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From the earliest motion pictures and cartoons of the 1900s, to the latest 3D animated feature and CGI blockbuster, animation has always been a part of the cinematic experience. While the boundaries between animation and live-action have often been carefully tended, the ubiquity of contemporary computer imaging certainly blurs those lines, thereby confirming the importance of animation for the history of American cinema. The last installment of the acclaimed Behind the Silver Screen series, Animation explores the variety of technologies and modes of production throughout the history of American animation: the artisanal, solitary labors of early animators such as Winsor McCay, or of independent animators such as Mary Ellen Bute; the industrial assembly lines of Hollywood studio-unit animation; the parsimonious production houses of the post-studio, post-war era; the collaborative approach of boutique animation and special-effect houses. Drawing on archival sources, this volume provides not only an overview of American animation history, but also, by focusing on the relationship between production and style, a unique approach to understanding animation in general.
About the Author
SCOTT CURTIS is an associate professor of radio, television, and film studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and the director of the communication program at Northwestern University in Qatar. He is the author of The Shape of Spectatorship: Art, Science, and Early Cinema in Germany.
“Scott Curtis has assembled a truly valuable volume unified around the ways that shifting labor and economic conditions, technological developments, and aesthetic experimentation continually renewed and remade animation over the years. Each author clearly and convincingly confronts how commercial trends and artisanal alternatives help us understand animation’s place in American media culture.”
— Richard Neupert
“A well-researched survey of American animation, written by leading scholars in the field. With its clear writing style, incorporation of production details, and ample examples, this book will appeal to a broad range of readers interested in theatrical, television, artisanal, and CG animation—and more.”
— Maureen Furniss
"Animation is a phenomenal and phenomenally useful survey of animation in the United States. Editor Scott Curtis and his contributors have artfully examined American animation in its many forms—commercial and fine art, analog, and digital, full and limited—and grounded their insights into the art and craft of the cartoon in very specific historical, aesthetic, and technological circumstances. Rich in detail and nuance, the result is a compendium of carefully crafted essays that are an instructive and enjoyable read for animation fans and an excellent companion in the classroom."
— Nicholas Sammond