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Fictionality, Graphic Novel, and Animated Film


Admission requirements

No specific entry requirements


In the fictionality section, we start by discussing two different approaches to fiction: the semantic approach (by what signposts can we recognise fiction?) and the pragmatic one (fiction-making as play, as communicative action, and as reflection on possible worlds). Topics include various philosophical and semiotic perspectives on fictionality as well as the role of fictionality in different genres and media such as new journalism, the historical novel, autobiography and autofiction, drama, film, games, and pictorial art.
The animation and graphic novel section of the course focuses on historical aspects of both genres (the emergence of animation and newspaper comics in the late 19th century) as well as the specific narrative techniques that have been developed in animation and comics, and the ways in which these genres have appropriated and used styles, techniques and conventions of other media (such as cinema, radio, and painting).

Course objectives


  • To offer students an opportunity to practise their English reading and listening skills at an academic level;

  • To introduce students to different aspects of, and different positions in a central and long-standing debate in narrative theory;

  • To introduce students to different aspects of, and debates in the study of graphic novels and animation;

  • To make students reflect on the use and usefulness of the concepts of fictionality and intermediality within different media.


The timetable is available on the website

Mode of instruction



Class attendance: 28 hrs
Reading assignments: 75 hrs
Preparation exam: 32 hrs
Take-home exam: 5 hrs
Total workload: 140 hrs

Assessment method and Weighing

Take-home exam consisting of short essay questions (100 %). The same format will be adopted for the resit.

Resit and Weighing

Take-home exam consisting of short essay questions (100 %).

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest.
If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for the purpose of uploading reading material, for teacher-student communication via announcements and e-mail, and to elicit responses via the discussion board. Finally, exams must be uploaded via Blackboard Turnitin. for the submission of exams.

Reading list

  • For the fictionality section David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas (2004) will be used as a central point of reference. Secondary literature to be announced.

  • The animation & graphic novel section will discuss a selection of essays, as well as (among others) Art Spiegelman’s Maus (1991) and Marjana Satrapi’s Persepolis (2001-2003).


Students need to register in uSis for classes, exams and final papers. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the Coordinator of studies: ms. drs. E.M.T.Poolman

Contact information

For more information do not hesitate to contact the lecturer, dr. Yasco Horsman of Prof.dr. E.J. van Alphen

Student administration: Van Wijkplaats
Coordinator of studies: ms. drs. E.M.T.Poolman


Please note that the learning goals of this course do not include English writing skills. The lectures will be delivered in English, which is likewise the language of all reading material. The exam questions, however, may be answered in Dutch.

For more information please check the website of the study program Film and Literature Studies.