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Reading Lessons in SeeingMirrors, Masks, and Mazes in the Autobiographical Graphic Novel$
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Michael A. Chaney

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496810250

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2018

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496810250.001.0001

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The Pupil as Pupil, Or the Instructional Unconscious of Comics

The Pupil as Pupil, Or the Instructional Unconscious of Comics

(p.3) Introduction The Pupil as Pupil, Or the Instructional Unconscious of Comics
Reading Lessons in Seeing

Michael A. Chaney

University Press of Mississippi

This book examines how comics, particularly the autobiographical ones, teach their viewers how they ought to be read and how they make abstractions of identity visible. It argues that the comics form carries out major and minor acts of hypostatization by instructing us in “reading” its tropes, and that comics teach us at every turn how to see and think that they are. The book theorizes the form of autobiographical graphic novels as well as their formal unconscious by highlighting a number of mirror moments that predominate autography, suggesting that mirror scenes in comics indicate “failed encounters with the real.” It also considers one of the comics' most prevalent masks—the child; puzzles and other ludic devices in Epileptic, Cancer Vixen, and Fun Home; self-portraiture in contemporary graphic novels; and how history operates in certain autographic texts as a domain of lost experience and community.

Keywords:   comics, reading, graphic novels, autography, mirror scenes, mask, child, puzzles, ludic devices, self-portraiture

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