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Sankar, Nandini Ramesh and Deepsikha Changmai. "Word, image, and alienated literacies in the graphic novels of Orijit Sen." Word & Image 35.(2019): 112–25. 
Added by: joachim (6/21/19, 8:06 PM)   Last edited by: joachim (6/22/19, 7:42 PM)
Resource type: Journal Article
Language: en: English
Peer reviewed
DOI: 10.1080/02666286.2018.1547609
BibTeX citation key: Sankar2019
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Categories: General
Keywords: "Hair Burns Like Grass", "The River of Stories", India, Politics, Sen. Orijit
Creators: Changmai, Sankar
Collection: Word & Image
Views: 2/498
The Indian graphic novel’s investment in the written word makes it a politically and socially ambiguous representational enterprise. The continued prevalence of illiteracy in India, especially among members of disadvantaged social groups, restricts access to the written word. The visual arts, on the other hand, are generally perceived as much more accessible. This asymmetry of access and its social implications, we suggest, are particularly relevant to the work of Orijit Sen (1963–), who is the first Indian graphic novelist to incorporate in his works journalistic reportage, social commentary and a concern for history. Through close readings of two of his works—The River of Stories and “Hair Burns Like Grass”—we explore the ways in which the thematization of speech-based cultures puts significant pressure on the alliance of word and image in the graphic novel form. The River of Stories, which is based on the debates around a government acquisition of ancestral tribal lands, represents an indigenous oral culture in conflict with a hybrid Indian modernity. In “Hair Burns Like Grass,” Sen again accesses a space governed by speech rather than writing, this time through the work of the poet-saint Kabir. Here, as in the earlier text, the graphic novel must renegotiate its investment in the written word: this leads to highly-wrought, if ultimately ironic, fantasies of the image overcoming script.
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