Current Graphic Novel Adaptations of Literary Works: A Corpus-Based Analysis

Nicolangelo Becce


Over the last few years, a growing number of graphic adaptations of literary works have been published, and they seem to differ from comic book adaptations like the Classics Illustrated series or the more recently published Saddleback, Campfire, and Classical Comics in their not being specifically targeted to younger readers as simplified versions of the literary works they derive from (see Tabachnick and Saltzman 2015; see also Pizzino 2016, for a current analysis of the “status problem” of contemporary comics). Recent graphic literary works such as Hyman’s authorized adaptation of Jackson’s “The Lottery” (2016), Duffy and Jennings’ adaptation of Butler’s Kindred (2017), and Hamilton’s authorized adaptation of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (2009), offer a unique opportunity to reflect upon how the textual component changes according to the two different media. Through the creation of a corpus made by a selected number of recent graphic novel adaptations and their literary counterparts, this paper aims at understanding the interactions and negotiations in the adaptation process from literature to comics in terms of lexical selection and semantic analysis by using corpus linguistics software such as AntWordProfiler (Anthony 2018) and Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC; Pennebaker et al. 2015).


multimodality; corpus linguistics; graphic novels; adaptation

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