Writing history in pictures. Historians and the comic book temptation

Literary incursions
By Sylvain Lesage

Four decades after the publishing success of “Histoire de France en bandes dessinées” (“History of France in Comics”), historians have now seized upon the idea of narrating history visually through comics. These initiatives fit into a longer-term trend of portraying history in pictures, from the didactic Épinal prints to visual Catechism materials and documentary sections of youth press publications. The revival of visual portrayals of history also fits into a trend of a changing scope for comic books and shifting boundaries between fiction and non-fiction. This paper explores new ways of historical writing made possible by visual narration, as well as the mediation processes that reach new audiences.

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