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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how the cognitive process of forgetting, that is, the absence of memory, is understood in contemporary culture. Scholars of comics studies, multimodality, and narrative theory have often studied the archival functions of comics and the representation of memory in literature across media. This chapter, however, analyzes the ways in which forgetting is constructed at the interface of image and text in James Sie’s novel Still Life Las Vegas (illustrated by Sungyoon Choi) and how this text, a hybrid between comics and the multimodal novel, presents the impossibility of memory retrieval. In so doing, Sie develops a model of forgetting that locates interference and artifice rather than involuntary decay over time as the cause for oblivion. However, by presenting narration itself as a mode of interference and distortion, the novel also suggests that any act of threading memories will contribute to forgetting but that this forgetting is a generative process.

Keywords: comic books, cognition, memory, forgetting, oblivion, archive, James Sie, multimodality

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