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Reading: Remediating Photography in Second-Generation Graphic Narratives: Haptic Imaginaries and Gene...


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Research article

Remediating Photography in Second-Generation Graphic Narratives: Haptic Imaginaries and Genealogies


Natalie Dupré ,

KU Leuven, BE
About Natalie
Natalie Dupré is assistant professor of Italian Literature, Culture and Translation at the KU Leuven Research Unit of Literary Studies. She teaches at the Brussels Campus, where she currently coordinates the Master of Translation. After obtaining her MA in French and Italian Language and Literature at KU Leuven in 1994, Natalie Dupré started her doctoral studies at the Università degli Studi di Milano (1994-95) and the Università di Bologna (1995-96). In 1996 she was granted an FWO doctoral fellowship and obtained her PhD at KU Leuven in 2000 with a dissertation on the Triestin scholar and writer Claudio Magris. Her dissertation, which was published as the monograph "Per un’epica del quotidiano. La frontiera in Danubio di Claudio Magris" (Cesati 2009), tackles the discursive construction of borders in literature through a close-reading of "Danubio" (1986). She has also worked extensively on other writers from the northeast border area of Italy, including Giuliana Morandini, Anna Maria Mori and Fulvio Tomizza. More recently she expanded her research interests to explore memory-making and identity construction in the works of Italian-Jewish authors (Liana Millu, Luciana Nissim Momigliano, Giuliana Tedeschi, Aldo Zargani). Among her other research interests are the nexus of multimodality and the construction of cultural memory (in graphic narratives and documentary film), and audiovisual translation. She is currently co-editor-in-chief of the open access journal "Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani" and the multilingual Peter Lang book series "Moving Texts/Testi mobili".
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Inge Lanslots

KU Leuven, BE
About Inge
Inge Lanslots is associate professor of Italian culture at the Research Unit of Translation studies. At Campus Antwerp, she teaches Italian culture and translation. She is currently the Vice Campus Dean of Research. After obtaining her degree of licenciate in Romance Philology and her certificate in Italian Studies at the University of Antwerp, she was granted a PhD fellowship by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). In 1998, she obtained her PhD with a dissertation entitled ‘Gli orologi molli’: la narrativa italiana contemporanea e la conoscenza del tempo, a close-reading of the works of contemporary Italian authors who problematize time at both a content and narratological level, Ricoeur’s tales of time. Inge’s exclusive focus on literature has gradually broadened to other genres or types of narratives, such as comics-graphic novels, (documentary) film, street art. Since 2010, her research focuses mainly on the representation of cultural memory in contemporary narratives, such as antimafia, migration, 1968 and Italy’s Years of Lead, Genova 2001 (Carlo Giuliani). Along with An Van Hecke, she supervises the ÉXODOCS project, dedicated to the representation of migration from Latin America to the United States in documentaries that turn documentary filmmakers into new storytellers on border crossing. Inge is also co-editor-in-chief of the OA journal "Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani" and editor of the "Moving Texts/Testi mobili" series (Peter Lang).
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In this article we explore the complexities of using intermediality in a subgenre of the graphic novel: the graphic memoir. More specifically, our corpus includes three second-generation graphic memoirs that all incorporate reproductions of (family) photographs, personal documents, and archival material: Palacinche: Storia di un’esule fiumana (2012), by Caterina Sansone and Alessandro Tota, Mendel’s Daughter: A Memoir (2006), by Martin Lemelman, and Two Cents Plain: My Brooklyn Boyhood (2010), by the same author. Although the phenomenon of intermediality is often approached from a semiotic perspective, our analysis reveals that this approach does not suffice to capture the complexities of intermediality within the second-generation graphic memoirs included in our corpus. Drawing on material approaches to visual culture and photography as developed in the domain of anthropology, we address the haptic engagement and creative investment through which the intermedial configurations eventually produce the affective attachments that the narrators seek to establish and share with the world. Thanks to these haptic attachments, the nostalgia evoked in the narratives is converted into a present feeling of affective connection with, and belonging to, a recovered family history. To that aim, the visual dimension of the three graphic narratives is haptically broadened so as to restore paths toward memory, thus welcoming a felt, and truly embodied, experience of other people’s history and past.

How to Cite: Dupré, N. and I. Lanslots. “Remediating Photography in Second-Generation Graphic Narratives: Haptic Imaginaries and Genealogies”. New Readings, vol. 18, 2022, pp. 134–147. DOI:
Published on 24 Mar 2022.
Peer Reviewed


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