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  1.  (1396.1)
    Still one of the best weekly columns on the net. Here's this week's.

    Here's where it updates every week.

    Go and read it now.

    -- W
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2008
    Reading this week's column reminded me of this call for papers by English Language Notes, one of the better known academic literary journals. They are preparing a special issue on Lit Crit and the graphic novel:

    Graphia: Literary Criticism and the Graphic Novel

    The comic book pamphlet developed as an independent literary form in the
    1930s and early 1940s and has become a favorite of adolescent readers and
    cult devotees ever since. Recently, it has entered into a process of
    transformation, moving from a species of pulp fiction on the margins of
    children’s literature to a subsection of mainstream writing, one the late
    Will Eisner famously termed the graphic novel. This transformation has
    been noted in such literary venues as the New York Times and the New
    Yorker, as well as in an increasing number of university classrooms and
    bookstore aisles. Nevertheless, criticism on the graphic novel remains
    insular and diffuse. The interpretive response to the graphic novel
    remains to be written.

    This special issue of ELN (volume 46.2, Fall/Winter 2008) seeks to
    integrate the graphic novel into literary studies. We call for papers on
    any form of sequential narrative fiction—comics strips, serialized
    literature, freestanding books. Topics may include but are not limited to
    source study and literary history, genre and critical theory, canonization
    and authorship, and media studies and book history. Thus, questions of
    interest range across the critical field:

    •Does the term “graphic novel” represent or misrepresent this mode of
    literature? Might literary theory provide a better term?

    •Does sequential fiction constitute an invention of form, of medium, or of
    generic category?

    •How does recent sequential literature extend modern or postmodern themes?
    What influences resonate most powerfully? Which prose novelists seem most

    •What does sequential fiction teach us about the category of authorship?

    •What matter physical presentation? That is, how do physical (or virtual)
    containers—the pamphlet, webpage, TPB, hardcover, or slipcase
    edition—inflect their contents?

    •What formal protocols might we imagine for reading sequential fiction?
    How does reading such fiction redound upon our reading of more traditional

    •How is cultural capital currently vested in the field?

    •In what ways does marketing, especially the positions of Marvel and DC,
    shape the literary experiment? Is this shaping force fundamentally
    different from the marketing of prose and poetry?

    •What is the relationship between comics and other media (film, TV, novels)?

    Yes, comics are discussed in literary circles, but what is the framework? Reading the above topics one cannot but think how biased they are. There is no overt attempt to approach comics on their own terms. They are seen as a "mode of literature". Comics creators are apparently mainly influenced by prose novelists...This is why graphic novel is such a nonsensical appelation. What does it really describe? Which segment of the reading public does the name attract? Pseudo-intellectual smartasses and literary theorists who want to catch up on developments in order to produce more pointless papers?

    The editors of the Comics Journal have been calling for a closer attention to questions like these for years, not entirely succesfully...Do we really need to use lit crit jargon defensively, in order to convince people that comics are a valid artform? The first paragraph above is enough to convince people otherwise...
  2.  (1396.3)
    Still one of the best weekly columns on the net

    Yeah. Yeah it is.