Will Eisner's "Impossible Structures". Urban Chronotopes in Central City and Dropsie Avenue

  • Nicola Paladin "Sapienza" Università di Roma
Keywords: Will Eisner, Chronotope, Space, Dropsie Avenue, The Spirit


The role of urban space and its representation constitute two focal elements in the work of Will Eisner. The majority of his production – from The Spirit to Dropsie Avenue – is set within fictional urban contexts well attributable to New York and, although those scenarios apparently function as a mere backdrop to the main scene, they influence the very structure of the stories.

This article aims at comparing the most relevant urban universes in Will Eisner's production – Central City in The Spirit and Dropsie Avenue in the A Contract with God trilogy –, in order to show how they both are grounded on a cyclical spatio/temporal structure, derived from the bachtinian notion of chronotope. In particular, the purpose of this analysis is to demonstrate how the representation of spatiality proves to be a fundamental component in Eisner's graphic narratives in so far as it is able to impact plots. Michail Bachtin's analysis of the chronotope in Greek romance provides a theoretical framework which will highlight some common mechanisms that can be identified in Eisner's work as well, and which confirm the chronotopic structure of his diegetic universe, and concur to attest the crucial role of the architecture of the narrative space both in determining the mobility of human characters and consequently in developing the stories.  


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Author Biography

Nicola Paladin, "Sapienza" Università di Roma

Nicola Paladin teaches American English language and Translation at the University of Catania at Struttura Didattica Speciale of Ragusa. He recently defended his dissertation at "Sapienza" University of Rome. He obtained his master’s degree at Ca' Foscari, University of Venice prior to enrolling as a PhD student at Sapienza University of Rome. A budding expert on Early American Literature, in particular on the political writings of the American Revolution, Paladin's work on comics studies shows particular interest on war comics, and the productions of Joe Sacco, Will Eisner, and Frank Miller.


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How to Cite
Paladin, N. (2018). Will Eisner’s "Impossible Structures". Urban Chronotopes in Central City and <i>Dropsie Avenue</i&gt;. Between, 8(15). https://doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/3240