Adventures of Shamrock : Mapping the Narrative Universe



MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description For the most of the twentieth century comics has to challenge the accusation that his panels and fantastic or thrilling stories offer only a simply entertainment for a simple reader. Only in last few decades comics fans together with researchers and academics overcome apological thinking and writings about comics, and within visual communication they started to research comics with theories and methods from post-classical narratology (Barbara Postema, Karin Kukkonen, Kai Mikkonen) to psycholinguistic or neural responses (Cohn et al.). A lot of these researchers works with maps or diagrams in some way. Franco Moretti formulates the question what are maps good for and why. He clearly states: „Not that the map is itself an explanation, of course: but at least, it offers a model of the narrative universe which rearranges its components in a non-trivial way, and may bring some hidden patterns to the surface.“ (Moretti 2005: 53-54) This lecture wants to show that making maps and diagrams can help to better understand the fictional universe and narrative structures in one of the most famous and long published czech comics, Jaroslav Němeček’s Shamrock (orig. Čtyřlístek). The first story of four animal friends was published fifty years ago, and during the time this fictional world developed into a complicated and multi-layered text which requires the same reader’s competences as any other artistic text. The chosen material is also interesting from geographical point of view for the identification the fictional world in our reality: the city of Třeskoprsky, the Bezzub Castle and the lake of Blaťák are the city of Doksy, the Bezděz Castle and Mácha’s Lake, according to the author. With the right maps and diagrams, we can explore not only the stylization of the space, which Moretti connects with ideology, but also the changes of social, political and economical context and various uses of this pop cultural artifact.
Related projects: