English Ph.D candidate Olivia Badoi has recently been awarded two prestigious awards: the Swann Foundation Fellowship at the Library of Congress and the Princeton University Library Research Grant. These highly competitive fellowships are awarded to scholars who make use of the two Libraries' extensive collections.
Badoi will use these research opportunities to conduct archival work for her dissertation, Picturing Modernity: Modernism and Graphic Narrative, which establishes a conversation between the woodcut novel (a book-length work of fiction composed entirely of sequential wood engravings), the contemporary graphic novel, and the modernist novel. Badoi argues that, taken together, these three genres can alter our understanding of both modernist and contemporary fiction and visual culture.
Picturing Modernity is also a project of recuperation, as it aims to bring the all-but-forgotten genre of the woodcut novel back into the public eye. As such, during her time at the Library of Congress and the Princeton Library, Badoi will look at previously unexamined works by the American graphic artist Lynd Ward. Acclaimed by many as precursors to today's graphic novels, Ward's 'novels in woodcuts' (which he produced between 1929 and 1937) are sophisticated, entirely wordless explorations of complex themes such as labor unrest and urban alienation. Drawing on these archives, Badoi's aim is to show that woodcut novels both echo the anxieties that populate the works of established modernists such as Virginia Woolf and T.S Eliot and look forward to the contemporary genre of the graphic novel.