The Pictured Page: Literature to Comics module (EN31015)

Learn about adaptations of literary texts into comics and graphic novels

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Module code


This module explores the relationship between literature and comics, with an emphasis on adaptations of literature into comics and graphic novels.

It considers theoretical and formal questions about how comics work, and the relationship between comics and literary forms such as prose, poetry and drama.

It considers questions of literariness and what happens when a work is reimagined in another medium. How are literary qualities and effects transposed to a visual medium? What are the aims of such adaptations, and in what ways are they in dialogue with the source text?

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • read and analyse comic adaptations of literary sources
  • cultivate a literary appreciation for comics
  • explore various cultural and critical theories concerning the nature and importance of comics
  • examine the interplay between textual and visual elements in comics and graphic novels
  • investigate the role of comics in relation to other forms of media and literary modes

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate the capacity to produce informed and independent critical analyses of relevant text
  • exhibit familiarity with a variety of theoretical approaches to the comics covered in the module, with a focus on formal analysis and adaptation theories
  • display proficiency in interdisciplinary thinking and writing
  • showcase an understanding of key cultural, historical, and critical debates concerning the texts and theories explored

Assignments / assessment

  • close analysis exercise - 1,500 words (40%)
  • research essay - 4,000 words (60%)

This module does not have a final exam.

Teaching methods / timetable

This module is delivered via:

  • lectures (weekly, 1 hour)
  • seminars (weekly, 2 hours)

You are expected to be prepared for the lectures and seminars. Resources are uploaded on My Dundee for asynchronous learning.

The themes explored, and the texts adapted into comics that will be examined are as follows:

Week Theme
1 Introduction - Comics and Literature
2 Satire - Gulliver’s Travels (Swift)
3 Science Fiction - Frankenstein (Shelley)
4 Theatre and Performance - Salome (Wilde)
5 Gothic Transformations - Jekyll and Hyde (Stevenson)
6 NA (reading week)
7 Empire and Oppression - Heart of Darkness (Conrad)
8 Alienation - Metamorphosis (Kafka)
9 Invasion - War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells)
10 Cosmic Horror - The Call of Cthulhu (Lovecraft)
11 Space and Time - City of Glass (Auster)
12 Revision



This module is available on following courses: