The comic book final gets some respect as literature
Harvard professor Hillary Chute took students and faculty alike into the world of graphic novels, from a woman’s point of view, last week. In a talk titled “Comics as Literature: Women’s Contemporary Graphic Narratives,” Chute spoke of how the issues in women’s lives, from significant others to sexual abuse, are explored in graphic novels, or narratives written on comic book form. Now teaching at Harvard University, Chute received her masters and Ph.D. in English from Rutgers University.
Her book projects and publications include “Out of the Gutter: Women’s Contemporary Graphic Narrative,” and “Comics as Literature? Reading Graphic Narrative.”
In her talk last week, Chute noted that the graphic novel, especially women in the graphic novel genre, have recently come into the mainstream. To wit, she noted Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis,” and that “Fun Home,” by Alison Bechdel was chosen by Time Magazine as the number one book of the year in 2006. And the magazine rather sheepishly admitted, yeah, it was a comic book topping their list.
“I think this is an amazing barometer of how far comic books have come,” she said. “It’s shown that we have open minds about this literature.”