Conference Proposal on Shakespeare and Comics… ACCEPTED!

Great news! My proposal submission for the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCAACA) National 2013 Conference was approved today! This year the conference will  take place at the Wardman Park Marriott in Washington D.C. from March 27th-30th. My paper, titled Beyond “Words, Words, Words”: Soliloquies, the Graphic Novel, and the Great Shakespearean Divide, will be part of the “Adaptation” subject area of the conference, which deals with how adapters and adaptations are concerned with the cultural aspects of particular works as they are translated from one medium into another.

Here is the abstract that I submitted with my proposal. The paper is actually written in its entirety, and I am currently working with Dr. Peter Holland at the University of Notre Dame to explore possible venues for publication:

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The study of Shakespearean works is traditionally grounded on practices and approaches that are conceptually binary, resting on dual and at times contradictory modes of operation and interpretation: playtext and performance, linguistic and non-verbal, intentional or accidental. However, what occurs when these dichotomies fail to sustain the weight of Shakespearean works? In order to address this question, there is a particular binary that I want to focus on: source texts and adaptations. Certainly, these two “divergent” categories are invoked when graphic novel adaptations of Shakespearean works come into play. These creations bridge the chasm between performance and text by implementing the visuals and performative aspects made present in film and play performances, and combining them with the narrative pacing and the interpretive freedom provided via a static text.

The graphic novel curtails a sense of hybridity between reading and viewing, further pushing the explanatory limits that encircle Shakespeare’s dramatic works. This expansion manifests through the combination of images and words in ways that are impossible to achieve by approaching a performance or the playtext independently from one another. With this in mind, I approach a selection of soliloquies depicted in graphic novel adaptations of Hamlet using a method that I call close-decoding, which involves a meticulous look at how image and text are juxtaposed to offer an interpretation of a Shakespearean work, and how conventions unique to the comics medium serve to invoke performative aspects of the play in a static format.

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Within my paper, I explore many comics adaptations of Hamlet, including the downright awesome adaptation created by Neil Babra, and even some Manga adaptations.

Sample page from Neil Babra’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”

Anyway, I am absolutely thrilled that my proposal was accepted. Washington D.C., here I come!


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