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Comics in French: The European Bande Dessinnée in Context

Laurence Grove | January 2013

Whereas in English-speaking countries comics are for children or adults ‘who should know better’, in France and Belgium the form is recognized as the ‘Ninth Art’ and follows in the path of poetry, architecture, painting and cinema. The bande dessinée [comic strip] has its own national institutions, regularly obtains front-page coverage and has received the accolades of statesmen from De Gaulle onwards. On the way to providing a comprehensive introduction to the most francophone of cultural phenomena, this book considers national specificity as relevant to an anglophone reader, whilst exploring related issues such as text/image expression, historical precedents and sociological implication. To do so it presents and analyses priceless manuscripts, a Franco- American rodent, Nazi propaganda, a museum-piece urinal, intellectual gay porn and a prehistoric warrior who's really Zinedine Zidane.

Laurence Grove is Reader in French and Director of the Stirling Maxwell Centre for the Study of Text/Image Cultures at the University of Glasgow. His research focuses on historical aspects of text/image forms, and in particular bande dessinée. He is President of the International Bande Dessinnée Society. As well as serving on the consultative committees of a number of journals, he is general editor of Glasgow Emblem Studies, and co-editor of European Comic Art. Laurence Grove has authored (in full, jointly or as editor) nine books and approximately forty chapters or articles.