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Visual Metaphor and Embodiment in Graphic Illness Narratives$
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Elisabeth El Refaie

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190678173

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190678173.001.0001

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Dynamic Embodiment and the Graphic Illness Narrative Genre

Dynamic Embodiment and the Graphic Illness Narrative Genre

(p.47) 2 Dynamic Embodiment and the Graphic Illness Narrative Genre
Visual Metaphor and Embodiment in Graphic Illness Narratives

Elisabeth El Refaie

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that some genres are more centrally concerned with the body than others, and that each genre exploits the affordances of its modes and media in unique ways. Thus, graphic illness narratives are characterized not only by their focus on the physical, social, and emotional impacts of disease, but also by their innovative use of the tools and materials of the comics medium, including inherent tensions between words and images, and between sequence and layout. These features impose particular constraints and offer unique opportunities to artists, influencing their choice of metaphors and the shape these metaphors take. For example, in many such works the expected direction of metaphorical transfer from sensorimotor experience to more abstract concepts is reversed, as the diseased body and the nature of visual perception are foregrounded in the artist’s consciousness.

Keywords:   comics, genre, graphic illness narrative, materiality, multimodality, pathography, prototype theory

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