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Here is the abstract for my upcoming conference paper presentation on With the Light; I’m counting on you all to help me out!

In his paper “Reading in Pictures: Re-visioning Autism and Literature through Keiko Tobe’s With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child,” Chris Foss argues that Tobe’s multi-volume manga series is a crucial set of texts for any (re)consideration of literary autism.  Building off of the work of Donald Ault and W. J. T. Mitchell, Foss insists that one particular function of the “imagetext” these manga stories embody is the foregrounding of multiple discursive codes and of the multiple sensory and cognitive modes required to mediate them.  This sort of dialectical reading experience (one which highlights the imbrication of verbal and visual experiences, as well as the range of possibilities for disjunctive and/or synthetic relationships between them) encourages a broadening of one’s understanding of/approach to both autism and literature from the standpoint of form in much the same way that Savarese suggests the poetic language of Baggs and Mukhopadhyay opens up a more comprehensive conception of literary autism by literary autistics.  Indeed, according to Foss, attentiveness not only to the interplay of narrative and graphic elements but even more so to all the various components of the visual gestalt (abstract background effects, bleeds, captions, motion lines, panel shapes/sizes, sound effects, speech balloons, splash pages, symbolia, etc.)—including the particular iconography unique to manga, which employs set artistic conventions (including facial features and other character design traits) to express emotions or communicate internal character states—ultimately allows for a more complex, heterogeneous, and interactive literary experience of autism.

Written by cfoss

November 29th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Posted in uncategorized