Reframing Vivien Leigh takes a new look at the laboring life one of the twentieth century's most iconic stars. Author Lisa Stead reframes the dominant narratives that have surrounded Leigh's life and career, offering a new perspective on Vivien Leigh as a distinctly archival subject. The book examines the collections and curatorial practices that have built up around her, exploring material documents collated by her own hand and by those who worked with her. The book also examines the collection practices of those who have developed deep, long-standing fandoms of her life and work. To do so, the book draws upon new oral history work with curators, archivists and fan collectives and examines a variety of archived correspondence, items of dress and costume, script annotations, photography, press clippings, props and memorabilia. It argues that such material has the potential to produce a new interpretation of Leigh as a creative laborer. As such, the book casts new light on the labor of archiving itself and the significance of archival processes and practices to contemporary feminist film historiography.
Lisa Stead is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Exeter, UK. She has published in the areas of adaptation, interwar women's cinema and literature, fan magazines, location filming histories, and cinemagoing histories. She is the author of Off to the Pictures: Women's Writing, Cinemagoing and Movie Culture in interwar Britain (2016), and co-editor (with Carrie Smith) of The Boundaries of the Literary Archive (2013). She is Principle Investigator of AHRC Early Career Fellowship project Reframing Vivien Leigh: Stardom, Archive and Access (2019-2020).