Housing fictions. The house in writing and culture, 1950 to present.

La revue European Journal of English studies, qui entend mettre en valeur une approche européenne de la littérature anglophone, publie de nouveau, et pour la dernière fois, son appel à communication intitulé : « The house in writing and culture, 1950 to the present ». Par « maison », il faut ici entendre « both lived experiences and the image of an episteme, inhabited dwellings produced through and producing subjective experiences of time and space ». Cette proposition nous invite donc à nous interroger sur une maison étant à la fois le  lieu d’une communauté et d’un individu, et ce tant du point de sa représentation que des valeurs qu’elle semble posséder au sein de nos cultures. L’évocation de bandes dessinées autobiographiques, ou plus largement « intimes », semble pouvoir ici être fructueuse et nous pourrions citer deux ouvrages dans lesquels la maison joue un rôle prépondérant.

–       Summer of love de Debbie Drechsler (L’Association) évoque ainsi l’adolescence d’une héroïne, Lily, se construisant en utilisant toutes les ressources du nouvel espace dans lequel elle vient d’aménager : la maison familiale est ainsi le lieu d’une communauté (s’exprimant par des rivalités, servitudes et lassitudes…) alors que celle d’amis est un lieu d’évasion et que les bois environnants permettent la découverte de la sexualité. Et si ce livre se clôt sur l’acception par l’héroïne de son nouvel environnement, c’est au gré d’un été rempli de promenades, visites chez les uns et les autres et longues discussions dans le jardin commun…

–       Dans Fun home. Une tragicomédie familiale d’Alison Bechdel (Denoël), la maison semble constituer le théâtre d’un véritable roman d’apprentissage dans lequel la famille tient un rôle de premier plan. Le rapport de l’héroïne, Alison, à son père se construit en effet au gré d’une véritable exploration de l’espace d’une maison riche en secrets, habitudes et collections. De la bibliothèque au salon, l’habitat (fruit d’un labeur familial de 20 ans) semble prendre en charge une communication que les personnages semblent constamment s’interdire.

Nous vous invitons à compléter cette liste (éventuellement par des commentaires) et à vous en emparer avant le 31 octobre prochain.

“In a world which seems bent on ruin and oblivion, we cannot refuse a feeling of affectionate respect for the courage with which such old houses still confront life, cherish its traditions, and are a sanctuary for the lovely wreckage of the past” —Virginia Woolf, 1917.

“Whose house is this? Say, tell me, why does its lock fit my key” — Toni Morrison, 1992.

This issue of EJES aims to engage the variety of European approaches to the study of the house in Anglophone literatures and cultures from the standpoint of contemporaneity. Houses are of course not mere assemblages of bricks, roofs, rooms, doors, furniture; rather, they are both lived experiences and the image of an episteme, inhabited dwellings produced through and producing subjective experiences of time and space. As such they are signs reflecting the dynamic interplay of diverse and contending forces: individual and collective, (trans)national and individual, artistic and theoretical, generic, social, economic, cultural and psychological. If for many writers the house provided a fiction of firmness, how well does this notion hold true today in a world in a state of flow, continually rewritten, restructured or dismantled by diasporas, resettlements, border‐crossings, blendings, and transformations in identity and culture?
Submissions are invited from scholars working in the fields of the Anglophone literatures, language, media and culture, including the arts and architecture.
Contributors may emphasise theoretical/methodological approaches or textual readings. Invited topics include, but are by no means restricted to, the following:
• the cultural architecture of the house;
• the house and the episteme; the disciplines and discourses of the house;
• thresholds and boundaries of/in the house;
• the house and the nation or peoples; the discourses of the house in postcolonial and transcultural perspectives;
• gendered or classed houses;
• the house and the visual.

Detailed proposals (500‐1,000 words) for articles of c.5,000 words, as well as any inquiries regarding this issue, should be sent by e‐mail to all the three guest editors:
Janet Larson at , Francesca Saggini at and Anna Enrichetta Soccio .
The deadline for proposals is 31 October 2010, with delivery of completed essays by 31 March 2011. The issue will appear in 2012.

Francesca Saggini, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English Literature
Dipartimento CiClaMo — Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures
Universita’ degli Studi della Tuscia
Via Santa Maria in Gradi, 4
01100 Viterbo (Italy)

E-mail: fsaggini@unitus.it
Tel: +39/0761/357613
Fax : +39/0761/357601

Email: fsaggini@unitus.it
Visit the website at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/cfp/nejecfp.pdf

Benoît Berthou

Université Paris 13, LABSIC Directeur de la revue Comicalités. Etudes de culture graphique Rédacteur en chef des Carnets de la bande dessinée

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Les archives de Frederic Wertham à la bibliothèque du Congrès

De tous les croisés anti-bande dessinée, Fredric Wertham est sans conteste celui dont l’action de propagande aura été la plus efficace outre-Atlantique. Son combat contre les comic-books, censés pervertir la jeunesse, dans les Etats-Unis de l’après-Seconde Guerre mondiale, a obtenu un écho considérable, et joué un rôle important dans l’adoption du Comics Code de 1954. L’impact de son livre Seduction of the Innocent a été maintes fois souligné, et Fredric Wertham est à présent une figure obligée des études sur la bande dessinée américaine.

Mort en 1981, la Bibliothèque du Congrès a acquis ses archives en 1987. Depuis lors, l’accès aux archives Wertham était soumis à autorisation des ayant droit. Or depuis mai 2010, l’ensemble des archives Wertham est librement accessible, ce qui devrait grandement faciliter les « études werthamiennes »… Ci-dessous, des extraits du post publié fin août sur le blog de la Bibliothèque du Congrès pour annoncer la nouvelle.

Papers of Comic-Book ‘Villain’ Open at Library

“I think he was part of a movement that is uniquely American – this need to protect children from adult life – that started in the 1950s. It was the same movement that said every child ought to graduate from high school and have the opportunity to go to college,” said Sara Duke, curator of the Library’s comic arts collections in P&P. “Until we can synthesize Wertham in his time, he will be demonized by historians for changing the comic-book industry and affecting the way generations of adults see comic books.”

The late psychiatrist Fredric Wertham examines a comic book in his office. (Photo by E.B. Bratner)

Among comic-book aficionados, psy chiatrist Fredric Wertham (1895–1981) is considered as much of a villain as those he assailed in the crime and horror comics he criticized. However, Wer tham was more than just an outspoken crusader against comic books. He was dedicated to protecting children from harmful material in all mass media. His research about the detrimental effects of segregation was used in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education court case. In addition, Wertham founded a clinic in Harlem, providing mental-health services to the underprivileged African American community.

The Library of Congress acquired his papers in 1987, through the estate of his wife, Florence Hesketh Wertham. In May of this year, all 222 containers were opened to public research access. Previ ously, they were sealed except to people approved by the estate.

“We realize that donors have certain interests they want to respect,” said Len Bruno of the Library’s Manuscript Divi sion, which houses the collection. “Of course, things can’t stay closed forever,” he added, saying that the Library often agrees to reasonable restrictions in order to acquire materials.

Bruno said that since access became unrestricted, interest in Wertham’s papers has increased. His papers add another component to the Library’s collections, which include comic books in the Serials and Government Publications Division, about 128,000 works of cartoon art in the Prints and Photographs Division and the papers of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and the International Psycho-Analytical Association in the Manuscript Division.

Patient notes by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham describe the effects of a “Superman” comic book on a young boy. (Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo)

Wertham was born Fredric Wertheimer in Munich, Germany, on March 20, 1895. He received a medical degree in 1921 and moved to the United States to teach at Johns Hopkins University and practice at the university’s Phipps Psychiatric Clinic a year later. In 1932, he moved to New York City to serve as the head of the Court of General Sessions psychiatric clinic, which examined every convicted felon in the city. In 1936, he was named director of Bel levue’s Mental Hygiene Clinic in New York and later became director of psychiatric services at Queens Hospital Center.

Despite his humane interests and broader concerns with violence and protecting children from psychological harm, Wertham is best known for his book “Seduction of the Innocent” (1954) and its resulting fallout. The book was the culmination of a decade-long campaign against comic books.

Wertham’s notes on this 1967 “Kid Colt Outlaw,” comic book: “111 pictures; 62 scenes of violence = more than half.” (Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo)

Among the items in the Library’s col lection of Wertham’s papers is a selection of comics he deemed offensive, with notations he wrote inside.

His copy of “Kid Colt, Outlaw” (1967) includes a note that of the 111 pictures, 69 were scenes of violence. An issue of “Justice League of America” (1966) includes markings calling attention to the sounds of violence like “thudd,” “whapp” and “poww.”

“Guns Against Gangsters,” 1948. Fredric Wertham papers. (Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo)

In addition, Wertham’s papers include patient drawings and his analy sis of those sketches. He writes of a young patient: “This case demonstrates the confusion created by comic books between fan tasy and reality … cruelty in children’s play especially directed against girls.”

Wertham testified six times under oath on the harmfulness of comic books, including provid ing testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. Though the committee’s final report did not blame comics for crime, it recom mended that the comics industry tone down its content voluntarily, thus resulting in the Comics Code Authority.

According to comic book historian and blogger Mike Rhode, Wertham’s research would likely not be accepted by most today as it relied on anecdotal evidence of children he saw in his Harlem clinic. Still, his legacy reverberates among comic-book fandom with his objection to even the most beloved heroes like Super man, Batman and Wonder Woman.

L’intégralité du billet par là : http://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2010/08/papers-of-comic-book-villain-open-at-library/

Pour une introduction à Fredric Wertham, on se reportera au livre de Bart Beaty, Fredric Wertham and the Critique of Mass Culture, University Press of Mississippi, 2005.
Côté français, on compte des équivalents tout aussi intéressants, tels que Raoul Dubois ou Georges Sadoul, auxquels Thierry Crépin consacre d’intéressantes pages dans sa thèse (Haro sur la gangster ! La moralisation de la presse enfantine, 1934-1954, CNRS éditions, 2001) ou l’abbé Béthléem, figure centrale de la censure catholique de la lecture, à qui ont été consacrés plusieurs articles (notamment Jean-Yves Mollier, “Aux origines de la loi du 16 juillet 1949, la croisade de l’abbé Bethléem contre les illustrés étrangers”, dans On tue à chaque page !, dir. T. Crépin, T. Groensteen, Paris, Ed. du Temps, 1999). Les archives de l’abbé Béthléem sont, elles, disponibles à la Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal et n’ont, a priori, pas fait l’objet d’un dépouillement systématique.

Spider-Man, Spider-Women, and webspinners : critical perspectives

Robert G. Weiner and Robert Moses Peaslee, de l’université Texas Tech  (USA), lancent un appel à communication pour un ovurage intitulé : « Spider-Man, Spider-Women, and Webspinners: Critical Perspectives ». Ce futur livre entend aborder l’homme-araignée crée par Stan Lee à travers une multitude de supports : bande dessinée, dessin animé, cinéma, série télévisée, jeu vidéo… Et s’il s’agit d’embrasser cette complexité médiatique, c’est au regard d’un nombre impressionnant de perspectives que nous reproduisons ci-dessous. Gageons que tous les chercheurs férus de Comic Books trouveront dans cette liste chaussure à leur pied avant le 1er décembre prochain.

When Stan Lee and Steve Ditko first penned a short story about a young man named Peter Parker who gets bit by a radioactive spider and becomes the hero known as Spider-Man, little did they know they would be creating the most popular super-hero in history (next to Batman). Like most “happy accidents,” the creation of Spider-Man almost did not happen. It was initially a throw away a story in a magazine that was getting cancelled anyway.
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko had hit upon a character that was different from all the others and one that everyone could relate to. Peter Parker (Spider-Man’s alter ego) was a teenager who had money/girl/family problems that he continued to struggle with even though he had “amazing” powers. He was in high school and had to learn some hard lessons of life. When Parker first got his powers, he used them to make money and get fame. But when he failed to stop a burglar who would eventually kill his Uncle Ben in a robbery attempt, he learned that “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Since Stan Lee wrote those words in 1962, they have become the most quoted comic book words in history and have served as a cautionary note pertinent far beyond the boundaries of the comic or film frame.
Since 1962, there have been no less than 10 different titles featuring Spider-Man, 5 different animated series, a live action series, animated movies, a live action series in Japan, and 3 very successful movies grossing a total of $2.4 billion and breaking box office records
The editors are seeking articles of around 4-6,000 words (No LONGER) discussing the phenomena of Spider-Man or its off-shoots related to the comics, films, animated series, games, television series, history etc.
Some possible topics to be addressed include

• The real meaning of “with great power comes great responsibility” and Uncle Ben’s life and influence on Peter Parker
• Dr. Octopus almost marrying Aunt May
• May Day Parker, Spider-Girl and the alternate universe
• Spider-Girl as a fan driven title
• J. Jonah Jameson and his hatred of Spider-Man
• Spider-Woman the first female off shoot
• The various Spider-Girls
• How did Amazing Fantasy 15 change the world?
• The Death of Aunt May
• The Clone Saga
• The various Spidey costumes: Black, Red/Blue/Maroon
• Venom and Carnage: Why did these particular villains become the most popular of all Spidey Villians?
• Spider-Man’s role in Civil War
• The Gwen Stacy affair
• Spider-Man’s uneasy relationship with the police
• The Green Goblin (Norman Osborne) and his love/hate relationship with Peter Parker
• The various Goblins: Green Goblin1&2/Hobgoblin/Demigoblin (What ties them together? Differences?)
• The artistic style of Steve Ditko
• The roots of Spider-Man (The old pulp hero The Spider)
• The writing of Gerry Conway
• The art of John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr. on Spider-Man
• The New Fantastic Four-Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Hulk, and Wolverine
• The relationship between Madame Web and Spider-Man
• Spider-Man’s role in the New Avengers
• The work of J. Michael Straczynski on the title
• How did Todd McFarlane change the Spider-Man world both through his art and writing?
• The first Marvel/DC crossover-Spider-Man meets Superman
• Why was the live action Spider-Man television series a big flop?
• Spider-Man 2099-A different kind of Spider-Man
• Comparisons between Nicholas Hammond and Tobey McGuire as Peter Parker
• What kind of creative licenses did the movies take that differ from the sequential art stories? How were they similar?
• Zombie Spider-Man
• Mary Jane comics and novels: teen romance in the Spider-Man world
• Spider-Man as an ideal children’s hero
• Spider-Man fan films and fiction
• Spider-Man as an ethical gauge for human behavior
• One of the first Super-Hero record albums: Spiderman: Rock Reflections of a Superhero
• The Scarlet Spider-who is he? What is his role in the Spidey universe?
• The Ultimate Spider-Man: What are the similarities and differences between the Ultimate version of the writing of Brian Michael Bendis on Ultimate Spider-Man
• Spidey Super Stories: An experiment in reading for children
• Spider-Man overseas? Why do the Europeans love Spider-Man as much as the Americans? What is his universal appeal?
• Mattie Franklin (Spider-Woman 3) and her relationship to J. Jonah Jameson as a surrogate father
• Peter Parker’s sister?
• The Red Skull and the killing of Peter-Parker’s parents
• Spider-related groups and societies: Spider Society; Webcorps
• Kraven the Hunter and his desire to be like the Spider
• J.M. DeMatties and the death of Kraven the Hunter
• The Vulture: A senior citizen as a villain
• The relationship between Captain America and Spider-Man
• Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends an animated series featuring Firestar and Ice-Man
• The Spider-Man family of heroes
• John Jameson and the Man-Wolf
• The Transformers: Spidey meets a Hasbro trademark
• The upcoming Spider-Man movie reboot
• Spider-Man as a barometer of the various historical periods in which he appears.
• The psychoanalytic aspects of Spider-Man, Peter, Mary Jane, etc.
• Spider-Man, Marvel, and the structure of the entertainment industry
• Spider-Man as ideology or counter-ideology
• Spider-Man, -Woman fandom and audience practice
• Spider-Man online
• Spider-Man as an urban (or particularly a New York) dweller

Please send 200 word abstracts by November 1st 2010 to
Rob Weiner
Final papers will be due December 1st 2010. No exceptions. Please note the submission of an essay does NOT necessarily mean publication in the volume. The editors are striving to put together as tight a collection as possible with many diverse viewpoints covering all aspects of Spider-Man’s career. Authors are also expected to follow the editor’s style guide and be willing to have their work edited.
Thank you

Robert Moses Peaslee
Department of Electronic Media and Communications
Texas Tech University

Rob Weiner
Texas Tech University Library
Box 40002
Lubbock Texas
Email: rob.weiner@ttu.edu

Benoît Berthou

Université Paris 13, LABSIC Directeur de la revue Comicalités. Etudes de culture graphique Rédacteur en chef des Carnets de la bande dessinée

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Comic Books and American Cultural History

Matthew Pustz, auteur de Comic book culture. Fanboys and true Believers, a récemment publié un appel à publication paru sur la liste H-Announce. Ce chercheur cherche de courts articles utilisant la bande dessinée pour construire une histoire culturelle des Etats-Unis. Contacté, le responsable de la publication n’est pas opposé à des propositions portant sur la bande dessinée européenne, dans la mesure où elles illustreraient des tendances de l’histoire et de la culture américaines, comme par exemple une analyse de Heavy Metal, version américaine de Métal hurlant. L’appel reproduit ci -dessous donne des précisions qu’il s’agira d’exploiter avant le 20 décembre prochain, date de remise des propositions.

Call for Papers: Comic Books and American Cultural History

Essays are currently being solicited for Comic Books and American Cultural History, a new anthology that will examine the ways in which comic books can be used to help us understand the history of the United States. Each essay of this proposed book will focus on a particular comic book, story/story arc, or graphic novel as a tool for analyzing some aspect of its original cultural and historical context. The essays in this anthology will not focus on the history of comic books per se, but rather on the history of the United States, with comic books being used as primary texts to support specific interpretations of American history. Because of this emphasis on the connections between comic books and America’s past, Comic Books and American Cultural History will prove to be a useful book for comics scholars, historians, and history teachers who want to integrate more popular culture into their courses.

The field of comics studies has seen a proliferation of book-length works in the last twenty years, but few of those books have examined American cultural history. For example, Of Comics and Men, by Jean-Paul Gabilliet, includes a very thorough explanation of the production and distribution history of American comic books, but there is less analysis of the actual content of the comic books themselves. Bradford Wright’s Comic Book Nation does examine some specific stories, but his work is a survey and, as such, cannot go into much depth about any one historical moment. In Secret Identity Crisis, Matthew Costello’s focus on the Cold War allows him to analyze his sources deeply, but other events and comics that do not fit into his framework are sometimes ignored. Comic Books and American Cultural History seeks to build off of these important works while also expanding the scope of comics scholarship by bringing together analyses on a wider variety of topics than what is possible in any of these books. In this way, Comic Books and American Cultural History will be especially useful as a collection of case studies demonstrating the ways in which comic books can be useful primary sources for the study of American cultural history.

The essays in Comic Books and American Cultural History will examine many different comic books and many different topics in American history. Possible sources can range from the 1930s to the present, and the collection will include essays focusing on mainstream, underground, alternative, and independent comics. Historical topics might feature discussions of the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and 9/11, all examined from a cultural history perspective. Essays about aspects of gender, class, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation will be especially encouraged. The more specific the essay, the better it will fit into this collection in that it will allow for greater depth than would be possible with a more broadly defined primary text and a more broadly defined historical connection.

Completed essays will be between 5,000 and 7,000 words long.

Please send 500 word abstracts, complete contact information, and brief biographies of authors (as Word documents) to:

Matthew Pustz
Economics, History, and Political Science Department
Fitchburg State University
Fitchburg, MA 01420

Abstracts are due December 20, 2010. Completed essays will be due the beginning of June 2011.

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