CFP: [Collections] ELN Issue 46.2 "Graphia: Literary Criticism and the Graphic Novel" (4/1/08;journal issue)

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English Language Notes
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ELN 46.2, Fall/Winter 2008
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 fictionâ€"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)
containersâ€"the pamphlet, webpage, TPB, hardcover, or slipcase
editionâ€"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)?

Submissions should be no longer than twenty manuscript pages, and we invite
shorter notes (individually and in clusters), as well as illustrations, and
topical book reviews. Please send double-spaced, 12-point font
contributions and/or proposals in hard copy and on CD-ROM to the address below:

Special Issue Editor, “Graphia: Literary Criticism and the Graphic Novel”
English Language Notes
University of Colorado at Boulder
226 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0226

Specific inquiries regarding issue 46.2 may be addressed to the issue
editor, William Kuskin: (
The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2008.

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Received on Mon Dec 03 2007 - 18:38:12 EST