Drawing (non)tradition: matriarchs, motherhood and the presentation of sacred text in "The Book of Genesis, Illustrated by R. Crumb"

Domoney-Lyttle, Zanne (2018) Drawing (non)tradition: matriarchs, motherhood and the presentation of sacred text in "The Book of Genesis, Illustrated by R. Crumb". PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3314003

Abstract

In 2009, Robert Crumb produced a singular work, The Book of Genesis, Illustrated by R. Crumb, which purports to be a faithful, graphical interpretation of the book of Genesis from the Hebrew Bible. Among other sources, Crumb states that he used Robert Alter’s translation and commentary on Genesis to inform his work, along with the King James Version (KJV), the Jewish Publication Society Version (JPS) and Sarah the Priestess: The First Matriarch of Genesis by Savina J. Teubal; from those, he produced his own interpretation together with annotations to explain his interpretive decisions.
Remediating ancient, biblical text into modern, graphical comic books affects the reception of the text in a myriad of ways. The aim of this thesis is firstly to investigate how Crumb’s use of comics tools and resources impact his remediation of Genesis, by discussing his visual and textual decisions. This wider question is focused into three case studies, which are each based in the narratives of the matriarchs of Genesis and the theme of motherhood. The second aim of this thesis is to discuss the presentation of the matriarchs in Genesis, Illustrated as pro-feminist, strong, dominant characters within the narrative. This is a characterisation which subverts traditional readings of the women of Genesis, as well as expectations of Crumb as an author. Accusations of misogyny and sexism have followed Crumb throughout his career, which are challenged when the reader is presented with his pro-feminist matriarchal remediation of the biblical text.
By presenting a focused analysis of the theme of motherhood within Genesis, Illustrated, wider issues concerning popular-cultural remediations of the Bible in general begin to surface, including matters concerning reception in biblical comics, the space between art and literature inhabited by biblical comics, and issues of translation and interpretation within contemporary remediations. Genesis, Illustrated shows the importance of graphical remediations in exploring the boundary crossings between ancient script and modern, popular culture, regenerating and re-presenting the text for the modern reader.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Bible, comic books, graphic novels, reception history, R. Crumb, Genesis, pro-feminism, feminism, matriarchs, motherhood, sacred text, remediations.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies
College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Comparative Literature
Funder's Name: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Supervisor's Name: Grove, Professor Lawrence and Nicholson, Dr. Sarah
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Dr Zanne Domoney-Lyttle
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-9098
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2018 11:41
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2018 07:43
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/9098

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