Time, Narrative and the Gutter: how philosophical thinking can make something out of nothing

Julia Moszkowicz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Paul Ricoeur is a philosopher who wrote three volumes entitled Time and Narrative, highlighting the capacity of story-telling to touch and reconfigure people?s lives (temporarily). His work suggests that narrative has the capacity not simply to re-present events but to provide rich contexts of experience wherein ideas can be explored and, to some extent, lived-through. This chapter will argue for the value of applying such ideas to the reading and development of graphic novels within an educational context, encouraging students to develop aspirations for their practice that include making sense of the world, exploring its referential function, its claims on truth, the re-structuring of experience and - as an aspect of this - the poetic potential of the gutter. Quoting Aristotle, Ricoeur argues that drawing resemblances to and from the world can enhance people?s understanding of it, ?bringing together terms that at first seem ?distant? ... suddenly ?close.??1 Through the application of such understandings, this chapter suggests that graphic novelists might see their function in terms of providing ?semantic pertinence,? unifying miscellaneous elements in order to secure deep understandings. The chapter will explain the themes of mimetic and metaphoric value, arguing for a re- examination of the space between - as well as the content within - the frame of the graphic novel. The work of illustrator Tom Gauld will be used as an example of this poetic potential, leading to the question: is the metaphoric potential of graphic novels in the hands of the art worker or audience?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Expression and Formal Expression in the Graphic Novel
EditorsJonathan C. Evans, Thomas Giddens
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-1-84888-199-0
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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