Minding the gaps: A cannulated reading process developed through the works of bpNichol, Chris Ware, and Art Spiegelman
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This dissertation conceptualizes an "open reader" model through developing a cannulated reading methodology that places the reader in direct dialogue with the text. As points of departure, the "open reader" that is conceptualized through the cannulated reading model develops from Umberto Eco's notion of the "open work" and active reading as Roland Barthes defines and performs it most extensively in S/Z: An Essay. For Barthes, digression forms the foundation of the "gradual analysis" that he engages with his tutor text. The cannulated readings undertaken in this dissertation endeavour to elaborate upon digression and conversation as an integral part of the reading process, as readers enter into textual dialogues. As such, reading is reconceived as a reactive process, in contrast to the active process conceptualized within Reader-Response Criticism and Post-Structuralism. The works of bpNichol, Chris Ware, and Art Spiegelman are examined in detail in order to develop the reading model in both prose and comics texts. Comics reading is traditionally conceived of as a sequential process in which the reader simply stitches together one panel at a time with the ultimate goal of constructing a linear narrative. This dissertation demonstrates, through a series of cannulated readings of both prose and comics texts, that comics reading is instead polysequential, which engenders possibilities for multilinear narratives within the comics medium.