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Today’s Metrograph Book Fair Includes Collection of Late Critic and Author Tony Pipolo

It’s the year of book fairs featuring the collections of voracious cinephiles. Summer’s end saw the Tom Verlaine Book Sale, where several friends and colleagues picked up movie-related editions. And this weekend sees another collection hit the market, this time at New York’s Metrograph Theater. As part of their Holiday Book Fair, Metrograph today and December 16 will be selling the personal collection of books, magazines and journals collected by critic Tony Pipolo, who passed away this past Spring.

From the announcement:

A passionate moviegoer, intellectual polymath, writer of great acclaim, and Professor Emeritus of film and literature at CUNY, Pipolo amassed a one of a kind collection in his Maspeth, Queens home, a treasure trove which connects the dots between the past and present of films and filmmaking, from the deep underground to high Hollywood.

“It has been our honor to be invited into the Pipolos’ orbit and experience Tony’s personal view of film history and culture,” said Matthew Folden, Head of Metrograph Editions. “Tony’s love of books was unparalleled and the opportunity to present a portion of his vast archive is thrilling. I hope that redistributing these books, most with his handwritten name and date of purchase on the front endpaper —along with varying degrees of marginalia and ephemera included— properly serves his memory and that fellow bibliophiles will find the same heartening experience with these volumes as we have had.”

With a wide-reaching influence in New York City and beyond, Pipolo was the editor of The Psychoanalytic Review, founding editor of Persistence of Vision, past editor of Millennium Film Journal, and author of numerous articles and books, notably including Robert Bresson: A Passion for Film and The Melancholy Lens: Loss and Mourning in the American Avant-Garde, in addition to being a frequent contributor to the American quarterly film magazine Cineaste and Artforum, where he would regularly be found covering New York’s film festival and repertory theater programs.

Critic and screenwriter (The Sweet East is in theaters now) Nick Pinkerton interviewed Pipolo’s widow, Carole Pipolo, for the Metrograph site about her late husband as well as the collection. From Pinkerton’s interview:

NP: When I saw all those books, I said something to you along the lines of, “Oh, so Tony really loved Fassbinder?” And you said, “Oh, interesting you should ask. He thought he did…” Whereas Bresson, Dreyer, they stood up to the scrutiny of research long enough to become complete books.

CP: Tony’s dissertation was on The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928); that took him to Copenhagen twice, doing research at the archives there. This table here is from the second trip, in ’72, before [our daughter] Isabel was born.

NP: I can see a book about Gilles de Rais from where we’re sitting… When we were first going through the collection, there were a few items you pulled out which—in a very fond and loving way—you presented as evidences of a maniacal collector’s compulsion to hold on to everything that might possibly be of some use some day: a TV Guide listing the “Top 100 Shows of All-Time”; two copies of, I think, Variety advertising the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus coming to town… Are there any particularly funny curios you’ve run across while going through his effects? Things that make you ask yourself, “Why on Earth did this man think he needed to hang on to this item in particular?”

CP: Well, he liked to clip a lot of things out of papers. It’s not unusual to pick up a book, open it up, and then find the review of the book, and also the obituary of the author, clipped from a newspaper. But he never lent books out to people in his adult life.

NP: [whispers] Nor do I.

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