Life Writing and Graphic Narratives

Krista Quesenberry, Susan Merrill Squier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This text is fashioned from an email exchange between the authors during the spring, summer, and fall of 2015. Our aim with this informal, collaborative process was to develop a few of the key principles for discussing graphic narratives as a mode of life writing, especially graphic memoirs relating to illness, disability, and care work, as well as issues of difference more broadly (including gender and sexuality). Thinking through the genres and media of graphic life writing, we discuss narrative, text authentication, institutional positioning, world-making, narrating difference, and the role of the visual, while giving particular attention to the importance of objects and temporality to the comics form.Rather than a resolved or comprehensive series of guidelines, we offer instead an experiment in epistolary criticism, through which we formulate several points of contact between graphic narrative and life writing scholarship-instances and considerations where the central concerns for scholars in both fields overlap. Ultimately, our sense is that graphic memoirs of disability, illness, and other types of difference share many characteristics with more traditional, exclusively textual life writing forms, though in graphic life writing the visual dynamic-involving the connections and disconnections between the verbal and visual-produces specific engagements with disjunction, complexity, and the ineffable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-85
Number of pages23
JournalLife Writing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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