Illustration and Narrative Construction
Illustration by James Abbott Pasquier for the September 1872 issue of Thomas Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes in Tinsley’s Magazine.
Université Paris-Diderot, 28 et 29 March 2014
Call for Papers
At a time of growing academic interest for the adaptation of fictional narratives across a range of different contemporary media (film, TV series, comic books, graphic novels), we would like to engage with illustration as the earliest form of visual adaptation of novelistic works.
The general aim of this conference is to explore illustration in its specifically narrative dimension. The notion of narrative construction provides an interesting paradigm to analyse the relationship between text and image within illustrated works of fiction. Though each illustration may be said to have a narrative potential of its own which is revealed by the eye perusing it, it is the sequential dimension of narrative which will be our particular focus here.
The object of the conference is to examine how a series of images accompanying a narrative does not simply illustrate separate moments singled out from the text but forms a visual narrative through its dynamic relationship with the text. We shall thus study the different processes at stake and the ways in which images, in their three-fold articulation to the work as a whole—namely to the passage which they illustrate, to what precedes and follows in the narrative, and to the sequence of interlinked images—suggest a reading of a text and open up one of its narrative possibilities.
The conference will focus on European novels from the early modern period to the present.
Possible topics include:
– The different illustrated editions of a text, targeting various readerships (bibliophiles, young people, etc.) and the type of visual narrative constructed to address each reading public
– Diachronic analyses of the illustrated versions of a single text and of the transformations of narrative over time
– Illustration as counterpoint to the text, constructing a parallel narrative, sometimes even contradicting the text
– Serialized novels and the specific narrative dynamic put into play by serialization
– The special cases of graphic novels and comic books adapted from works of fiction and the redefinition of the narrative dynamic brought about by these media