A Silent Production, both of Text and Self: Conceptualizing the Psychic Work of Comics Reading

  • David Lewkowich University of Alberta
  • Nicholas Jacobs University of Alberta

Abstract

In this paper, we wonder how comics – through its play of absence and presence, and as unique multimodal merger of visual arts and literature – may allow readers to engage in a particular kind of psychic work, involving the influence of memory and unconscious life on reading experience. We thus discuss an explicitly psychoanalytic understanding of reading comics, paying particular attention to the mental movements of repression, projection, and reparation. Drawing on readers’ experiences with Lynda Barry’s The Freddie Stories, we also consider how the formal elements of comics reading might allow readers to work through the effects of potentially difficult personal histories.

Author Biographies

David Lewkowich, University of Alberta

David Lewkowich is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. His research interests include reading experience, psychoanalytic theory, and representations of teachers in comics and graphic novels.

Nicholas Jacobs, University of Alberta

Nicholas Jacobs (BA, MPS) is a Doctoral Student in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta.

Published
2019-08-27
How to Cite
Lewkowich, D., & Jacobs, N. (2019). A Silent Production, both of Text and Self: Conceptualizing the Psychic Work of Comics Reading. Language and Literacy, 21(3), 18-37. https://doi.org/10.20360/langandlit29368