Okay, so the Google search doesn’t necessarily catch everything. In looking for something else, I ran across a reference to a review in The Lion and the Unicorn 32.3 by David Russell of Tove Jansson Rediscovered, for which I wrote the essay, “Roses, Beads and Bones: Gender, Borders and Slippage in Tove Jansson’s Moomin Comic-Strips”:
K. A. Laity’s exploration of Jansson’s cartoon series executed for the London Evening News in 1957 is likewise fairly narrowly focused, but Laity offers insightful commentary on the way Jansson’s personal life affected her art. Specifically, Laity points to Jansson’s lesbianism and how her personal feelings seem to be manifested through the portrayal of the Moomin characters in the comic strip—-her use of unstable borders and the use of sexual ambiguity in her portraitures, for example. Laity’s essay helps lay the groundwork for the theme of the final essays of the collection, which explore Jansson’s writings for adults—-particularly focusing on the impact of Jansson’s lesbianism on her work.
If you have access to Project Muse, you can read the entire review or if you’re interested in children’s books, check out The Lion and the Unicorn.
Trying to find a cover image to use for this post, I found this other review, that didn’t turn up on my standard search for obvious reasons:
Several of the essays address gender issues, homosexuality in particular. Drawing on Judith Butler’s and Eve Kosofsky’s gender theories, E.A. Laity examines the panel borders in Jansson’s Moomin comic strips. In this unique study, Laity shows how Jansson’s comic-art narrative technique illustrates that the borders between genders and social status are highly porous, and that Jansson, albeit in a subtle way, questions the very existence of the binary system.
You can read the rest of Virpi Zuck’s review at the Free Library. Well, it was a nice surprise to come across some positive reviews that I don’t think I’d seen before. Even better yesterday an editor forwarded to me some kind words from an author on the essay I’d written about his book. Yay!
In less interesting ‘news’ I’ve been updating my Amazon page and my page at Goodreads as well. Both are set up to get this blog feed, but I have to manually add a lot of the books and now events, too. Promotion is an endless slog.
And look at you with such an impenetrable pseud as EA Laity…I've somehow continually missed Moomins, though I certainly have been aware of them, particularly around the time of TJ's death.Congrats, and thanks for the nudge.
So mysterious, eh? What other pseudonyms might I have out there? I suppose it's my fault for using initials but somehow it got into my head that that's what writers did (I blame P. L. Travers).The Moomins are wonderful — they're very sweet but also a touch melancholy which the aggressively cheerful American kids books don't allow. I highly recommend the D&Q comics collections. My pull quote from Finlandia Weekly appears on the paper slip of the second volume. The only way I was able to get my words in the Tate Modern — gift shop, but hey, I'll take it.
Depending on the age, perhaps…aggressively cheerful US kid's books? Even Seuss seems rather anxious…but the bland stuff I mostly just ignored, then as now…
Oh, go through the children's section now: LOUD is the norm, aggressive and VERY VERY cheery.
Ah…the age of Walter, the Farting Dog, perhaps?
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