Sfar So Far

Identity, History, Fantasy, and Mimesis in Joann Sfar’s Graphic Novels

Fabrice Leroy

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Monograph - paperback

Includes an in-depth interview with French cartoonist Joann Sfar.
Sfar So Far is the first monograph in any language devoted to the graphic novels of Joann Sfar, an artist whose abundant and innovative work has profoundly marked the contemporary French comics scene. This essay examines how, over the past two decades, Sfar has constructed an idiosyncratic universe with its own thematic and stylistic recurrences: a playful drafting style, contrasting with the thoughtful introduction of historical, theological, and philosophical matters; a sophisticated use of literary, filmic, musical, and pictorial references; an exploration of his own Jewish heritage in the context of a multicultural, postcolonial French society; an affinity for magic realism, fairy tales, heroic fantasy, the fantastique, and science fiction, often filtered through irony or parody; and a predilection for romantic musings and an interest in unconventional love stories.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).


List of Illustrations 7
Acknowledgements 9

Introduction: Sfar so Far

Chapter One: Rewriting Jewishness. On Counter-Violence, Sexuality, and Humor in Pascin and Klezmer
1. French Anti-Semitism in the Twenty-First Century: New and Old Trends
2. A New Sephardic Consciousness
3. On Two Narrative Prototypes of Jewishness in Pascin
4. Variations on Guilt, Transgression, and Violence in Klezmer

Chapter Two: Sfar's Historiographics. On the Representation of History and Memory in Les Carnets d'Odessa and La Comtesse Éponyme
1. Framing Odessa as a “Lieu de Mémoire:” Sfar's Carnet d'Odessa
2. Sfar's Ironic Take on the Enlightenment in Les Lumières de la France

Chapter Three: Painting Painters. On Mimesis, Meta-Representation, and Intertextuality in Pascin, Le Chat du Rabbin, and Chagall en Russie
1. Pascin: Image and Reality
2. Sfar Conjures Marc Chagall (Again): The Politics of Visual Representation in Le Chat du Rabbin
3. Painting the Painter: Meta-Representation and Magic Realism in Joann Sfar's Chagall en Russie

Chapter Four: Reinventing Fantastique Figures. On the Devil, the Vampire, the Werewolf, the Wizard, and the Golem in Professeur Bell and Le Bestiaire Amoureux
1. “Everything is more complicated in Jerusalem:” Religion and the Devil in Les Poupées de Jérusalem
2. From the Bestiary to the Bestiaire Amoureux: a New Take on Fantastique Creatures

Klezmer V, or the Impossible Conclusion

An Interview with Joann Sfar: “I am not currently working on any comics, for the first time in 20 years.”

Works Cited

Gallery with Color Figures

Format: Monograph - paperback

Size: 230 × 170 mm

304 pages

ISBN: 9789462700062

Publication: September 11, 2014

Series: Studies in European Comics and Graphic Novels 2

Languages: English

Stock item number: 91774

Fabrice Leroy is Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

'...en langue anglaise, la première monographie consacrée à cet auteur.'
« Analyses et Comptes rendus », Revue philosophique de la France et de l'étranger 2017/2 (Tome 142), p. 229-294. DOI: 10.3917/rphi.172.0229

  Revue philosophique de la France et de l'étranger
Leroy's interview of Sfar (in English) concludes this volume, which contains an appropriate number of illustrations, including several in color. Leroy has produced a consistently insightful work that is well-written and thoroughly documented, and that will be of interest to all scholars and readers of French bandes dessinées.
Edward Ousselin, Western Washington University, French Review 89.4


Fabrice Leroy's book provides a powerful analysis of key comics by the important contemporary French cartoonist Joann Sfar, who is widely renowned today for his best- selling series Le chat du rabbin, translated
The Rabbi's Cat (Pantheon, 2005). [...] Sfar So Far is the very impressive second book in an exciting new series, “Studies in European Comics and Graphic Novels,” edited by Hugo Frey. Leroy's monograph is a brilliant model of artistic and literary analysis of comics.
Mark McKinney, Miami University, Ohio, French Forum Spring/Fall 2015 Vol. 40, Nos. 2-;3


Ceci est indubitablement un très bon et très beau livre. Il est bon dans le sens o๠il est bien écrit, bien argumenté, bien structuré, et riche, mais aussi dans le sens o๠il est beau car il est présenté dans une édition de qualité sur papier glacé, avec de superbes reproductions de pages ou de cases, en noir et blanc dans le texte et en couleur en fin de volume.
Chris Reyns-Chikuma, Belphégor [En ligne], 13-1 | 2015, mis en ligne le 09 mai 2015, URL : http://belphegor.revues.org/544