Explores how nostalgia operates in contemporary US film and television.
Bringing together prominent transatlantic film and media scholars, Was It Yesterday? explores the impact of nostalgia in twenty-first century American film and television. Cultural nostalgia, in both real and imagined forms, is dominant today, but what does the concentration on bringing back the past mean for an understanding of our cultural moment, and what are the consequences for viewers? This book questions the nature of this nostalgic phenomenon, the politics associated with it, and the significance of the different periods, in addition to offering counterarguments that see nostalgia as prevalent throughout film and television history. Considering such films and television shows as La La Land, Westworld, Stranger Things, and American Hustle, the contributors demonstrate how audiences have spent more time over the last decade living in various pasts.
Matthew Leggatt is Senior Lecturer in English and American Literature at the University of Winchester, United Kingdom and the author of Cultural and Political Nostalgia in the Age of Terror: The Melancholic Sublime.
"All 14 of these diverse and often brilliant essays are revelatory because they accept how much is at stake." — Arts Fuse