New Exhibit - "Silence Speaks: The Quiet Power of Wordless Novels"

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Posted on: Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 11:48am

New Exhibit - "Silence Speaks: The Quiet Power of Wordless Novels"

Black-and-white illustration of a skeleton or spirit sauntering happily through space, From Frans Masereel’s My Book of Hours, published in 1919

Western Libraries Heritage Resources is hosting a new exhibition which explores storytelling through pictorial narratives. “Silence Speaks: The Quiet Power of Wordless Novels,” will be on display in the library and online from September 22, 2021, through June 10, 2022.  

The exhibit is free and open to the public and is available for viewing in person at Western Washington University Libraries Special Collections (Wilson 6th floor) during the hours that space is open, Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed weekends and holidays). The online version of the exhibit can be accessed at any time via this link. All campus visitors must continue to wear a mask when inside Western Libraries or any campus building on Western’s campus, and also when outside in crowded outdoor areas.   

“Silence Speaks: The Quiet Power of Wordless Novels,” explores the complex relationship between power, knowledge, and silence, and reflects on how wordless books inform our understanding of communication more broadly. Featuring materials from the Rare Book Collection in Western Libraries Special Collections, the exhibition introduces some of the major themes wordless novels express, while also highlighting their connections to early cinema. 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. For in-person exhibit attendees, there will also be a selection of underground comix on display in the adjoining Special Collections research room where viewers can trace wordless novels’ influences in the 1960s and beyond. 

For more information about this exhibit, or if you would like to inquire about the possibility of scheduling a class visit to view the exhibit, please contact Special Collections Librarian Michael Taylor, taylo213@wwu.edu, (360) 650-3097. 

[Image Information: Black-and-white illustration of a skeleton or spirit sauntering happily through space, illustration from Frans Masereel’s My Book of Hours, published in 1919]

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