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Autobiographies: psychoanalysis and the graphic novel

Lykou, Paraskevi (2014) Autobiographies: psychoanalysis and the graphic novel. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the conjunction of the graphic novel with life-writing using psychoanalytic concepts, primarily Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalysis, to show how the graphic medium is used to produce a narrative which reconstructs the function of the unconscious through language. The visual language is rich in meaning, with high representational potential which results in a vivid representation of the unconscious, a more or less raw depiction of the function of the psychoanalytic principles. In this project I research how life-writing utilises the unique representational features of the medium to uncover dimensions of the internal-self, the unconscious and the psyche. I use the tools and principles of psychoanalysis as this has been formed from Freud on and through the modern era, to propose that the visual language of the graphic medium renders the unconscious more accessible presenting the unconscious functionality in a uniquely transparent way, so that to some extent we can see parts of the process of the construction of self identity. The key texts comprise a sample of internationally published, contemporary autobiographical and biographical accounts presented in the form of the graphic novel. The major criterion for including each of the novels in my thesis is that they all are, in one way or another, stories of growing up stigmatised by a significant trauma, caused by the immediate familial and/or social environment. Thus they all are examples of individuals incorporating the trauma in order to overcome it, and all are narrations of constructing a personal identity through and because of this procedure. The presentation of the characters’ childhood is a (re)construction of their family history and an emergence of their own sense of the self, as this sense has been defined in the late modernity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Graphic novel, comics, psychoanalysis, Freud, autobiography
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.619108
Depositing User: Dr Paraskevi Lykou
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2014 11:13
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:31
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6941

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