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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Undergraduate Course: The Graphic Novel: Narrative in Sequential Art (ENLI10380)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course features works by graphic novelists from the U.S., Canada; Latin America; the U.K and the Pacific, with attention to specific regional subgenres (such as American superhero narratives, Japanese manga styles, and the European bande dessinée tradition), as well as the thematic content and formal properties of individual graphic narratives. Our focus will be on three particular subgenres: adaptations from printed literary texts; memoirs; and historiography (including indigenous oral history). In addition to exploring conventions of narrative drawing, we will analyse these subgenres with reference to established literary criticism (on literary form, life writing, historiography, and adaptation), but also engage with a range of critical models specific to the analysis of graphic narrative. The course follows a broadly chronological structure, beginning with an overview of the evolution of the graphic novel from visual and literary antecedents (including comics and figurative art), and then engaging with a range of texts emerging from (or focused around) successive historical epochs (from the early modern period to the present). We range from early graphic novels such as Art Spiegelman's holocaust memoir Maus (serialised from 1980-1991) to recent digital narratives including Robert Berry's Ulysses Seen and Matt Huynh's The Boat (adapted from Nam Le's short story about Vietnam War refugees).
Course description Strong emphasis will be placed on the process of adaptation of literary texts to graphic format, with particular attention to the ways in which narrative is rendered. Students will therefore be able to draw upon existing skills in the close reading of literary texts, but extend them further by exploring how literary criticism on the formal properties of texts can be applied to a new visual format. In addition, students will encounter new critical models on sequential art, focused around the potential of narrative drawing for creating unique stylistic effects and characterisation, and the way in which time and space are represented differently than in printed texts.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) AND Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) OR English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) OR Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016) AND Literary Studies 2A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788 (ENLI08024) AND Literary Studies 2B: English Literature in the World, post-1789 (ENLI08025) OR Scottish Literature 2A (ENLI08022) AND Scottish Literature 2B (ENLI08023) OR English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) OR Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements For students who took First Year courses prior to session 2021-22, a pass in English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) or Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016) is an acceptable equivalent
Additional Costs Essential Course Texts
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One coursework essay of 2,000 words (20%)

Class Participation assessment (10%)

One final essay of 3,000 words (70%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Construct original, clear and coherent arguments about the evolution of the graphic novel as a genre from models within literature and the visual arts
  2. Analyse graphic novels using recognised methods of literary criticism and sequential art criticism to substantiate and illustrate those arguments
  3. Evaluate established conventions within different subgenres of sequential art but also recognise the ways in which graphic novels depart from those conventions
  4. Orally present the results of research undertaken individually and as part of a small group, respond critically to such research undertaken by others, and critically evaluate the importance of such material for an understanding of the chief themes of the course.
Reading List
Essential Texts
Auster, Paul. The New York Trilogy (Faber and Faber, 2015). [We will refer to City of Glass only]
Auster, Paul. City of Glass: Graphic Novel (Faber and Faber, 2005; adapted by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli).
Grennan, Simon. Dispossession (Jonathan Cape, 2015).
Joyce, James. Ulysses (Wordsworth Classics, 2010).
Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis (Vintage, 2008).
Shakespeare, William. Othello (Wordsworth Classics, 1992).
Shakespeare, William. Othello: Manga Shakespeare (SelfMadeHero, 2008) [adapted by Richard Appignanesi]
Spiegelman, Art. The Complete Maus (Penguin, 2003).
Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Wordsworth Classics, 1993).
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Seminar: 2 hours a week for 10 weeks

plus 1 hour per week for 10 weeks: autonomous learning group - at time to be arranged
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Michelle Keown
Tel: (0131 6)50 6856
Course secretaryMs June Cahongo
Tel: (0131 6)50 3620
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