About this course

Contemporary picturebooks and graphic novels have transformed the way we think about reading, demanding the orchestration of the visual and the written in order to make meaning. Beginning with a history of these multi-modal genres, this course will explore the growth of the picturebook from texts aimed predominantly at a child readership to graphic novels, which address more mature readers. These works are both aesthetic objects and sophisticated experiences in interpretation, providing opportunities to address the concerns of our contemporary world in ways that challenge their status as 'popular' and 'disposable'.

We will focus on texts in English, from writers and artists like Maurice Sendak, Emily Gravett, Anthony Browne, Shaun Tan and Raymond Briggs, to graphic novelists and illustrators such as Art Spiegelman, Neil Gaiman, David McKean and Lynda Barry. A range of perspectives from cultural theory will be considered to address the complex position of the reader in these varied texts, as we examine the sometimes radical ways in which they explore the 'postmodern condition', from the nature of gender to the post-colonial experience. The challenge of articulating the relationship between the image and the word will allow us to reconsider our definitions of the nature of 'story'.


Subject Areas

Check with your home institution for specific information on fulfillment of major / course requirements.