Tag Archives: Jimmy Corrigan

Literary Impressionism and Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (2000) by Paul Williams

Many critics and reviewers have hailed the comics of Chris Ware as a form of modernist cultural practice, with comparisons being made to canonical modernist writers such as James Joyce, Franz Kafka, William Faulkner, Samuel Beckett, John Dos Passos and Gertrude Stein.[1] As Kuhlman and Ball have pointed out (x, xviii), critics have repeatedly identified Ware’s affinities with modernism: his theory of impersonality (Sattler), his use of repetition and interrupted narratives (Goldberg), the themes of alienation and commodity culture in his work (Prager), the interaction between memory and circularity (Bartual) and the presence of a modernistic, melancholic masculinity in the anthologies edited by Ware (Worden, ‘Shameful’; see also Worden, ‘Modernism’s Ruins’). This essay extends the modernist framework that has previously been used to analyse Ware’s work, with a specific focus on the Civil War battle scene in Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (2000).[2] I will relate this scene’s formal features to a group of writers who are sometimes placed under the sign of modernism, albeit as an early outpost: the literary impressionists of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.[3] Tamar Katz summarises as follows:

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Posted by on 2013/10/25 in Guest Writers


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