Graphic testimonies : voicing the unutterable in auto/biographics of war

Van Vollenstee, Andre (2018-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since the early 1980s graphic narratives (novels) have developed into a nuanced and complex medium of creative expression. Experimentation with aesthetics, form and narrative content have resulted in a mode of expression that allows authors and artists to represent themselves and others multimodally on the page. These representations display a dynamic range through which fiction and non-fictional narratives can be shared in graphic form. This narrative strategy has been used by numerous artist-authors to detail auto/biographical accounts of historical events and lived experiences. With the aim of contributing to the growing field of literary and visual analysis regarding auto/biographic and fictive graphic narratives, this study examines a selection of contemporary graphic narratives from specific geo-political and socio-cultural spaces such as Israel, Iran, Lebanon, Palestine and Rwanda. The selected texts this thesis examines are Footnotes in Gaza (2009), A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return (2012), Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda (2005) and Smile Through the Tears: A Story of the Rwandan Genocide (2007). The aim is to demonstrate how the artist-authors relay individual (private) and communal (public) traumatic experiences in graphic form. This thesis suggests that graphic narratives can convey and “utter” public and private trauma in unique ways through the interplay of verbal-visual media. By making use of aesthetic styles that may be culturally influenced or rendered in an evocative manner, the narratives are able to express narrative content to the reader, who then becomes witness to the trauma. The use of this medium also allows artist-authors to position marginalised and traumatised subjects at the forefront of the narrative, adding to the larger historical archive and understanding of historical events. This medium allows for the transmission of traumatic experiences and alternative perspectives to give increased comprehension of how trauma affects various subjects in an effort to reconfigure misconceptions of their suffering.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert die vroeg-1980s ontwikkel grafiese narratiewe (romans) in ’n genuanseerde en komplekse medium vir kreatiewe vertolking. Eksperimentering met estetika, form en narratiewe inhoud het ’n uitdrukkingswyse teweeg gebring wat skrywers en kunstenaars instaat gestel het om hulself en ander multimodaal te verteenwoordig op die bladsy. Hierdie uitbeeldings toon ’n dinamiese omvang waardeur fiktiewe en nie-fiktiewe narratiewe oorgedra kan word in ’n grafiese formaat. Hierdie vertellingsstrategie is deur talle kunstenaar-skrywers gebruik om auto/biografiese gegewens of historiese gebeure en lewenservarings te artikuleer. As ’n bydrae tot ’n groeiende veld van literêre analise, betreffende auto/biografiese en fiktiewe grafiese narratiewe, ondersoek hierdie studie ’n keur van kontemporêre grafiese narratiewe uit spesifieke geo-politiese en sosio-kulturele ruimtes soos Israel, Iran, Lebanon, Palestina en Rwanda. Die keur van teskste onder bespreking in hierdie tesis is: Footnotes in Gaza (2009), A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return (2012), Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda (2005), Smile Through the Tears: A Story of the Rwandan Genocide (2007). Hiermee word gedemonstreer hoe kunstenaar-skrywers die individuele (private) en gemeenskaplike (publieke) traumatise belewenisse in grafiese form verwerk. Hierdie tesis betoog dat grafiese narratiewe publieke en private trauma op unieke wyses kan weergee en ‘uiter’ deur middel van die wisselwerking van die verbale-visuele medium. Deur die gebruik van estetiese style wat kultureel beїnvloed of verbeeld word op ’n suggestiewe wyse, is hierdie narratiewe instaat om vertellingsinhoud op só ’n wyse te vertolk dat die leser betrek word as ’n ooggetuie van die trauma. Die gebruik van hierdie medium laat ook skrywer-kunstenaars toe om gemarginaliseerde en getraumatiseerde subjekte op die voorfront van die narratief te posisioneer, en sodoende by te dra tot die breër historiese argief en nuwe insigte oor historiese gebeurtenisse to bewerkstellig. Hierdie medium, soos gebruik deur mans so wel as vroue, vermoontlik die oordra van traumatiese ervarings en alternatiewe perspektiewe om sodoende ’n verskerpte begrip te verleen aan hoe trauma verskeie subjekte affekteer, met die oog op die ontdaanmaking van wanpersepsies rakende hul lyding.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103665
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