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Title: Animating perception : British cartoons from music hall to cinema, 1880-1928
Author: Cook, Malcolm
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 6437
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines the history of animated cartoons in Britain between 1880 and 1928, identifying a body of work that has been largely ignored by film and animation historians, covering the production, distribution, and exhibition of these films. Throughout this history, graphic arts - especially print cartooning and illustration - and the music-hall lightning cartoon act are found to have played a formative role in British animated cartoons. The artists who made the first British animated cartoons were almost exclusively drawn from one of those two fields and thus this work may be considered to form a parallel history of ‘artists’ film’. They brought with them to film a range of concerns from those prior forms that would shape British animated cartoons. Examining that context provides an understanding of the ways British animated cartoons developed in technologic, economic, and aesthetic terms. This work includes the first in-depth history of the music-hall lightning cartoon act, which finds that it anticipates cinematic animation, featuring qualities such as transformation, the movement of line drawings, and the desire to bring drawings to life. Building on this history, a new critical framework for examining these films aesthetically is provided, emphasising the role of the spectator and their perceptual processes. This framework draws upon the work of E.H. Gombrich and Sergei Eisenstein, and extends it to include recent findings from neuroscientific fields. The result is an original aesthetic reading of this body of work, which finds the films to have a deep engagement with the basic perceptual processes involved in viewing moving line drawings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available