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Wilde, Lukas R. A. and Shane Denson. "Historicizing and Theorizing Pre-Narrative Figures—Who is Uncle Sam?." Narrative 30. (2022): 152–68. 
Added by: joachim (5/28/24, 9:55 AM)   
Resource type: Journal Article
Language: en: English
Peer reviewed
DOI: 10.1353/nar.2022.0008
BibTeX citation key: Wilde2022
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Categories: General
Keywords: Caricature, Character, Intermediality, Randformen des Comics, USA
Creators: Denson, Wilde
Collection: Narrative
Views: 58/75
Tis contribution examines Uncle Sam’s development during the nineteenth century as an interesting case study for transmedial character theory, an increasingly common approach to the study of fctional characters. However, as Scolari, Bertetti, and Freeman have argued, “older forms of transmedia franchises were constructed on character sharing rather than on the logics of a particular world” (17). Characters were and still are in many cases the nodal points and intersections of various processes discussed as media convergence, yet the distinctions between “actual” characters and related terms such as “cultural icons” (Brooker) or “serial fgures” (Denson and Mayer) remain somewhat contested and ofen hard to draw in practice. Tis contribution addresses these issues by investigating the nineteenth-century emergence and transformation of Uncle Sam as a recognizable fgure within political cartoons. Without any overarching creative authority or any consistent “storyworld” to speak of, these cartoons lend themselves to recontextualizations by any artist able to uphold a recognizable iconography. In media-historical terms, political cartoons that did not merely comment upon actually existing public persons but instead developed their own inventory of allegorical fgures are an important link between earlier, more “static” pictorial personifcations of—and symbols for—countries and ideas and the later emergence of serial characters within comic books and other narrative media.
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