Focalization in Action: Analyses of Graphic Narrative

Focalization in Action: Analyses of Graphic Narrative is a collaborative book project (with Dr. Silke Horstkotte, University of Leipzig) that examines the terms and conditions of focalization in graphic narratives so as to contribute towards a visual narratology. The first objective of this research is to elucidate the distinctions between narration and focalization with reference to graphic narratives since they deal explicitly with issues of visual perception. In particular, we ask: How is focalization marked off from narration? and Do similar markers of focalization transfer to multimodal or purely visual graphic narratives?

Graphic narratives, with their diversity of pictorial styles and techniques, not only beg the question of how focalization is marked off from narration, but also offer fertile ground to question what exactly constitutes a visual focalization. Is it necessary, when examining a narrative that so strongly relies on the visual, to return to optical concepts of perspective? Or can graphic narratives' visual track encode cognitive as well as perceptual forms of focalization?

These two questions lead to a third: Is the distinction between focalization and narration helpful for the analysis of multimodal and visual narratives? Thus, an additional objective is to outline the potential, as well as the shortcomings, of focalization as a concept for the analysis of multimodal and visual art.

This research is funded by the Canada Council of the Arts (John G. Diefenbaker Award).

The first draft of Focalization in Action is in its final stages of completion. It has been prmised to Ohio State University Press.

 

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