Dressing Eve and other reparative acts in women’s autobiographical comics

Lightman, Sarah (2019) Dressing Eve and other reparative acts in women’s autobiographical comics. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.


“Dressing Eve and Other Reparative Acts in Women’s Autobiographical Comics” asks why Jewish and Christian women comics artists incorporate biblical narratives and images in their autobiographical works. How do these comics artists highlight and challenge androcentric biblical references, narratives and images, and can these comics be considered feminist reparative acts, as they critique patriarchal religion? My hypothesis is that Sharon Rudahl’s four-page comic “The Star Sapphire”, Miriam Katin’s graphic novel We Are On Our Own, Bobby Baker’s diary drawings and pre-diary drawings, and my own graphic novel The Book of Sarah participate in the process of transforming biblical narratives and images into feminist responses. These artists highlight the androcentric ideology at work in biblical texts, and challenge the representation of the female body and women’s roles within the narratives. J. Cheryl Exum asks in Plotted, Shot, and Painted: Cultural Representations of Biblical Women, “Can women ever win, either in the biblical text or in its literary, musical or artistic afterlife?” (2012:14). Rudahl dresses Eve, Baker undresses the Virgin Mary, Katin distresses Queen Esther and I re-address the Matriarch Sarah to ensure that women in the Bible do, indeed, win in their biblical visual/verbal afterlives.
“Dressing Eve” is an extension of the feminist project that celebrates the personal within the academic, and I adopt a direct and personal tone of writing as well as focus in my fourth chapter on my own graphic novel in progress. The methodology for my thesis is innovative as I frequently apply fine art examples and feminist art historical analysis in my study of autobiographical comics. I have coined the phrase “art-com-text” to describe my unique theoretical methodology: constructing relationships between significant images within comics in a wider visual cultural context, and making associations with other salient and relevant examples in fine art history. I also interviewed Rudahl, Katin and Baker, as well as other women artists and comics artists: Helène Aylon, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Julie Held and Joanne Leonard.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Professor Christine Ferguson was supervisor from 2009-2015. Due to copyright issues the full text of this thesis is not available. Access to the print copy is available once the embargo period expires.
Keywords: graphic novel, comics, autobiography, Jewish studies, feminism, memoir, feminist theology.
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > French
Supervisor's Name: Grove, Professor Billy and Spiro, Dr, Mia
Date of Award: 2019
Embargo Date: 6 June 2022
Depositing User: Dr Sarah Lightman
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-73042
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2019 07:43
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 21:52
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.73042
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/73042

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