Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 353–366 | Cite as

Autography as Auto-Therapy: Psychic Pain and the Graphic Memoir

  • Ian Williams


Over the last three decades, the graphic novel has developed both in sophistication and cultural importance, now being widely accepted as a unique form of literature (Versaci 2007). Autobiography has proved to be a successful genre within comics (the word is used in the plural to denote both the medium and the philosophy of the graphic form) and within this area a sub-genre, the memoir of the artist’s own disease or suffering, sometimes known as the graphic pathology, has arisen (Green and Myers 2010). Storytelling and healing have been linked since ancient times, and the disclosure of ones story forms part of the psychotherapeutic treatment of trauma (Herman 1997). This paper will examine, in both graphic and textual form, whether, among the myriad reasons that one might embark upon the labour intensive work of making a graphic memoir, some artists might be seeking some form of healing or catharsis through their work.


Comics Graphic novel Autobiography Catharsis Healing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GraphicMedicine.orgDenbighshireUK

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