Thursday, 21 November 2013

Define Hybrid Novels

I've been having trouble defining hybrid novels so I'll post some stream of consciousness here.

Basically I got the term "hybrid novel" while searching for The Invention Hugo Caberet by Brian Selznick and trying to find what genre it belonged to, since it wasn't a comic book as such but it wasn't an illustrated novel either because you couldn't just take out the images and still have it make sense. Graphic novel is how it is most often described but graphic novel has a fairly wide range of definitions, the genre encompasses comic books, sequential images without words and in some cases picture books. I played with the idea of defining it as "Unconventional Graphic Novels" but there are a lot of graphic novels that are unconventional and not all of them are a combination of prose and image, like I want. I found the term Hybrid novel from Zoe Sadokierski in her thesis Visual writing : a critique of graphic devices in hybrid novels from a visual communication design perpsective. She defines Hybrid novels thus: 
"Novels in which graphic devices like photographs, drawings and experimental typography are integrated into the written text. Within hybrid novels, word and image combine to create a text that is neither purely written, nor purely visual."
Which is exactly the description I'm looking for but apparently the books I have chosen lie on the fringe of the hybrid novel novel genre because they are also childrens/young adults books and can be defined as picture books. She does say that there are plenty of grey areas and its up to the readers discretion in these cases. 
Another concern I have is that The Savage fits more into the realm of post-modern picture book than hybrid novel. Certainly, if it had been a novel for adults it could easily fit into the hybrid novel category but as its for young adults it could go either way.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    I happened across your blog when I was doing a search for "hybrid novels" - I'm looking at them for my PhD in Children's Literature and 'The Savage' is one of my primary texts. I'm particularly interested in the kind of spaces this combination of image and text opens up for creative and critical responses within the classroom. What I'm finding is that they seem to be particularly open to hypothetical thinking/questioning.

    I've written a piece on My Name is Mina and I'm finding scholarship on adult hybrid novel/experimental multimodal literature useful to help me think through why these kinds of texts are particularly popular in the last 15 years or so.

    Are you still exploring the subject?

    I went to a great lecture at the Ashmolean called 'Reading in the Spirit of Blake' that could relevant (delivered by Saree Makdisi).