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Dispossession: A Novel of Few Words

A 104 page colour graphic novel adapting Anthony Trollope’s 1879 novel John Caldigate.

Dispossession: a novel of few words, is a 104 page colour graphic novel, published by Jonathan Cape.

Throughout the twentieth century, graphic adaptations of canonical literature have been made in order to teach canonical literature, or to affirm the higher status of the literary text. More recently, graphic adaptations from literary sources have aimed to reveal and exploit the specific affective capacities of the comics medium. This research replaced the literary voice of Anthony Trollope (in his 1879 novel John Caldigate), with a visual drawing style. The research demonstrated this visually and to provided a rationale for the graphic adaptation, compared to the source. Trollope’s literary voice was analysed and a set of rules for drawing were created, encompassing page layout, rhythms, colour, line, text, point of view and scene-setting. The graphic adaptation Dispossession provided a new resource for stylistic analysis of Trollope’s voice, the process of adaptation and the wide public and academic dissemination of insights.

The research demonstrates the capacity of graphic adaptation of literary sources as an acute method of analysis. It reveals an unknown aspect of Trollope’s later writing style and establishes its historic significance. It evidences the sophistication of the comics medium. It provides a cited case study in word/image adaptation (in the Oxford Handbook of Comics Studies [2019], Serials to Graphic Novels [2017], Transforming Anthony Trollope [2015] and The Graphic Novel [2014]).

Dispossession substantiated an international programme of academic dissemination: an edited academic book, two book chapters, one journal article, four conference papers and one academic seminar. It also substantiated an international programme of public dissemination: a French-language edition of the output, one public exhibition, 14 public lectures at literary festivals and 32 items of media coverage.

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