In this Book

Picturing Identity
summary
In this book, Hertha D. Sweet Wong examines the intersection of writing and visual art in the autobiographical work of twentieth- and twenty-first-century American writers and artists who employ a mix of written and visual forms of self-narration. Combining approaches from autobiography studies and visual studies, Wong argues that, in grappling with the breakdown of stable definitions of identity and unmediated representation, these writers-artists experiment with hybrid autobiography in image and text to break free of inherited visual-verbal regimes and revise painful histories. These works provide an interart focus for examining the possibilities of self-representation and self-narration, the boundaries of life writing, and the relationship between image and text.

Wong considers eight writers-artists, including comic-book author Art Spiegelman; Faith Ringgold, known for her story quilts; and celebrated Indigenous writer Leslie Marmon Silko. Wong shows how her subjects formulate webs of intersubjectivity shaped by historical trauma, geography, race, and gender as they envision new possibilities of selfhood and fresh modes of self-narration in word and image.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-v
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vi-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-16
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  1. Literature-Based Image-and-Text Forms
  1. Peter Najarian’s Illustrated Memoirs: “‘The Terror of Our History’ and a Love That May Redeem It”
  2. pp. 19-58
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  1. Leslie Marmon Silko’s Photo-Narratives: “A Story Connected with Every Place, Every Object in the Landscape”
  2. pp. 59-82
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  1. Art Spiegelman’s Graphic Memoir, Maus: “One Is Left with What Remains, the Ruins That Are Sifted Over Endlessly”
  2. pp. 83-112
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  1. Hinge Image-and-Text Forms
  1. Julie Chen’s Artists’ Books: “The Constant Search for Meaning in the Chattering of Time”
  2. pp. 115-143
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  1. Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée: “A Series of Metaphors for the Return”
  2. pp. 144-168
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  1. Art-Based Image-and-Text Forms
  1. Carrie Mae Weems’s Photo-(Auto)biographies: “Work That Is Essential to Our Cultural Dialogue”
  2. pp. 171-195
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  1. Faith Ringgold’s Story Quilts: “All Things American in America Are about Race”
  2. pp. 196-213
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  1. Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds’s Artwork: “Native Peoples Have Chosen Art as Their Cultural Tool and Weapon”
  2. pp. 214-228
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  1. Coda: Image-Text Interfaces, Material and Digital
  2. pp. 229-232
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 233-246
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 247-258
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 259-265
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