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Blending fact and fiction in graphic war narratives of the Falklands War

Tseng, Chiao-I and Altenberg, Tilmann 2019. Blending fact and fiction in graphic war narratives of the Falklands War. ImageTexT 11 (1)

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Abstract

In this article, we argue that non-fictional graphic war narratives are a powerful tool for influencing people’s interest in and attitudes towards the issue of war because they offer an effective combination of affective engagement and cognitive mechanisms that speak to how people interpret fact and fiction. The article first reviews the recent theoretical and empirical research on factors of visual narratives for narrative impact and for changing people’s attitude, including message authenticity and affective immersion. Through analyzing a selection of Argentine comics about the 1982 Falklands War, produced across three decades, we explicate how the prominent stylistic and narrative features achieve message trustworthiness and affective engagement drawing on different persuasive strategies. These strategies include the use of widely circulated news photographs to authenticate the narrative, the inclusion of a broadly known fictional war correspondent (with mixed results), as well as the first-person point of view to emotionally engage readers in the war stories. In synthesis, this article unravels how these narrative mechanisms are combined in graphic war narratives with different persuasive intents in a particularly effective way, namely through the subtle blending of a perceived reality linked to the authentic war materials and typical fictional storytelling devices. At the same time, the article sheds light on the limits of these devices, highlighting as an area for further inquiry a situation where the identified narrative devices effectively undermine the graphic war narrative’s documentary ambition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Publisher: Department of English, University of Florida
ISSN: 1549-6732
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 April 2019
Date of Acceptance: 15 April 2019
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2019 09:37
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/121945

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