English 165

Special Topics: The Graphic Memoir

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Fall 2014 Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
TTh 11-12:30 130 Wheeler

Book List

Barry, Lynda: One! Hundred! Demons!; Bechdel, Alison: Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama; Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic; Gloeckner, Phoebe: A Child's Life: And Other Stories; McCloud, Scott: Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art; Sacco, Joe: Palestine; Satrapi, Marjane: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood; Spiegelman, Art: Maus, Vols I & II; Yang, Gene Luen: American Born Chinese


The graphic novel is often defined as "a single-author, book-length work meant for a grown-up reader, with a memoirist or novelistic nature, usually devoid of superheroes."  Many comic artists, however, ridicule the term as a pretentious and disingenuous attempt to rebrand comics in order to elevate their cultural status.  We will explore the definitions, history, and diverse forms of graphic narratives with an emphasis on the graphic memoir or autobiography or personal narrative.  Along the way, we will develop a critical vocabulary to help us articulate the special blend of visual and verbal narrative as well as notions of subjectivity.

This course is open to English majors only.

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