The convocation of Marjane Satrapi: Ecriture, image, history
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The work of Marjane Satrapi represents a convocation of diverse linguistic, discursive and aesthetic systems which articulates the hybrid and polar, integrative and antagonistic intensities of an emergent world-culture. Arguing for a reading of Satrapi's image-text beyond the familiar site of the 'graphic novel,' this project stages an analysis of content and form in her oeuvre with a focus on the aesthetics of Satrapi's (re)construction and (re)presentation of female visuality. I argue for the placement of her writing in communication and contrast with the body of émigré Iranian women's memoirs, appearing in and addressing the West, as well as the emergent discourse of Islamic feminism which finds its most urgent hearing in Shi'ah Islamic religious and political traditions within Iran. In this gesture, rather than locating meaning in her work exclusively within either of these two disparate textual spaces or attempting to reposition her as an ethnographic writer over and against the efforts toward her installation in a Western canon of graphic novelists, I argue that Satrapi's distinctive literary production attains legibility, and therefore realizes the full creative thrust of its power, only when the certain cultural, historical, political, religious and aesthetic considerations operative within her work have been considered. Accordingly, the project stages a reading of Satrapi's oeuvre as a historical document of contemporary art, as art contemporary with itself, which appears urgently, legibly, in the global moment as of what Walter Benjamin has called "the now of recognizability."