Rodolphe Töpffer & the Word/Image Problem
Saturday, March 8, 2008
from 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
The Illustration Department, Parsons The New School for Design
Liberal Studies, The New School for Social Research
host a symposium in celebration of the first English-language translation
of the complete picture-story works of Rodolphe Töpffer by David Kunzle.
Rodolphe Töpffer (1799-1846) draftsman, writer and educator from Geneva, is recognized as the inventor of the modern comic-strip or picture-story. Töpffer initially feared that the publication of these picture-stories would damage his reputation as an educator (the mixing of words and images was seen as a frivolous endeavor). The books were eventually published, translated, pirated, and widely distributed, thus triggering the European and American culture of the comic strip. In 1845, a pirated edition of Töpffer's Histoire de M. Vieux Bois was the first comic-strip book published in America. A hundred and sixty years later, the separation of word and image persists in the academy. The symposium examines the traditions of the picture-story, picture-recitations, concrete vs. mental images, the materiality of symbols, illustration, and nonverbal communication.
Participants: Peter Blegvad, Anne-Marie Bouché, Noah Isenberg, Ben Katchor, David Kunzle, Victor H. Mair, Patricia Mainardi, James Miller, Aimée Brown Price and others.
The New School
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
New York, NY
Admission: Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served
Rodolphe Töpffer: The complete original manuscript version of his very first picture-story, drawn in 1827 under the title Histoire de Mr. Vieux Bois.
Father of the Comic Strip: Rodolphe Topffer by David Kunzle