Simon Grennan

Simon Grennan
University of Chester | UC · Art and Design

PhD

About

87
Publications
3,290
Reads
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55
Citations
Introduction
Dr Simon Grennan is an awarded scholar of visual narrative and graphic novelist. He is author of Thinking Through Drawing (Bloomsbury 2022), A Theory of Narrative Drawing (Palgrave 2017), Drawing in Drag by Marie Duval (Book Works 2018) and Dispossession (Cape, 2015). He is co-author and editor of Key Terms in Comics Studies (Palgrave 2022) and co-author of Marie Duval, Maverick Victorian cartoonist (MUP 2020), Marie Duval (Myriad 2018) and The Marie Duval Archive (www.marieduval.org).
Additional affiliations
February 2012 - present
University of Chester
Position
  • Research Fellow in Fine Art
Description
  • I am a scholar of visual narratology, author of 'A Theory of Narrative Drawing,’ creator of 'Dispossession,' and, since 1990, half of international artists team Grennan & Sperandio, producer of over forty comics and books (www.kartoonkings.com).
Education
October 2008 - October 2011
University of the Arts London
Field of study
  • Visual narratology

Publications

Publications (87)
Book
This book offers an original new conception of visual story telling, proposing that drawing, depictive drawing and narrative drawing are produced in an encompassing dialogic system of embodied social behavior. It refigures the existing descriptions of visual story-telling that pause with theorizations of perception and the articulation of form. The...
Book
Full-text available
"Inspired by Anthony Trollope’s 1879 novel John Caldigate, Dispossession embeds the reader in a uniquely wrought experience of the mid-nineteenth century, including the first ever appearance of the Aboriginal Wiradjuri language in a graphic novel. Taking unique advantage of the graphic form to conjure the material world of the Victorian era in a gl...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The archive consists of newly commissioned high-resolution scans of the extant work of Marie Duval (1847 – 1890?) that can be zoomed. The scope of the Search, List and Browse functions offered by the site is outlined on the Search page, along with a Search rationale and rationales for the inclusion or exclusion from the archive of unsigned work and...
Book
Full-text available
This volume is a cross-disciplinary collection of essays in the fields of nineteenth-century history, adaptation, word/image and Victorianism. Featuring new writing by some of the most influential, respected and radical scholars in these fields, Transforming Anthony Trollope constitutes both a close companion to Simon Grennan’s 2015 graphic novel D...
Book
Full-text available
This accessible book explains the significance of relationships between the body and the mark, visual imitation, drawing and writing and visual storytelling, providing a simple guide to these key ideas. For millennia drawing has been conceived as an exploratory activity, mediating between the vision of the drafter and what they are drawing. Drawing...
Book
Full-text available
Key Terms in Comics Studies is a glossary of over 300 terms and critical concepts currently used in the Anglophone academic study of comics, including those from other languages that are currently adopted and used in English. Written by nearly 100 international and contemporary experts from the field, the entries are succinctly defined, exemplified...
Book
Full-text available
Key Terms in Comics Studies is a glossary of over 300 terms and critical concepts currently used in the Anglophone academic study of comics, including those from other languages that are currently adopted and used in English. Written by nearly 100 international and contemporary experts from the field, the entries are succinctly defined, exemplified...
Chapter
Over the last 25 years, the field of comics studies has become firmly established in Anglophone academia. The number of comics-specific book series, journals, and conferences has steadily increased, and the field continues to gain ground in universities through comics courses and degree programmes at the bachelors and masters levels. While this bod...
Chapter
The original version of this chapter has been revised and an updated bibliography has been incorporated in the chapter.
Chapter
This chapter will examine ways in which my production of the 2018 comics album Drawing in Drag by Marie Duval (Grennan 2018) attempted to discover, examine and articulate a concept of the gendered subject, through the revival and performance of drawing activities that visually ventriloquised nineteenth-century cartoonist and actress Marie Duval (18...
Book
Full-text available
Marie Duval: Maverick Victorian Cartoonist offers the first critical appraisal of the work of Marie Duval (Isabella Tessier, UK, 1847–90), one of the most unusual, pioneering and visionary cartoonists of the nineteenth century. Duval's cartoons, strips and illustrations revolutionised print comedy. Her London characters became a mainstay of Judy m...
Chapter
This chapter argues that the power of comics resides in the historic appearance and modulation of the affective possibilities of the comic strip register. On this basis, it explores how this power is realized in popular visual literature, which derives from, develops and transforms the historic contingencies of reading. Analysing examples in the wo...
Book
Full-text available
I Know How This Ends is the second volume in a series that started with Parables of Care: Creative Responses to Dementia Care (2017). The project explores the potential of comics to enhance the impact of dementia care research. This comic book presents, in synthesised form, stories crafted from narrative data collected via interviews with professio...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Drawing, as activity and material, remains under-theorised in comics scholarship. Conceptions of the functions and identities of drawing are few, as aspects of encompassing explanations of the experience of making and reading comics. There is no tradition of comics scholarship devoted to drawing and no schools of thought describing current consensu...
Conference Paper
‘A Theory of Narrative Drawing’, published in 2017, aims to explain experiences of making and viewing drawings that show stories. The measure by which I decided to include or exclude any topic or method in achieving this aim, was simply its saliency in helping me to achieve an explanation. A theory explains salient features by identifying, describi...
Conference Paper
This paper considers a range of ways in which comic strips and drawings published by cartoonist and stage performer Marie Duval (Isabelle Émilie de Tessier 1847–1890) in the weekly Judy, or the London serio-comic journal, in the 1870s and 1880s, visualised ideas of European leisure travel, for working class Britons. The pan-European infrastructure...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The multiverses of superhero comics, developed in part as pragmatic, post-hoc responses to inconsistencies and contradictions in the production of related stories by many authors over many years, now provide an “ontological given” (Kukkonin 2010: 39). This ontology is sometimes claimed to contradict, if not destabilise, theories of fiction that ins...
Conference Paper
This paper considers ways in which a range of visualisations of ‘women of business’ were informed by debates about the gendered body and sexuality, spectacle and spectatorship, domesticity, leisure and work, in the journals and literature of the later nineteenth century. It examines aspects of the life and work of London cartoonist and stage perfor...
Conference Paper
This paper will interrogate the transnational relationships between traditions of manga, the graphic novel and a range of commodity registers, according to a list of key discursive characteristics. It will focus on a number of case studies that exemplify some foundational activities for the genres beween1980 and 2000. As a prelude, the paper will c...
Article
Full-text available
Discussions of the conception of that exemplar of the late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth century urban modernity, the flâneur, have focused on both critique of the figure’s masculinity and more radical and nuanced conceptions of women’s flânerie. This article considers both the re-gendering and ungendering of flânerie in the character of t...
Book
The short comic book includes 14 informative and touching stories, drawn by Simon Grennan, which were adapted by more than 100 case studies of real-life dementia care situations described by a range of carers. These case studies in which the comic book is based are available at http://carenshare.city.ac.uk/
Book
Full-text available
In the collection at Chetham’s Library, Manchester, is an illustrated novel, published in 1877.Titled The Story of a Honeymoon, the novel was written and illustrated by Charles H. Ross and Ambrose Clarke. It is a comic novel, cheaply produced, telling a titillating and amusing story of a marriage that goes fatally awry on the couple’s honeymoon. Th...
Chapter
This section describes the creation and publishing of The Marie Duval Archive, a free online image archive which brings together the known extant work of pioneering London cartoonist and theater actress Marie Duval (1847–1890). It shows how analysis of the current canon of nineteenth-century comic strips influenced both the purpose and the form of...
Conference Paper
This paper considers a range of ways in which comic strips and drawings published by Marie Duval (1847–1890) in the weekly Judy, or the London Serio-Comic Journal parodied the business of mounting the Royal Academy of Arts’ annual Summer Exhibition, the exhibiting artists, visitors and artworks on display. The Summer Exhibition, instituted in 1769,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Marie Duval (Isabella Emilie Tessier [1847–1890]), was one of the most unusual, pioneering and visionary cartoonists of the later nineteenth century. Duval’s work appeared in serial magazines and books, at a time––the 1860s and 70s––when the professional identity of visual journalists, cartoonists and illustrators was in radical flux, for both men...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Affect has been described as a change from one phenomenal experience to another, invariably incorporating a degree of inhibition or facilitation of the capacities of the body. Affect is prenoetic, and consequently inhibits and facilitates noetic behavior (Damasio 1994/201-22). It constitutes a dynamic and comparative encounter. In every instance, t...
Conference Paper
Self-observation is the capacity to scrutinise and constrain subjectivity by adopting a socially agreed point of view, in the production of representations (Crossley 1996/10 and 03). In this sense, society is the consensus represented by constrained forms of expression (as ‘generalised others’ as Mead puts it [Mead 1967]), in a system of relationsh...
Book
Full-text available
An introduction and analysis of the work of Victorian cartoonist and actress Marie Duval, for a general audience.
Article
Full-text available
Chris Ware’s Building Stories (2012) is a box containing fourteen items that can be read in any order, and for this reason it appears to offer its readers a great deal of choice over the narrative structure of the work. This paper contrasts Building Stories with the video games Fallout: New Vegas and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to demonstrate that...
Book
Full-text available
'Parables of Care' is a 16-page micro-comic that presents true stories of creative responses to dementia care, as told by carers, adapted from case studies at http://carenshare.city.ac.uk
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper discusses Neil Cohn’s application of the role of structures of cognitive language systems to types of visual representations other than writing. He writes that he has “introduced a new notion of ‘permeability” or a new conception of the influence of one modality upon another (2013). The term permeability also describes his general projec...
Conference Paper
This presentation reports on work in progress by Ernesto Priego at City University of London, Peter Wilkins at Douglas College, and Simon Grennan at The University of Chester to develop two short comic book manuals of best practices for dementia care in the UK and Canada. This project collects information in focus groups from caregivers from across...
Conference Paper
Discussions of the conception of that exemplar of urban modernity, the ‘flâneur,’ of the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, have focused on both critique of the figure’s masculinity (Wolff 2000) and upon more radical and nuanced conceptions of women’s ‘flâneurie.’ (Parsons 2000). This paper considers the gendering of flâneur...
Chapter
Grennan provides a balanced summary of existing theories and methods in the study of storytelling, providing a new explanation of the structure of story and discourse, according to established descriptions of intersubjectivity. He explicitly encompasses his explanation of the experience of drawing, visual depiction and imagination (made in Chapter...
Chapter
Grennan provides a new explanation of the experience of drawing, visual depiction and imagination, creating a systematic theoretical framework describing the relationship between causes and consequences, the general potential resources of the body, institutions and ideas. He provides a needed explanation of the key distinction between correspondenc...
Chapter
Grennan presents the second of two practical visual demonstrations of his theory of narrative drawing. These are highly original, due to the well-crafted methodological and theoretical framing of both the analysis and the personal application of the exercise by the author. Grennan frames this second demonstration with a detailed discussion of the p...
Chapter
Grennan presents the first of two practical visual demonstrations of his theory of narrative drawing. These are highly original, due to the well-crafted methodological and theoretical framing of both the analysis and the personal application of the exercise by the author. This first visual demonstration is framed by a detailed examination of existi...
Chapter
Considering pages from Andrei Molotiu’s abstract comic Nautilus, of 2009 and pages by Carlos Nine from his bande dessinée Saubón le petit canard, also of 2009, this chapter will describe in detail how the functions of depiction rely upon tendentiousness or self-fulfillment: comprehension embodied in types of recognition and mis-recognition of ideas...
Article
Full-text available
This paper will consider some of the relationships between subjects, social institutions, media and ideas that characterise differences between the environments in which both comics and fine art are produced, used and become comprehensible. It will outline a specific theoretical framework encompassing these differences, describing the discursive c...
Conference Paper
In reviews of Chris Ware’s Building Stories, critics regularly draw attention to the board-game like design of the comic’s box and elements of the text within. Yet while many have noted the similarities between Building Stories and the visual/physical design of board games such as Monopoly, and Ware himself has cited ‘French "Jeux Reunis" game sets...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Gilles Deleuze describes how the painter Francis Bacon used the word “graph” to describe his conception of the function of marks made by the body – that of clearing away existing ideas of image, representation, depiction and function. In this conception, the mark is a phenomenal impression that is not itself a trace of either an immanent mind or an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Considering pages from Andrei Molotiu’s abstract comic Nautilus, of 2009 and pages by Carlos Nine from his bande dessinée Saubón le petit canard, also of 2009, this paper will describe in detail how the functions of depiction rely upon tendentiousness or self-fulfillment: comprehension embodied in types of recognition and mis-recognition of ideas....
Conference Paper
This paper will discuss my adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s John Caldigate (1878-79) as a new graphic novel, Dispossession and its French edition Courir deux lièvres. Trollope’s writing style formalises his approach to plot, succinctly tying style to genre. In the plot of John Caldigate, the narrator both consistently avoids making definitive state...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper will discuss my adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s John Caldigate (1878-79) as a new graphic novel, Dispossession and its French edition Courir deux lièvres. Trollope’s writing style formalises his approach to plot, succinctly tying style to genre. In the plot of John Caldigate, the narrator both consistently avoids making definitive state...
Chapter
Full-text available
"Grennan looks forward, underlining key changes in the graphic novel, which in the twenty-first century is seeing transformation in terms of reception – becoming an accepted artistic form worthy of scholarly editions and study in academia – but also format, as technology allows for experimentation, for example via high-resolution reproduction in a...
Conference Paper
This paper will consider some of the relationships between subjects, social institutions, media and ideas that characterise differences between the environments in which both comics and fine art are produced, used and become comprehensible. It will outline a specific theoretical framework encompassing these differences, describing the discursive c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Phillipe Marion uses the neologism ‘mediagenius’ to describe the way in which stories specify themselves though the systematic, discursive relationships that constitute communications registers, by means of what Jan Baetens calls ‘style’, ‘storytelling’ and ‘medium’ (2001). In Marion’s sense, comic strips have a specific mediagenius that is quite d...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper will present and theorise aspects of the facture and iconography of the work of pioneering female cartoonist Marie Duval, in relation to conceptions and representations of women’s dress in London in the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s. Duval’s work appeared in a variety of the cheap British penny papers and comics of the 1860s-1880s. An actress a...
Article
There is still no agreed pedagogic definition of practice-based research. However, there is not a dearth of definitions, but rather a wide variety, predicated upon the developing programmes of individual places of study. This article will examine these definitions in terms of underlying concepts of intentionality and alterity and the ways in which...
Conference Paper
This paper will discuss my forthcoming adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s John Caldigate (1878) as a new graphic novel, Dispossession. Produced in the context of an academic conference on Trollope in 2015, the new graphic novel functions as a research outcome in the sense that its academic audience is a ‘knowing one’, to use Linda Hutcheon’s term (Hu...
Conference Paper
This paper will present and theorise aspects of the facture and iconography of the work of pioneering female cartoonist Marie Duval, in relation to conceptions and representations of women’s dress in London in the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s. Duval’s work appeared in a variety of the cheap British penny papers and comics of the 1860s-1880s. An actress a...
Book
Full-text available
Avec cette brillante adaptation de Trollope, le plus célèbre des écrivains réalistes de l’âge victorien, Simon Grennan propose un passionnant récit d’aventures, tout en reconstituant de manière très authentique la culture de l’époque.
Chapter
Full-text available
The method of analysis of communications registers outlined by linguists Douglas Biber and Susan Conrad (2009), begins with the identification of what they term the ‘situational characteristics’ of a register. These characteristics are as much social as material. They claim that before a register can be identified or expressive content considered,...
Conference Paper
In the United Kingdom, practice-based research has been the subject of pedagogic debate for over a quarter of a century, in particular in the context of both the study methods and the adjudication of higher research degrees. However, there is still no agreed pedagogic definition of practice-based research in the visual and performing arts in Britai...
Article
Dispossession (2015) is a 96-page colour graphic adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s 1879 novel John Caldigate. It is the primary outcome of a 2012 commission from the University of Leuven to develop, draw and rationalise a new graphic novel relative to Trollope’s (Fig. 1). Dispossession will be published in an English edition and as Courir deux lièvr...
Conference Paper
In reviews of Chris Ware’s Building Stories, critics regularly draw attention to the board-game like design of the comic’s box and elements of the text within. Yet while many have noted the similarities between Building Stories and the visual/physical design of board games such as Monopoly, and Ware himself has cited ‘French "Jeux Reunis" game sets...
Conference Paper
Dispossession (2015) is a 96 page colour graphic adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s 1879 novel John Caldigate that I was commissioned by the University of Leuven in 2012, to develop, draw and rationalise. Dispossession will be published in an English edition, and as Courir deux lièvres (To run two hares) in a French edition, in support of a 2015 acad...
Conference Paper
In reviews of Chris Ware’s Building Stories, critics regularly draw attention to the board-game like design of the comic’s box and elements of the text within. Yet while many have noted the similarities between Building Stories and the visual/physical design of board games such as Monopoly, and Ware himself has cited ‘French "Jeux Reunis" game sets...
Conference Paper
Both Jo Sutliff Sanders, Sophie Van der Linden and Natalie Op de Beek independently generalise the formal distinctions between comics and picture books in similar ways, arguing that, despite exceptions, “comics tend to use multiple panels per page, with closure between them; picture books tend to use full-page or double-page images, with closure co...
Chapter
Full-text available
Erving Goffman considers that any absolute ontology of the subject is ramified by social participation in the form of performance (Gofffman 1959). Being is itself produced as affect, in habitual actions that embody the subject relative to other subjects in specific social contexts. Rather than residing in the play of a private consciousness and sel...
Conference Paper
Karen Parner claims that “…the very definition of narrative is dependent on temporality.” (Parner 2001), referring to the ways in which narrative expressions are structured, rather than the arrangement of plots. Focussing on the temporal structure of narrative, this paper will scrutinise the relationships between depiction, drawing and time, discus...
Article
The method of analysis of communications registers outlined by linguists Douglas Biber and Susan Conrad, begins with the identification of what they call the ‘situational characteristics’ of a register. These characteristics are as much social as material. They claim that before a register can be identified or expressive content considered, the ana...
Conference Paper
Michael Podro titles the function of depictive drawing the ‘synoptic view’ (Podro 1998), in which recognition of content relies on adjudicating the particular properties of graphic marks in relation to the world they depict. This function provides “...our sense of the subject emerging...” (ibid, 13), taking place “...within a framework of other rec...
Conference Paper
Utilising examples from the work of Debbie Dreschler (2008), Frank Miller (2005) and Joe Sacco (2001), this paper will examine the ways in which intentionality and alterity describe a divided subject, as revealed in the production and reception of narrative drawing and theory. As Patricia Hempel (1989) has neatly observed, “The story also has a sto...
Article
There has been a trend in comics narratology to focus on the analysis of structures or systems of enunciation, or what Émile Benveniste terms histoire or 'what is told'. Instead, this article will approach comics narratology as the relationship between histoire and discours: between 'what is told' and 'telling to' after first outlining a summary of...
Conference Paper
There has been a trend in comics narratology to focus on the analysis of structures or systems of enunciation, or what Émile Benveniste terms histoire or ‘what is told’ (1971). Instead, this paper will approach comics narratology as the relationship between histoire and discours: between ‘what is told’ and ‘telling’. Following Barker (1989), it wil...
Conference Paper
Utilising examples from the work of Debbie Dreschler (2008), Frank Miller (2005) and Joe Sacco (2001), this paper will outline and examine the ways in which modes of intentionality and alterity can be problematised as a basis for describing the divided subject, as revealed in the production and reception of comics and comics theory. ‘The story,’ as...
Conference Paper
Formal analysis of object qualities approaches reading as an activity structured in a disembodied temporal frame of it’s own, where no subjective relationships are represented by the story, the narrator or the reader. As embodied time takes no part in these theorist’s descriptions of structure, the causal relationships that they discover are derive...
Conference Paper
My aim in this paper is to make use of one of the ideas from theories of appropriation to approach the displacement of the subject in describing my experience of reading comic albums. I particularly want to look at time as an aspect of this displacement in reading relationships. To do this, I will briefly discuss art-historical approaches to readin...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Early Career researcher Dr Simon Grennan, with established scholars Dr Roger Sabin and Dr Julian Waite, will undertake and disseminate new research that will bring to public attention and deliver a rigorous academic context for understanding the re-invention of the English comic strip by Marie Duval in London, between1869-85. They will produce an international Touring Exhibition, an open-access Online Database, an Academic Publication and 3 Journal Papers, in partnership with The Guildhall Library, Tate Britain and Illustrative Festival, Berlin. The production of 19th century English comics in humour periodicals was an exclusively male activity, with one exception. Marie Duval was a popular stage actress whose husband, Charles Ross, edited Judy, a satirical London periodical. Between 1869-1885, Duval drew over 100 comic strip pages for Judy that radically developed a character created by Ross named Ally Sloper, a work-shy ne’er-do-well Londoner. Duval’s access to the publishing business allowed her to pioneer the development of a drawn story-world through regular serialisation, creating new reader expectations of both form and content, so that readers used her strips in a new way. She also acted in popular plays, famously subverting gender expectations in the role of ‘leading man’. Duval worked in the genre of melodrama, the dominant theatre practice of the 19th century. Her narrative drawing shows the influence of this practice, in both the form of the strips and the mechanisms for reader comprehension. The Sloper strips utilise depictive techniques that contradict those of a trained illustrator. She had no training, and the visible speed and vigour of facture of Duval’s drawings became another comedic device, communicating the exciting, disposable and even daring character of Sloper’s world of physical comedy. As a result of the depictive techniques that she employed and the milieu in which they were read, the world that her strips create is unlike any other English drawn narrative in the 19th century. Duval recreated the comics medium in English on the basis of the new ways that readers made use of them. There have been no attempts to study or present Duval’s activity as a draughtswoman/female actor in the male environment of periodical publishing, relative to her development of the new comics medium. Neither has there been any study of the techniques, contexts and reception of 19th century melodrama compared to Duval’s drawings, nor analysis of the range of impacts upon readers of different narrative drawing styles in humour periodicals in this period of new cross-media fertilisation. Our research method will adopt a mixture of empirical and theoretical approaches to knowledge production, looking beyond empirical data to understand social structures, both recognising and departing from theories about underlying structures, seeking to reveal the historical contingency of previously accepted knowledge and practices. Outputs will comprise a) a new open access Online Database (an image catalogue raisonné) of Duval’s Sloper strips hosted by the University of Chester, b) a public Touring Exhibition displayed at Tate Britain and Illustrative Berlin, c) an Academic Publication and d) interim outputs comprising three peer-reviewed Journal Articles in British, French and American journals. Experienced research project leader and established scholar Professor Deborah Wynne will mentor Dr Grennan.