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Reading Comics in Time

Calendar Thursday, 23 January 2020
Calendar 10:00-11:15

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A keynote lecture by Professor Jan Baetens (KU Leuven) which is open to all, as part of the Fluid Images Conference.

Please note that whilst this keynote lecture is open to all, it is part of the Fluid Images Conference and registration to attend the actual conference has now closed.


Comics exist in time, not only as historical objects, but also through their reading, and it is the combination of these two aspects that I would like to address in this talk. I will start with analyzing a kind of temporal paradox: reading comics seems to be timeless (fast, instantaneous, superficial: hardly ‘reading’), yet at the same time it never stops (neither at an individual nor at a collective level). This paradox is something that can be framed in ‘cultural’ terms, having to do with the fundamental problem (both a threat and an opportunity) of cultural memory and the possible conflict between transgenerational reading, transmission techniques and shifting aesthetic categories.


Jan Baetens is professor of cultural studies at KU Leuven (Belgium). His own background is French literature, with a special emphasis on contemporary poetry and the theory of constrained writing, but he has also widely published on visual narrative, generally in minor or less studied genres such as novelization, photonovel, film photonovel, and graphic novel. Some of his books in English are: The Graphic Novel (Cambridge UP, 204, coauthored with Hugo Frey), Novelization. From Film to Novel (OSU Press, 2018, translated from the French), The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel, eds. Jan Baetens, Hugo Frey, Stephen E. Tabachnick (Cambridge UP, 2018) and The Film Photonovel, A Cultural History of Forgotten Adaptations (Texas UP, 2019). A monograph on Schuiten and Peeters’s Obscure Cities series will be published with Rutgers UP in June 2020 (Rebuilding Storyworlds).

Simultaneous Translation

The event will be delivered in the medium of English. You are welcome to ask questions in the medium of Welsh during the Q&A session. If you intend to do this, please contact by Thursday 19 January to request simultaneous translation. Please note that 10% or more of those planning to attend will need to request this provision in order for it to be sourced and will be subject to resource availability.

We apologise that the entire registration page is not available in the medium of Welsh, unfortunately, the platform we use does not offer this service.

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Room 2.18, School of Modern Languages
66a Park Place
CF10 3AS

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