Database for Animation Studies

10 books/articles to know world animation history

Giannalberto Bendazzi

Giannalberto Bendazzi, Animation – A World History, CRC Press, 2016

This three-volume book is the largest, deepest, most comprehensive text of its kind, based on the idea that animation is an art form that deserves its own place in scholarship. It offers readers glimpses into the animation of Russia, Africa, Latin America, and other often-neglected areas, and introduces over fifty previously undiscovered artists. Full of first-hand, never before investigated, and elsewhere unavailable information, Animation: A World History encompasses the history of animation production on every continent over the span of three centuries. IN ENGLISH.

Giannalberto Bendazzi, L’uomo che anticipò Disney, Tunuè, 2007

In 1917, Argentinean Quirino Cristiani directed in Buenos Aires the first animated feature film ever: El Apóstol (The Apostle). In 1931, the same man directed Peludópolis (The City of El Peludo), the first animated sound feature film ever. His life and work are deeply covered in this monograph. IN ITALIAN.

Giannalberto Bendazzi, “The Italians Who Invented the Drawn on Film Technique,” Animation Journal, 1996

The birth of the technique of painting on film (which was used by such masters as Len Lye, Norman McLaren, Roberto Miller, and Bärbel Neubauer) lied for decades in the clouds of “somebody someday said that”. In this essay, Giannalberto Bendazzi demonstrates that the glory goes to two Italian brothers: Arnaldo and Bruno Ginanni-Corradini, and that the time was 1911. IN ENGLISH.

Robert Benayoun, Le dessin animé après Disney, Jean-Jacques Pauvert, 1961

Robert Benayoun, a French film critic and writer, was a Surrealist, and looked for Surrealism everywhere. Of course, on this ground, he hated Walt Disney and adored Tex Avery. His starting viewpoint is questionable, but the book is consistent with it, and was published just in the middle of the years of “auteur”, “individual” “anti-Disney” cultural Movement. IN FRENCH.

Henry T. Sampson, That’s Enough, Folks, The Scarecrow Press, 1998

Doctor Sampson is an African-American scientist who got a PhD in nuclear engineering and who, at the time he wrote this book, was Senior Project Engineer at the Aerospace corp. Predictably, the book exudes intelligence and open-mindedness, and discusses brilliantly the innumerable problems of ethnic comedy, which in the Golden Age of Hollywood Animation was commonplace – but racist.

Denys Chevalier, J’aime le dessin animé, Denoël, 1962.

Denys Chevalier was a visual art critic, enamored of Picasso. Of course, on this ground, he hated Walt Disney and adored UPA. His starting viewpoint is questionable, but the book is consistent with it, and was published just in the middle of the years of “auteur”, “individual” “anti-Disney” cultural Movement.

Paul Wells, Animation – Genre and Authorship, Wallflower, 2002

About animation, common people and specialists alike had (and still have) many ideas, but all remarkably confused. Animation – Genre and Authorship swept a lot of rubbish away – although never enough. The author, Paul Wells, is a British professor, author of many excellent books. In this case, he goes back to the mode of production and to the secrets of the craft, in the end challenging live-action movies as primary and pristine form of visual culture.

Giannalberto Bendazzi
Film historian

Giannalberto Bendazzi is an Italian film historian, who taught at the Università degli Studi of Milan, at the Griffith University of Brisbane and at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. Animation - A World History (three tomes, 1456 pages, Taylor and Francis, ISBN 113894307X, 9781138943070) is a complete remake of his previous classic Cartoons, published in many languages. In 2001, he edited Alexeieff, Itinéraire d'un maître - Itinerary of a Master, dedicated to one of the great creators of avant-garde cinema. The book on Quirino Cristiani, the author of the first animated feature films, was published in Spanish by Ediciones de la Flor, Buenos Aires. A founding member of the Society for Animation Studies and for nine years a Board member of International Asifa, Giannalberto Bendazzi wrote books on live-action cinema, too: on Woody Allen and Mel Brooks.


It is not easy to say what is "essential". (For myself? for everybody? for today or in all times etc.) What is essential depends by a context which does it essential or not, and all contexts are not similar...I always combine ideas that I find in different sources..In any way as you suggest "They are not necessary to deal with animation directly" I can mention books that I like and are references for me.