Gaps in Narrative Media. Literature and the Graphic Novel
The aim of the project is to generate a theory of gaps in narrative media. According to phenomenological reader-response theory, narratives are by nature riddled with empty spaces, or gaps, which the reader has to fill in to create meaning based on what is read or seen (Iser  1974). Also for graphic novels there is a need for imagining what happens in the empty spaces in and between the panels (Groensteen 2007). Currently, international research is paying attention to how different media experiment with absence rather than presence in text and sound (Wolf 2016). This project focuses on text and image, and their correlation. Thus, it adopts an interdisciplinary approach and aims to explore gaps in literature and graphic novels by identifying different types of textual and visual gaps and defining their functions and their effects in the reading process. The result of the study is expected to have significance for theories of aesthetics as well as the teaching of verbal and visual literacy, important in the current media situation (statensmedierad.se). To investigate gaps, three works available as written narratives as well as graphic novels, will be analyzed and compared: Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll/Leah Moore & John Reppion), Inferno (August Strindberg/Fabian Göransson) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson/ Denise Mina, Andrea Mutti & Leonardo Manco). The method is based on the assumption that both these media demand the reader’s active participation because of their different kinds of indeterminacy. Understanding one of the media helps in constructing knowledge about the other.
This project is conducted by KuFo scholars Karin Aspenberg and Margareta Wallin Wictorin.