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Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography
     

Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography

by Sabrina Jones, Paul Buhle
 

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Myth and controversy still swirl around the dramatic figure of Isadora Duncan. The pioneering modern dancer emerged from provincial nineteenth-century America to captivate the cultural capitals of Europe, reinvent dance as a fine art, and leave a trail of scandals in her wake. From her unconventional California girlhood to her tragic death on the French Riviera

Overview

Myth and controversy still swirl around the dramatic figure of Isadora Duncan. The pioneering modern dancer emerged from provincial nineteenth-century America to captivate the cultural capitals of Europe, reinvent dance as a fine art, and leave a trail of scandals in her wake. From her unconventional California girlhood to her tragic death on the French Riviera fifty years later, Duncan's journey was an uncompromising quest for truth, beauty, and freedom.

Here Duncan's art and ideas come vividly to life. Each page is a unique dance of words and images, reflecting Duncan's courage, passion, and idealism in a way sure to inspire another generation of admirers.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Isadora Duncan and comics have a great deal in common: convention defying, boundary breaking, innovative, and seductive as hell. Which is why comics are the perfect vehicle to transmit her remarkable story. Sabrina Jones's drawings dance across the page and capture this compelling history.” —Peter Kuper, cartoonist and cofounder of World War 3 Illustrated

“At last, a comic for the rest of us! With bold brush strokes, Sabrina Jones delineates the riveting tale of Isadora Duncan, a real life superheroine who controlled her own body, her own life, and her own mind, back in the days when most women were corseted, voteless, and stuck in the kitchen. Jones' pages are as elegant and graceful as the heroine of her biography.” —Trina Robbins, author of Tender Murderers and The Brinkley Girls: The Life and Times of Nell Brinkley (forthcoming)

“Told with economy, precision, and humor, Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography is an impressive debut.” —Harvey Pekar

“An admiring glance at the truncated life and roller-coaster times of the woman who traversed three continents to revolutionize dance.” —Kirkus Reviews

“It looks like a comic book, and it is a ton of fun. But Sabrina Jones's graphic depiction of the life of Isadora Duncan is also a serious work of biography . . . In just 125 fluidly drawn pages, Jones brings Duncan's astonishing creativity, revolutionary fervor and romantic disasters to life.” —Lynn Jacobson, The Seattle Times

“An effective and surprisingly economical portrait of one of the seminal figures in dance and culture of the past 100 years.” —Michael Gill, Cleveland Free Times

“A fine and balanced account for dancers, artists, and those interested in American rebels.” —Francisca Goldsmith, School Library Journal

“In her debut graphic biography, Jones captures Duncan's dramatic story in an impressive fashion. Who knew plain black-and-white illustrations could come so alive, so full of movement and feeling?” —Laura Koffler, Feminist Review

“One delight after another emerges.” —Ken Keuffel, Winston-Salem Journal

“Illustration is an ideal medium for relating Duncan's life and art . . . The head thrown back in ecstasy, or her whole body whooshed sideways as if caught on the wind--here a picture speaks a thousand words.” —Mary Hodges, The Brooklyn Rail

Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
WOW! What a fantastic book! I have never read a biography that captured the heart and soul in a way that makes the reader to actually be able to visualize Isadora's dancing and feel the importance of freethinking. Isadora was a dancer from America who eventually ended up in Europe where she both shocked and thrilled audiences. After her husband left her, she took dancing jobs that stifled her talents as she was confined to what the establishment paying her wanted to see. She eventually was able to take the art of dancing from what was expected to what was unexpected. Audiences were provided with beauty of true art and could feel the excitement when watching a woman dancing with heart and soul. This book is written in graphic format, which is a favorite of mine! It makes it perfect for students who are reluctant readers and never seem to finish a book on their own. Young adults who want to read anything they can get their hands on will also enjoy the graphics and fast-paced text. In this book, the graphics add visuals that actually touch the reader. The foreword written by Lori Belilove, gives the reader vital information before starting the book, all of which give a better understanding of just who Isadora Duncan was. Part of her manifesto states, "Why do I dance with bare feet? The human foot is a triumph of evolution. The real source of dance is nature. The movements of the ocean, the birds, and savage man are natural, beautiful, and eternal." This is a perfect book if you love dance, believe in the power of freethinking individuals, and want to read a well-written book. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up

Using a variety of sources, including Duncan's autobiographical writings, Jones provides context for her examination of this complex woman. It includes recognition of the differing sensibilities of Americans, Europeans, and Asians of the time that spanned the turn of the 20th century through the opening years of the Roaring Twenties, as well as the individuals closest to Duncan: siblings, lovers, students. There were many visual artists and theater people who admired Duncan's energy and insight, among them Ashcan painter Abraham Walkowitz. His thousands of sketches and paintings of the dancer in full flight served as resource material for Jones. Duncan, in her flowing Grecian gowns and unfastened hair, is depicted bounding across multiple panels on many pages in Jones's often witty black-and-white images. This is a fine and balanced account for dancers, artists, and those interested in American rebels.-Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780809094974
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
11/11/2008
Series:
Hill and Wang Novel Graphics
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
15 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Sabrina Jones's art has appeared in World War 3 Illustrated, Female Complaints, Bitchcraft, and Life During Wartime. A native of Philadelphia, she co-founded and edited Girltalk, published by Fantagraphics.

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