Will Eisner Comics & Sequential Art (1985) - Eisner has done more thinking about comics than almost anybody else but he's done that thinking in the form of comics. So while this is certainly fascinating reading and an intriguing explication of some of the elements of the comics medium, it's also in many ways fairly superficial. The prose sections are blunt and obvious but still feel padded out. Some of it--especially towards the end--are far too brief to be of any help. But the book's illustrations and numerous full-length stories are the real key, especially with Eisner as a guide to some of their highlights. You might still be better off carefully reading and re-reading a volume of The Spirit Archives but this certainly doesn't hurt.
For years I've been meaning to read Sainte-Beuve and today decided to see what's in my library. The good news was four entire shelves, three of primary works (including multiple volumes of correspondence) and one of secondary. The bad news is that except for three biographies it was all in French. You'd think a library planning to aquire that much would have bothered to also find something in English.