Saturday, January 20, 2007

Special Offer: New Book on European Comics

February sees the publication of Dr. Bart Beaty's Unpopular Culture: Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s (University of Toronto Press). Here's how the publisher describes it:

In the last fifteen years or so, a wide community of artists working in a variety of western European nations have overturned the dominant traditions of comic book publishing as it has existed since the end of the Second World War. These artists reject both the traditional form and content of comic books (hardcover, full-colour ‘albums’ of humour or adventure stories, generally geared towards children), seeking instead to instill the medium with experimental and avant-garde tendencies commonly associated with the visual arts. Unpopular Culture addresses the transformation of the status of the comic book in Europe since 1990.

Increasingly, comic book artists seek to render a traditionally degraded aspect of popular culture un-popular, transforming it through the adoption of values borrowed from the field of ‘high art.’ The first English-language book to explore these issues, Unpopular Culture represents a challenge to received histories of art and popular culture that downplay significant historical anomalies in favour of more conventional narratives. In tracing the efforts of a large number of artists to disrupt the hegemony of high culture, Bart Beaty raises important questions about cultural value and its place as an important structuring element in contemporary social processes.

Dr. Beaty is the author of, among other works, Fredric Wertham and the Critique of Mass Culture. We've known each other for quite some time, and he's officially a Friend of I've been hearing about his work on this book for a while now (while, I must say, quite envying his fieldwork opportunities), so I'm very much looking forward to reading it!

Special offer for readers: Thanks to an offer by Dr. Beaty, you may click here for a PDF file which allows you to purchase Unpopular Culture for 20% off the list price.

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