." 18 April 1989; lecture/discussion sponsored by the C.U.N.Y. Graduate School and University Center and the French Students' Forum, C.U.N.Y. Graduate Center, New York.
  • "Robbe-Grillet: Sexist or Feminist?" 28 April 1989, "Robbe-Grillet, Cinéaste, A symposium of the Films of Alain Robbe-Grillet," New York University.
  • "Objects, Events, and Time: Towards a Theory of Film Based on the Interaction Between Myth and History." 1 February 1990, "Literature and Film in the Historical Dimension, 15th Annual Conference on Literature and Film," Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • "Cinema Then/Cinema Now: Blackmail." Panelist with Elisabeth Weis on the CUNY TV program; originally broadcast on 23-24 February 1991.
  • "Classic Scores from the Films of Errol Flynn": Guest speaker for this segment in the Music of the Cinema radio series. Fed on 3 December 1991 from WNYC to the National Public Radio network.
  • "Robbe-Grillet Mythomane: Le Mensonge Vrai de l'Homme qui ment." Given on 10 October 1992 in the colloquium "Robbe-Grillet à Soixante-Dix Ans/Robbe-Grillet at Seventy," Washington University, St. Louis, MO.
  • "Music as Image as Music: The Overtones and Undertones of the Film Score." Opening address given at the Society for the Preservation of Film Music's Second Annual International Film Music Conference, 5 March 1993, American Film Institute, Hollywood, CA.
  • "From Marienbad to La Belle captive: Alain Robbe-Grillet and the Politics of Narrative." Hour-long talk given 29 April 1993 to graduate students from the Romance Languages and Communications Departments at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
  • "Images as Mummies, or The Hyperpatriarchal Versus the Postpatriarchal in a Battle for the New Flesh." Paper given at the annual Screen Studies Conference sponsored by the journal Screen and the University of Glasgow, 26 June 1993, Glasgow, Scotland.
  • "Ennio Morricone, An Appreciation." Talk given at the Third Annual International Film Music Conference," sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of Film Music, Glendale, CA, 19 March 1994.
  • "The Art of Writing Film Music Criticism." Talk given at the Third Annual International Film Music Conference," sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of Film Music, Glendale, CA, 17 March 1994.
  • "La Maison de rendez-vous: Music and the Remythified Narrative." Paper given at the Conference "The New Novel and Its Extensions: Literary and Visual," sponsored by the New Novel Association, Elmira College, Elmira, NY, 16 October 1994.
  • "One Hundred Years of French Film: My Life to Live": half-hour-long discussion of Godard's Vivre sa vie in the series 100 Years of French Film, CUNY TV. Originally broadcast in December 1994.
  • One-and-a-half-hour illustrated lecture on Bernard Herrmann and his successors for the course at The New School for Social Research entitled "Revisiting the Film Music Project" (Barry Salman), Graduate Media Studies Program, School of Communications, New York City, 1 March 1995.
  • "Recasting the Shape of Music: Bernard Herrmann and the Hollywood Film Score." Hour-long talk given in the symposium "Film und Musik" in the "Internationale Filmfestwochen Wien" sponsored by Synema, Vienna, Austria, 30 April 1995.
  • "The Mirror of Meta-fiction: Robbe-Grillet as the Writerly Reader of Trans-Europ-Express." Forty-five-minute paper presented in the conference "Au Temple des Rêves: L'Écrivain à l'Écran" sponsored by Living Time Films, Ltd., and the Maison Française, Oxford University, at Oxford, England, 25 September 1996.
  • Participated, with Alain Robbe-Grillet, Dimitri DeClercq, Roch Smith, and Raylene Ramsay, in panel discussion following the London premiere of Robbe-Grillet and Dimitri DeClercq's film, Un Bruit qui rend fou (The Blue Villa) at the French Institute, London, 27 September 1996.
  • "Film on Video as Popular Archives." Paper given in the panel "Film and TV Studies in the Archive: History, Theory, and Practice," Convention of the Modern Language Association, Washington, DC, 28 December 1996.
  • "City Cinemathèque: The British Tradition of Quality: The Lady Vanishes." Half-hour-long discussion of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes for the CUNY-TV program, first broadcast 1, 2, and 7 March 1997.
  • Presentation of Hitchcock's two World-War-II films, Bon Voyage and Aventure malgache, presented by New York Film Buffs. New York City, Alliance Française, 22 May 1997.
  • "Sound Music in the Films of Alain Robbe-Grillet": hour-long paper presented in Cinesonic: The World of Sound in Film: 1st Annual Conference on Film Scores & Sound Design sponsored by the Media Arts/Department of Visual Communication in the Faculty of Art, Design & Communication of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Melbourne, Australia, 31 July 1998.
  • "Mythe et musique chez Robbe-Grillet": 45-minute paper presented in A Celebration of Alain Robbe-Grillet in Honor of his 25 Years as Visiting Professor at NYU. New York, New York University, 9 October 1998.
  • Presentation and discussion of Leonard Bernstein's music for On the Waterfront as a part of the Philadelphia Orchestra's "American Originals" Festival. Philadelphia, PA, Gershman Y, 2 November 1998.
  • A two-hour talk, "Bernard Herrmann compositor," a second two-hour talk, "Bernard Herrmann, un compositor para el cine," and a 2½-hour workshop, "Análisis filmico-musical de films con música de Herrmann" in the 12th International Conference on Música Cinematográfica y escénica: La atracción del abismo: Herrmann, Welles, Hitchcock: Autores en el Hollywood de los estudios. Seville, Spain, 11 November 1998.
  • Appeared on the National Public Radio program Performance Today presenting the second installment of NPR's two-year "Milestones of the Millennium" series: The History of Music in Film. Initially broadcast on 6 January 1999.
  • Appeared on the National Public Radio program Performance Today: "Royal Brown on the Academy Awards." Initially broadcast on 19 March 1999.
  • "Alfred Hitchcock's Legacy": Hour-and-a-half presentation given during National Library Week. Queens College, 14 April 1999.
  • Appeared on the National Public Radio program Performance Today: "Royal Brown on The Red Violin." Initially broadcast on 18 June 1999.
  • Appeared on The Bill Ayers Show (WPNJ-FM, New York, New Jersey): live, hour-and-a-half call-in show (12:00 midnight to 1:30 a.m.) on the topic of the cinema. Broadcast on 12 July 1999.
  • Appeared on the National Public Radio program Performance Today discussing music used within the narratives of Alfred Hitchcock films. Initially broadcast on 13 August 1999.
  • Appeared on the WNYC-FM (New York) program Spinning on Air discussing Alfred Hitchcock. Broadcast on 13 August 1999.
  • "Cinétexte and French Culture: Interactions": Talk given in the seminar series "Globalization and French Studies: Strategies for Developing Civilization and Cultural Studies," sponsored by the PhD Program in French (CUNY Graduate School), the Department of Modern Languages (Baruch College, CUNY), and the Department of Romance Languages (Hunter College, CUNY). Baruch College, 9 December 1999.
  • Appeared on the National Public Radio program Performance Today with a live review of Fantasia 2000. Initially broadcast on 20 December 1999.
  • Appeared on the National Public Radio program Performance Today discussing major film scores of 1939. Initially broadcast on 27 December 1999.

Original Photographs

  • Of Alain Robbe-Grillet, used as the frontispiece for Anthony N. Fragola and Roch C. Smith, The Erotic Dream Machine: Interviews with Alain Robbe-Grillet on His Films (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992).
  • Two of Alain Robbe-Grillet, front cover and p. 74, Literature/Film Quarterly 17, 2 (1989).
  • Of Alain Robbe-Grillet, inside cover, Alain Robbe-Grillet Film Retrospective. New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1989.
  • Of Miklós Rózsa. Fanfare, 11, 6 (July/August 1988): 408.
  • Of Bernard Herrmann. Accompanies my review "North by Northwest by Hitchcock by Herrmann." Fanfare 3, 6 (July/August 1980): 12.
  • Of Henri Dutilleux. Accompanies "A Conversation with Henri Dutilleux." Musical America (see articles).
  • Of Georges Auric. Accompanies "Auric Speaks of Then and Now." The New York Times (see articles).
  • Of Leon Kirchner. Used on cover of Musical America featuring my "Musician of the Month: Leon Kirchner" (see articles).


  • "Interview with Royal Brown," in Dmitri Shostakovich Speaks. Interview also appears in program notes. 4 Melodiya discs 33M40-41705-12 (Moscow: 1979).

CUNY Positions/Appointments

  • Summer Session Coordinator, Department of Comparative Literature, Queens College, CUNY, since 1982.
  • Member of the CUNY Ph.D. Certificate Program in Film since 1993.
  • Director, Film Studies Program, Queens College, since 1982.
  • Deputy Executive Officer, Ph.D. Program in French

Professional Affiliations and Memberships

  • Curator, Alain Robbe-Grillet Retrospective, Anthology Film Archives, New York, 19-30 April 1989.
  • Contributing Editor for Literature/Film Quarterly as of Spring 1988.
  • Editorial Board, Persistence of Vision (Film Journal of the CUNY Film Faculty), Vol. 1, no. 1.
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Affiliated Campus(es)

  • Queens College