ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies

ISSN: 1549-6732

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[cfp] Paraliterary Narratives: Reassessing the 'Graphic Novel' (Conference)

Posted 29 Jan, 2008

6-7 June 2008,
The School of Arts, University of Northampton, UK,
Keynote speakers: Professor Julian Wolfreys.

The term 'graphic novel' is an intensely contested term that covers the pop zeitgeist of American superhero comics to high conceptual art. Just how to define the genre is only one a series of critical conundrums that Samuel R. Delany's term 'paraliterary' scarcely addresses, but offers a starting point for reconsideration. Alongside the complexity of definition comes the problem of critical vocabulary and approaches. That language and methodologies used to discuss prose, film, and non-narrative visual art sometimes fit, but often don't, is part of that issue. Just how are we to discuss an art form that has in the last 25 years gathered an increasingly serious readership and seen the emergence of many major new artists and writers, but struggles with critical credibility? It is, undoubtedly, a genre greater that the sum of its aesthetic parts incorporating drawing, narrative fiction and, perhaps, cinema, into an integrated, fully realised, artistic form that matches any other in terms of its expressive possibilities.

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