October 17, 2003

Image & Narrative and Internationality

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 12:02 am

I just discovered the online journal Image and Narrative via Jan Baetens’s review of The New Media Reader. Image and Narrative is described as “a peer-reviewed e-journal on visual narratology in the broadest sense of the term” and its current issue includes essays with titles like “Comic strips and constrained writing” (which hits a couple of my interest buttons right there).

In the NMR review (which, despite what I’m about to say, made me quite pleased) Nick and I take some flack, and not for the first time, for putting together an English-language anthology entirely made up of texts well-known in English: “Although they include an important number of European texts and authors, the gathering is mared by the fact that only texts which are already available in English seem to have been chosen.” Which is seen to have some negative effects in the journal’s area of focus: “For the section on comics, for instance, this means that European, mostly francophone, scholarship has been completely ignored and that a (by European standards) second-rate theoretician like Scott McCloud is the only one to represent the field.”

Nick wrote to me in email saying, “I think he’s right to criticize the monolingual, American-centered nature of the NMR. On the other hand, how do we expect an anthology like this to emerge that isn’t rooted in a particular language and national culture?” It’s a good question. Nick, as one of the few people to translate a work of elit from another language into English, has also put personal effort into creating a more international, multi-lingual field. Personally, I probably haven’t done enough.