Special Collections | Wilson 6

Silence Speaks: The Quiet Power of Wordless Novels

View through October 14, 2022


Special Collections | Wilson 6
block print of a man standing in flowers looking out a city full of pollution

Wordless novels, a genre of visual storytelling that paved the way for today’s graphic novels, developed during the years of artistic, social, and political turmoil between the First and Second World War. This exhibition, featuring materials from the Rare Book Collection, introduces some of the major themes wordless novels express and highlights their connections to early cinema. In addition, it explores the complex relationship between power, knowledge, and silence, and reflects on how wordless books inform our understanding of communication more broadly. Visitors will also be able to trace wordless novels’ influences in the 1960s and beyond through a selection of underground comix on display in the adjoining research room.

The exhibition will be available for viewing in Special Collections (Wilson 6th floor) Monday through Friday from 11:00am to 4:00pm or by appointment (closed weekends and holidays). "Silence Speaks" and the underground comix display are also available online. 

For more information or to inquire about group/class visits to view the exhibit, please contact Special Collections Librarian Michael Taylor (taylo213@wwu.edu | (360) 650-3097).