Call for Papers: William Hogarth & Cinema

Deadline: 5 September 2022

According to Sergei Eisenstein, “Diderot talked about cinema.” It could likewise be suggested that the eighteenth-century artist William Hogarth (1697-1764) inaugurated cinematic discourse. Through his visual and theoretical work, Hogarth offers a crucial contribution to the narrative and aesthetic reflections that predate—and somehow anticipate—the invention of cinema. Eisenstein did indeed comment upon and commend Hogarth’s visual productions (praising in particular his stage-like compositions and visual narratives articulated in sequences of images). The Russian filmmaker admired his English predecessor’s artistic theory, preoccupied with the movement of bodies and gazes: Eisenstein appropriated the idea of a “line of beauty” developed in Hogarth’s The Analysis of Beauty in his directing and editing. 

Yet, the filmic potentialities of Hogarth’s work and ideas still await extended critical and scholarly attention. The artist’s name appears sporadically in film studies that mention his influence for set designs—especially in Hollywood where Fritz Lang, Mark Robson, and Stanley Kubrick, among others, drew from Hogarth’s works to stage their historical films—and on the legacy of his artistic writings in film theory and criticism. The abundant art historical literature devoted to Hogarth, however, rarely evokes the artist’s cinematographic legacy. 

A special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Ecrans (No. 20, Spring 2024), to be published in French and English, seeks to explore the largely understudied connections between William Hogarth and global and expanded cinema. 

We invite papers on topics that may include (but are not limited to):

  • Pre-cinema (with particular emphasis on magic lanterns) and early cinema (for example filmed tableaux vivants)
  • William Hogarth in Hollywood (especially in the studios’ archives)
  • The temporality of images and sequencing of visual narratives
  • Graphic novels, illustrated journals, and cartoons
  • Adaptations of literary “Progresses” between prints, paintings, theatre, performance, film, TV series, etc.
  • Case studies from global cinema (including art documentaries)
  • Experimental cinema (particularly the challenging of narrative linearity)
  • The legacy of Hogarth’s satirical work in comedy (including productions that feature Hogarth as a character of fiction)
  • The legacy of Hogarth’s artistic theory and his “line of beauty,” in film theory (for example through various visual shorthand systems) and criticism
  •  Marxist, feminist, and post-colonial currents in the reception of Hogarth’s work

Please submit a proposal by 5 September 2022 in English or French (up to 400 words) and a short bio, to the guest editors of this special issue: Marie Gueden ([email protected]) and Pierre Von-Ow ([email protected]). Final papers should not exceed 8000 words. 

Selections will be announced in early October. First drafts expected on 30 March 2023 for publication in April 2024. Feel free to contact us if any questions should arise before submitting your proposal.

More information about Ecrans here: