The Pictured Page: Literature to Comics module (CG50007)

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Module code


The aim of the module is to introduce students to the relationship between literature and comics/graphic novels, particularly the ways in which works of literature have been adapted to this hybrid medium, which combines text and image in a sequential narrative form.

Students will read the original texts alongside the adaptations and consider the strategies that have been used by the comics creators to translate the text into a comic, with particular emphasis on the visual language and how it adapts narration, perspective and focalisation.  

Indicative topics:

  • Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift), adapted by Martin Rowson
  • Salome (Oscar Wilde), adapted by David Shenton
  • Kidnapped and Jekyll and Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson), adapted by Alan Grant and Cam Kennedy, and by Lorenzo Mattotti and Jerry Kramsky
  • Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad), adapted byDavid Zane Mairowitz and Catherine Anyango
  • Short stories by Kafka, adapted by Peter Kuper, and The Trial (Franz Kafka), adapted by Chantal Montellier and David Zane Mairowitz
  • Various stories by H.P. Lovecraft, adapted by Gardner Fox, Bernie Wrightson, Moebius, John Coulthart, and Alan Moore
  • City of Glass (Paul Auster), adapted by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli


Coursework makes up 100% of the assessment, as follows:

  • 7 weekly journals, 250 words each (20%)
  • Presentation in class (20%)
  • Research Essay, 4,000 words (60%), due Friday Week 14

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Perform close readings of comics and graphic novels and the literature that they have been adapted from.
  • Show familiarity with the processes of adaptation
  • Show understanding of the issues raised by the process of adaptation and the scholarship and criticism related to this field
  • Articulate independent critical responses to these works


Dr Chris Murray