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Posts under tag: Rhetoric

January 30, 2017

Moore on the invention of graphic rhetoric

Associate Professor of French Fabienne Moore was awarded a 2017 College of Arts Summer Stipend fellowship for the Humanities and Creative Arts to work on a new project, titled “Gustave Doré’s Histoire de la Sainte Russie (1854): The Invention of Graphic Rhetoric or the Artist At War.”

Back in 2012, Moore had received an Oregon Humanity Center Teaching fellowship and a Sherl K. Coleman and Margaret E. Guitteau Teaching Professorship in the Humanities to develop an experimental course in French on War in French Comics. After teaching the course every other year, Moore wanted to contribute to the scholarship on the emergence of comics (bande dessinée) in Europe and study one of its pioneers, Gustave Doré (1832-1883). While Doré is famous for his spectacular illustrations of masterpieces of world literature (Rabelais, Dante, Tasso, Cervantes etc.), his early “comic strips” are hardly known. “I view his Histoire pittoresque, dramatique et caricaturale de la Sainte Russie (1854) as a tour de force of what I call ‘graphic rhetoric.’ Borrowing from Rabelais’s supersized characters and humor, from Jacques Callot’s minute illustrations of war miseries in the XVIIth century, from Töpffer and Cham’s recent innovative comic strips and albums, and from his contemporary Honoré Daumier, a brilliant, twenty-two year-old Doré pioneered a new telling of history to appeal to a broad audience: it caricatured both the form and the substance of traditional historical discourse, and it offered a humorous, subjective interpretation of the enemy Russian Empire, all the while exposing the fundamental absurdity of war—its politics and its violence. With the phrase “graphic rhetoric” I wish to capture Doré’s invention of a large, complex rhetorical system imbricating text and image, in other words a language meant to persuade via a playful exchange between figures of speech and visual figures: metaphors, comparisons, hyperboles, synecdoques, ellipses, etc., are translated into images where from figurative they often become literal.”

Moore will conduct her research in Paris and in The Doré collection of the Bibliothèque des Musées in Strasbourg, which houses all of the original editions of Doré’s works, as well as hundreds of engravings of XVIIth century artist Jacques Callot, one of Doré’s source of inspiration. She will present her work this fall at the “Bibliography Among the Disciplines” conference in Philadelphia, PA in a panel on “Graphic Representation.”



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