Upheavals of Emotions, Madness of Form: Mary M. Talbot’s and Bryan Talbot’s Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes and a Transdiegetised (Auto)Biographical Commix

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Abstract

In 2012, Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot joined the likes of Richard Ellmann, Gordon Bowker and Michael Hastings and in their graphic memoir Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes (2012) offered a new re-telling of James Joyce’s life, focusing, in particular, on the difficult relationship between the great Irish writer, and his daughter Lucia. However, the story of a complicated emotional bond between Joyce and Lucia was only a framework for an autobiographical coming-of age narrative about Mary M. Talbot herself and her violent relationship with James S. Atherton, a celebrated Joycean scholar and her very own “cold mad feary father”. Following Martha C. Nussbaum’s conception about cognitive and narrative structure of emotions postulated in Love’s Knowledge (1990) and Upheavals of Thoughts (2001), this article wishes to argue in favour of an organic connection between the volume’s thematic concerns and its generic affiliation. In other words, it discusses how a specific class of emotions pertaining to Lucia’s gradual mental disintegration can be adequately told only in a specific literary form, i.e. in a transdiegetised “commix”, an (auto)biographical account which occupies a threshold space between a comic and a novel, fiction and non-fiction, biography and autobiography, words and pictures.

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Prague Journal of English Studies

The Journal of Charles University, Faculty of Education

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