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Willems, Philippe. "Form(ul)ation of a novel narrative form: Nineteenth century pedagogues and the comics." Word & Image 24. (2008): 1–14. 
Added by: joachim (7/20/09, 1:33 AM)   Last edited by: joachim (10/6/15, 3:12 PM)
Resource type: Journal Article
Language: en: English
Peer reviewed
DOI: 10.1080/02666286.2008.10444071
BibTeX citation key: Willems2008a
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Categories: General
Keywords: Didactics, Early forms of comics, France, Kulturpolitik, Narratology
Creators: Willems
Collection: Word & Image
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‘[Our goal is to] carry through a difficult struggle against a type of literature that is loathsome by any measure.’ This manifesto prefaced a 1964 academic study entitled La Presse enfantine française (The French Youth Press), one of the final salvos fired in a campaign of censorship that held the French comic-book industry in a vise for nearly 20 years following the Second World War. Reflecting widely held views among francophone educators of the time, the periodical study drafted by members of the Commission de surveillance et de contrôle des publications destinées à l’enfonce et à l’adolescence [Children and teenager publications monitoring committee] indiscriminately denounced comic books not only as the scourge of moral corruption that threatened the young readers of Astérix, Spirou or Tintin, but also as a force that caused them no less than to unlearn the teaching provided at school. The authors believed that two forces lay at work behind such an enervating influence. One was the potential immorality of themes contained in the so-called bande dessinée, or BD, though that liability, inherent in any narrative medium whatever, was already kept in check through legislation. The second factor, however, was more problematic, as no edifying endeavor could ever redeem it: it was the very nature of the bande dessinée as a narrative medium based on a largely pictorial delivery of information. Indeed, the report attributed to such a narrative form an inherent degenerative teleology, lamenting a perceived tendency: “… to eliminate the text gradually in favor of the image. The pictures constitute a sequence within which the action unfolds exclusively, while the text remains limited to the narrow confines of a caption or to brief direct speech appearing in the mouth [sic] of a character … Reading a modern youth magazine no longer involves any intellectual activity; the image takes over, and this type of ‘reading’ consists in a passive abandon to sensory stimuli that exert violent impressions on the child’s mind and bypass any critical process. Moreover, the concrete representation of the scenes depicted rules out the use of the reader’s imagination.”
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