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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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A Tripartite Taxonomy of Visual Metaphor in Graphic Illness Narratives

A Tripartite Taxonomy of Visual Metaphor in Graphic Illness Narratives

(p.81) 3 A Tripartite Taxonomy of Visual Metaphor in Graphic Illness Narratives
Visual Metaphor and Embodiment in Graphic Illness Narratives

Elisabeth El Refaie

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses the analysis of 35 graphic illness narratives to identify the various forms that visual metaphor may take in this genre. A novel tripartite classification system that distinguishes between pictorial, spatial, and stylistic metaphors is proposed. Pictorial metaphors, which use images of concrete animate or inanimate objects to stand for something else, have received a lot of scholarly attention in recent years, but this study offers the first systematic description of the other two types of visual metaphor. Spatial metaphors exploit the relative size, arrangement, and orientation of elements on the page to convey more abstract meanings, whereas in the case of stylistic metaphors, features such as color, shape, level of detail, and quality of line are used to indicate an abstract concept or a nonvisual sense perception. These three categories can be further subdivided, and in many instances several distinct types of metaphor are used in combination.

Keywords:   comics, embodiment, graphic illness narrative, pictorial metaphor, spatial metaphor, stylistic metaphor, visual metaphor

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