Our world is kind of strange : surrealism in postmodern picture books.
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This thesis examines surrealist influences in postmodern picture books. Although Surrealism is a modernist movement, it shares many characteristics with postmodernism, showing that it continues to be relevant and provocative; both movements embrace subjective and provisional truths, reveal that our experience and perception of reality are distorted or limited, and prompt us to interrogate our perspective of the world so that we may better understand it. The body chapters explore books by three author-illustrators—Chris Van Allsburg, David Wiesner, and Shaun Tan—each of whose works combine his unique brand of surrealism with postmodern techniques. By pushing the boundaries of genre in drawing on a wide range of surrealist and postmodern conventions and traditions, as well as those of various types of visual narratives (e.g., comics and graphic novels), these artists’ picture books also raise questions of audience—that is, whether the works are for children, adults, or anyone—and thus redefine the picture book or contribute to the evolution of the form.
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