The rise of the comics künstlerroman, or, the limits of comics acceptance: the depiction of comics creators in the work of Michael Chabon and Emily St. John Mandel
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractThe künstlerroman is a genre with a long and celebrated past. From Bret Easton Ellis’ Lunar Park (2005) to John Irving’s The World According to Garp (1978) and Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift (1975), the genre has occupied a prominent place in bestseller lists and awards shortlists. The enduring popularity and continued critical celebration of the künstlerroman makes it all the more striking that, since the turn of the millennium a new kind of author-protagonist has emerged — the graphic-novelist-protagonist. This move not only inducts graphic novelists into this existing — and prestigious — literary genre, it also draws them into the same struggle for recognition in which other novelist-protagonists have long been involved. Drawing on the recent examples of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000) and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014), in this article I argue that there is a clear move toward the serious discussion of comics and comics creators in contemporary literature, an increasing willingness to talk about comics and their makers that is marked by a surprising faith in the fitness of comics as a mode of self-expression and a recognition of the clear kinship between prose authors and graphic novelists.
CitationKing, D. (2019). 'The rise of the comics künstlerroman, or, the limits of comics acceptance: the depiction of comics creators in the work of Michael Chabon and Emily St. John Mandel'. Open Library of Humanities, 4(2): 43, pp. 1–24.
PublisherOpen Library of the Humanities
JournalOpen Library of Humanities
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