Unraveling Bande Dessiné: an Exploration into French Alternative Autobiographical Graphic Novels

Summer 2012

Anjelica Colliard : French, Art Practice

Mentor: Timothy Hampton, French

France is home to a sophisticated comic book culture that considers the genre as valuable literature. Its integration into French society is indicative of its influence in contemporary popular culture. My research project explores the role that the printed image plays in narrating French autobiographical comic books, and how the overall visual aspect of graphic narrative interacts with more conventional types of literary self-representation. I will look at which elements of graphic narrative make the medium particularly suited to telling stories of the self by examining the various codes at play in several French works. These different communicative systems present in the work, such as visual image, the written word, and the hand of the author, among others, combine to make an innovatively unique product. My project, which supports my senior honors thesis, will provide insight as to how these new methods of self-portrayal are bringing to light questions of authorship, authenticity, and the reader-author relationship.

Angelica's Research Blog

Being a recipient of the SURF fellowship has allowed me to develop my project to a degree that would have otherwise been inaccessible to me. With this opportunity I have the time and support necessary to fully immerse myself within a previously-neglected subject that deserves consideration. Moreover SURF offers me the invaluable experience of conducting cutting-edge research with the help of talented mentors and peers. I am excited to be contributing to the study of graphic narrative while simultaneously advancing my own academic career. Above all, I look forward to exploring and bringing validity to a medium that I love.