Book Cover

Experiencing Visual Storyworlds

Focalization in Comics

Silke Horstkotte and Nancy Pedri

298 pp. 6 x 9
54 illustrations
Pub Date: May, 2022

Subjects: Narrative Studies
Literary Theory
Comics Studies

Series: Theory and Interpretation of Narrative

order Hardcover $99.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-1502-9
Order PDF ebook$49.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-8204-5

“The intellectual move Horstkotte and Pedri make here, from the granular detail of focalization to the abstraction of genre, is a major accomplishment. This is stunning new work, by far the most sophisticated study of graphic narrative I have read.” —Emma Kafalenos, author of Narrative Causalities

“A long time in the making, Experiencing Visual Storyworlds explores a diverse selection of examples in order to offer a highly original perspective on focalization in comics.” —Jan-Nöel Thon, author of Transmedial Narratology and Contemporary Media Culture

Experiencing Visual Storyworlds illuminates how comics express what characters and narrators see, think, and feel. Drawing on the narratological concept of focalization, which describes the filtering of a story through the minds of characters and narrators, Silke Horstkotte and Nancy Pedri analyze comics from a range of genres, including graphic memoir, graphic historiography, silent comics, and metafictional comics. Through a series of close readings—including Jason Lutes’s Berlin, Charles Burns’s Black Hole, Ellen Forney’s Marbles, Eric Drooker’s Flood!, and Craig Thompson’s Habibi—Horstkotte and Pedri argue that the visual form of comics storytelling is uniquely suited to invite readers into storyworld experiences. The authors break down the ways focalization in comics is cued by features such as color, style, panel size and positioning, and genre—showing how these features regulate how readers access the experiences of characters and narrators.

Author Photo

Silke Horstkotte is Professor in German Literature and Degree Coordinator at the Centre for Teacher Training and School Research at the University of Leipzig. 
Photo credit: Picture People, Leipzig

Author Photo

Nancy Pedri is Professor of English at Memorial University of Newfoundland.


List of Illustrations
Preface            Focalization’s Action
Chapter 1        Experiencing Visual Storyworlds: Focalization in Comics
Chapter 2        Focalization, Experience, and What It’s Like
Chapter 3        Graphic Memoir
Chapter 4        Graphic Historiography
Chapter 5        Wordlessness
Chapter 6        Metafictionality
Conclusion      Putting Focalization in Perspective

Related Titles:

Book Cover


Lessons from Radio Drama

Edited by Lars Bernaerts and Jarmila Mildorf

Book Cover

With Bodies

Narrative Theory and Embodied Cognition

Marco Caracciolo and Karin Kukkonen

Book Cover

Between Pen and Pixel

Comics, Materiality, and the Book of the Future

Aaron Kashtan