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The Comics of Alison BechdelFrom the Outside In$
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Janine Utell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496825773

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496825773.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Dancing With Memory In Fun Home

Dancing With Memory In Fun Home

(p.89) Dancing With Memory In Fun Home
The Comics of Alison Bechdel

Alissa S. Bourbonnais

University Press of Mississippi

To think of choreography as a theorization of identity allows for a conception of movement in which bodies are more than the object of theory; bodies become the active subject, the Merleau-Pontian point of view in the world in which they move. Bechdel choreographs memory structurally through the complex relationship between chapter title panels and the chapter contents. Another way in which Fun Home embodies the act of remembering is through the myriad interactions Bechdel the creator has with Alison the character in the text. Multimodal narrative makes this type of interaction visible to the reader. “Dancing with memory” in Fun Home means traversing narrative lines where much of the meaningful dialogue between past and present becomes visible only through the relationship between text and image. Multimodal narrative allows for creators and audiences alike to witness from the outside in more explicitly the implicit affective responses to the very act of remembering through storytelling. Some of the most potent instances of embodied reading in Fun Home are those in which we see Bechdel the creator in dialogue with Alison the character. Excavating past selves to follow the trajectory of past movement is part of the work of autobiography and artistic expression of memory. The textual and visual choreography operates on multiple temporal levels, and through multiple modes of communication. Reading a graphic memoir is an embodied performative act. Considering the ephemeral nature of performance alongside the ephemeral nature of memory in Fun Home illuminates new ways of understanding both.

Keywords:   Fun Home, Alison Bechdel, Dance, Choreography, Memory

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