Reading Bande Dessinée

Critical Approaches to French-language Comic Strip

Ann Miller

Ann Miller

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

364 pages | 23 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2007
Paper $35.50 ISBN: 9781841501772 Published February 2008
Bande dessinée, or French comic strip, has always provoked controversy—labeled a danger to literacy and moral standards by its detractors, this polarizing art form has at the same time been deemed worthy of prestigious national centers in France and Belgium. Reading Bande Dessinée, the first English-language overview and critical study of this intriguing medium, traces the history and examines the cultural implications of French comics.
Ann Miller’s groundbreaking book not only parses bande dessinée as visual narrative art, but it shows readers how to study it, as she places these comic strips in the context of debates surrounding the form’s legitimization, approaches it from a cultural studies perspective, and examines bande dessinée in its relationship to subjectivity in the body. Miller here illuminates such disparate concepts as Astérix and the mythologizing of Frenchness, historical memory and the Algerian war, and characterizations of the new managerial bourgeoisie in the context of Francophone comic strips. Reading Bande Dessinée will help lay a scholarly foundation for the growing interest in this captivating art form in the Anglophone world.
 
“[Miller’s] analysis ranges from psychoanalytic to Marxist interpretations and is a terrific introduction to this neglected aspect of the comic world.”—Roger Sabin, Observer
 
“The characteristics of Ann Miller’s writing for me abound in this latest work; concise prose, beautifully crafted sentences, complex analysis illustrated with crystal clear exemplification. This is a work for a wide readership. It is a work for enriching subject knowledge for teachers and students of French and/or the visual arts at advanced levels.”—Ann Swarbrick, Language Learning Journal
 
 “The work provides both a key analysis for scholars of the bande dessinée, as well as a manual for a modern application of critical theory.”—Dr. Laurence Grove, University of Glasgow
 
“This exceptional work of synthesis by Ann Miller must be applauded. She succeeds in providing a detailed and complete panorama of bande dessinée a cultural phenomenon, an achievement which is all the more remarkable given that the author makes successive use of multiple scholarly approaches, moving from the cultural history of the production and reception of bande dessinée to the theoretical reflections on the medium, the sociological analysis and the problematic of the autobiographical self in graphic literature.”—Harry Morgan
 
 
 
 
Roger Sabin | Observer

“[Miller’s] analysis ranges from psychoanalytic to Marxist interpretations and is a terrific introduction to this neglected aspect of the comic world.”

Ann Swarbrick | Language Learning Journal

“The characteristics of Ann Miller’s writing for me abound in this latest work; concise prose, beautifully crafted sentences, complex analysis illustrated with crystal clear exemplification. This is a work for a wide readership. It is a work for enriching subject knowledge for teachers and students of French and/or the visual arts at advanced levels.”

Dr. Laurence Grove, University of Glasgow

“The work provides both a key analysis for scholars of the bande dessinée, as well as a manual for a modern application of critical theory.”

Harry Morgan

“This exceptional work of synthesis by Ann Miller must be applauded. She succeeds in providing a detailed and complete panorama of bande dessinée a cultural phenomenon, an achievement which is all the more remarkable given that the author makes successive use of multiple scholarly approaches, moving from the cultural history of the production and reception of bande dessinée to the theoretical reflections on the medium, the sociological analysis and the problematic of the autobiographical self in graphic literature.”

Image & Narrative
"Ann Miller’s reading is more concerned with historical contextualisation and with formal close reading than with theoretical orthodoxy, which considerably adds to the practical value of Reading Bande Dessinée. [...] It is to be hoped that this book will encourage Anglo-American students to take up the medium, whether as readers or as analysts, and that it will help French critics to renew their centres of interest."– Jan Baetens, Image & Narrative
Modern and Contemporary France
"Ann Miller’s contribution to bande dessinée studies is most welcome: anglophone academics are increasingly realising that the ninth art is both a valuable teaching tool and a gold mine for researchers of every hue. Reading bande dessinée breaks new ground, as it is multi-disciplinary. . . .The sensible decision to translate all quotations from French into English will enable Reading bande dessinée to reach the wide public it deserves. This book is a must for all serious students of the ninth art." – Matthew Screech, Modern and Contemporary France
Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction

 

PART 1

 

The History of bande desinée

 

1. From the Nineteenth Century to the 1960s: bande dessinée Becomes a Children’s Medium, and then Starts to Grow Up

 

2. The 1970s: Expansion and Experimentation

 

3. The 1980s: Recuperation by the Mainstream

 

4. From the 1990s to the Twenty-First Century: The Return of the Independent Sector

 

PART 2

 

Analytical Frameworks

 

5. The Codes and Formal Resources of bande dessinée

 

6. Narrative Theory and bande dessinée

 

7. Bande dessinée as Postmodernist Art Form

 

PART 3

 

A Cultural Studies Approach to bande dessinée

 

8. National Identity

 

9. Postcolonial Identities

 

10. Social Class and Masculinity

 

PART 4

 

Bande dessinée and subjectivity

 

11. Psychoanalytic Approaches to Tintin

 

12. Autobiography and Diary Writing in bande dessinée

 

13. Gender and Autobiography

 

Notes

Appendix

Bibliography

Index

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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