Martin Breul
Comparative Literature / English Literature
Year of study:
5
Why More People Should Be Interested in Comics About Trauma, War and Other Disturbing Topics
Abstract
In recent decades, comic sections in bookstores have moved beyond the usual selection of superhero and children’s narratives. The plethora of fictional and non-fictional graphic novels on the market engages with all kinds of deeply unsettling issues. This research aims to uncover how sequences of text/image combinations might be particularly suited to generate a distinct understanding of complex, difficult and disturbing subject matter. Drawing on psychoanalysis and critical theory, the project centres around a comparative reading of Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza and Carol Tyler’s Soldier’s Heart, two comic books portraying war-related traumata. This study may provide us with a powerful example of what can be gained if we accept that unconventional narrative forms such as comics can give us a relevant perspective on contemporary problems that news, science and academia alone may not be able to show.
Bio
Victor Hugo reminds us that “To die is nothing; but it is terrible not to live.” To me, living means reading, writing, thinking and sharing my work. I grew up in a small East German town, and then moved to a big city to work in TV and video production for 5 years. In the end, I decided that there must be something else, quit my job and moved to Scotland. I am now in the 4th year of my degree in English and Comparative Literature, having spent my 3rd year abroad at the University of Toronto. My home is where books are, and the longer I pursue my subjects, the more I am fascinated by the new perspectives I discover through them every single day. If I am not studying, I am usually to be found in a coffeeshop, surrounded by books and paper, looking busy and doing nothing.