Rogue Paratexts: Epo's Graphic Classic Adaptations and the Jupien Effect

Charlotte Pylyser

Timeless with a Twist

Few will dispute the fact that the Graphic Classic series (for example, The Capital, War and Peace, Les Misérables, Moby Dick, The Origin of Species, with The Divine Comedy, The Communist Manifesto and Ulysses planned) scrutinised in this paper contains works of fiction and non-fiction that are by and large considered canonised classics. The Graphic Classic series adds an unexpected twist to this canonised presence, however. We are not dealing here simply with new editions of the classics or a new collection of them, but with the Dutch translation of Japanese manga adaptations of canonised source texts. These Japanese manga adaptations, called Manga de dokuha ("reading through with manga"), have been published by East Press in Japan since 2007 and comprise both the western classics selected for translation by Epo, the Flemish publishing house that publishes the series which we will investigate, and a number of Japanese and more controversial titles such asKanik?sen, a communist tale from 1929 that recounts the exploitation of Japanse fishermen in the Sea of Okhotsk and even Hitler's Mein Kampf. Note that both controversial and Japanese works have fallen through the cracks in the process of Epo's transposition of the series. The successful Manga de dokuha adaptations are very much a product of anonymous studio work (in this case of Variety Artworks studios) and fit squarely into a tradition of literary comic adaptation and edumanga which is very well-established in Japan.

As the story goes, one of the editors at the Belgian publishing house Epo stumbled upon the Manga de dokuha series while browsing the internet and immediately saw in these books an opportunity to solidify the relationship between the publishing house with the up and coming generation of Dutch-speaking readers which is known to devour manga en masse. As the publisher explained:

Our primary goal here is to re-establish a connection between our publishing house and the younger generation. In this way [by publishing the graphic classics] we want to introduce the youngsters - as well as an older audience that may have already heard of these classics, but has not yet read them - to the books" (De weyer 18)[1].

Indeed, not wanting to deter older readers (or manga laymen) the Epo spokesman, in another newspaper article, makes sure to underscore that they have not just picked manga series randomly, but a series that is not too hard on the Western mind and eye (Sels 32). Deterring older readers is not something that East Press had to consider as manga-reading is not as age-dependent in Japan as it is in Flanders or The Netherlands.

The drawings, so we are assured, are not styled excessively according to manga conventions (no gigantic eyes!) and the reading direction remains a comfortable left-to-right and top-to-bottom. A cursory glance at the first image presented here (fig. 1) shows that Epo's "different, but recognisable" philosophy, a staple marketing strategy, also extends to the materiality and the paratext of the books in the series. The Graphic Classics series trades the "floppy" production values of mass-produced manga for "stately" (and slightly archaic) literary Western ones. The books in the series are hardcover and feature conservative golden lettering emblazoned on a page or image taken from the story. This sets them visibly apart from the Manga de dokuha which not only sport a far more conventional manga look (fig. 2), but are also distributed through a system of konbini (convenience stores) rather than through the book store channel Epo has chosen[2]. And so it is that the graphic classics, which initially were to be released on the Dutch and Flemish market at a rate of four per year for the next ten years, but have come to be released at irregular intervals, seem to be the result not only of a comification (adaptation) process and a translation process, but also of a more thorough reconceptualisation at the hands of their Flemish publisher.


Fig. 1 and 2

Graphic Novel Space

This particular publisher is neither a comics nor a literary publisher, but a historically left-leaning mid-size publishing house that focusses on the educational and non-fictional end of the book spectrum. Epo profiles itself explicitly as an independent publishing house which makes room in its catalogue for "the shadow side of the official credo and the unraveling of myths" [3] (Epo website). At the same time it aims to cater to a wide audience. It is no coincidence that a series such as the Graphic Classic one was released only last year, as the possibility conditions for such a series being published by a non-dedicated (non-niche, non-comics) publisher in Flanders have only come to be fulfilled in the past couple of years. One such (market) condition is without a doubt the explosive rise in popularity of manga amongst younger readers. More significant, however, is the space carved out in the literary marketplace by the graphic novel. While the term "graphic novel" remains contested, it is without a doubt the perfect choice in a literary economic context, for it is through elements intricately linked to the graphic novel label that the publication of these books by publishers intending to reach a wider audience has become an option. The label invokes the link with (adult) literature through the book format and the increased importance of the so-called complete author for example and may thereby be said to further the cultural legitimisation and the dissemination of the items to which it is attached. Such cultural legitimisation is of course a tricky matter and one may well wonder whether this label is in sync with the "convergent" sensibilities of the times detailed in for example Henry Jenkins' Convergence Culture (2006). On top of this, as this process has only taken off in the last ten years in Flanders, and has seen an acceleration only in the last five years, the relative exoticness of the label has given it quite a high-profile in the Flemish cultural sphere and in the Flemish publishing world (of course these trends do not always have strong staying power). Far be it for me to suggest that the Graphic Classic books fully fit the graphic novel mould (their relationship with authorship is complex and their (intended) audience is not necessarily an adult one), but the fact that they feature a sequential word-image narrative, refer to literature through content (the source texts), materiality (the classic hardcover book format) and context (price, in fact) does connect them with the space opened up by the graphic novel label. This link is made material by the books' placement in stores: the books are grouped with graphic novels, not with literature, comics or even manga. It is useful to keep this connection in mind during the course of my analysis as it highlights the fact that the graphic classics are never to be considered separate from their status as commodity objects in a market structure.

An Outline

In this paper we will mainly focus on the reconceptualisation we have mentioned earlier in terms of its repercussions on the paratextual dynamics internal to the Graphic Classic series. A comparative analysis of the differences between the Manga de dokuha and the Graphic Classic series would be a fruitful endeavour as well, but should really be undertaken by someone more proficient in Japanese although I do not lose sight of the connection between both series altogether. Building on Gerard Genette's pragmatics and functions of the paratext, which will allow us to factor in the commodification referred to in the previous section, we will be strongly involved with the paratextual construction of the publisher's role and vision with regard to the series on the one hand and with the status of the text and the paratext as it emerges from the contradictory paratextual signals the series transmits on the other hand. More concretely, we will show how the paratextual network of the Graphic Classic series frustrates its proper functioning by failing to do justice to the complexity of the text which it accompanies, either by over-emphasising a reductive understanding of its adaptational aspect (in the first book we will analyse), or by denying that adaptational aspect (in the second book we will analyse). In doing so, we will show that the paratext of the graphic classics suffer from Genette's Jupien effect which we further delve into below. As the constituent-books of the series do not continuously exhibit the same paratextual features, the analysis that unfolds below will look not at one, but at two Graphic Classics. Our main analysis will revolve around War and Peace, the first volume in the series and this analysis will be supplemented by a reading of Moby Dick, the sixth (and most recently published) volume. The temporal distance between both books, which is minimal - one year - but will prove to be significant, will allow us to investigate and interpret any paratextual changes that might have occurred. While I will involve (and already have involved) epitextual characteristics in my analysis of the series - epitextual elements do not immediately surround the text, they are situated beyond the borders of the book volume (author interviews for example) (Genette 10-11) - this paper does not feature a systematic exploration of them. Therefore, paratext generally refers to peritext here, to those elements situated immediately around the text, in the same book volume as the text (Genette 10), with a very strong emphasis on the covers of both books under scrutiny. Our investigation of course also serves as a case study of that most interesting phenomenon that is the inscription of books into the graphic novel space, although much more can be said about this phenomenon than the bounds of this text allow room for.

The Genettian Paratext

Before we embark on our analysis of the paratext it is vital that we elaborate on our understanding of it, on how we might usefully and suitably conceive of it in the context of this investigation. The classic theoretician for all matters paratext is still Gerard Genette, whose monograph Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation (1997)[4] provides quite an exhaustive overview of paratextual behaviour and more importantly a general (albeit quite condensed) theory of what makes a paratext a paratext. In this it is very striking how strongly Genette emphasizes the absolute importance of the relative, that is, the way in which the paratext relates to the text. According to the French theoretician, "the paratext, in all its forms, is a fundamentally heteronomous discourse, [it is] auxiliary, sworn to the service of another entity which also forms the reason for its existence: the text" [5] (Genette 16). I must admit that my interest in the Graphic Classic series solidified at the very moment in which I read this excerpt as it was hard to overlook the manifold ways in which the series complicated, or even defied, Genette's conception of the paratext.

Texts, so Genette posits, become books by the grace of a well-functioning paratext which interfaces with the public, dresses up the text and renders it material (Genette 7). It follows that experiments with text and paratext which break the union sketched above (indeed, Genette's model does read somewhat like a fifties marriage, including strictly defined gender roles, but without, one must add, the devaluation of the facilitator role) would not exactly function well as books from the Genettian point of view, no matter whether the reason for that upheaval be heteronomous or autonomous (or a bit of both). Referring to a character from À la recherche du temps perdu Genette calls the phenomenon whereby the paratext "turns into a screen [instead of a relay] and as such performs its role to the detriment of that of its text"[6] the "Jupien effect" [7] (Genette 376). Interestingly he considers the Jupien effect an involuntary side-effect. While one can think of certain scenarios in which the effect could be manipulated or appropriated meaningfully (and thus used intentionally), it does seems a generally plausible requirement that for a book to be a book its paratext should not inflate itself to dysfunctional proportions relative to the text. Of course these terms remain rather abstract at present, but that abstraction is exactly one of the reasons why I have ultimately chosen to use Genette's theory in this paper. This choice was not straightforward because, as he explicitly indicates in his conclusion to Paratexts, Genette is concerned with the "simple book" in his monograph, and not with factors such as serial publication, translation and illustration (in this case the nature of the text as a graphic rather than as a purely verbal narrative). Genette seems to consider these forms as primarily a complication of the author's authority over the paratext, and not so much as fundamental challenges to his overarching conceptualisation of the paratext. As we will see the heteronomy of the paratext and its facilitator role remain a basic condition for any book to function as a book, whether as an individual novel or an adapted translation featured in a series. While we must be sensitive to the limitations caused by the nature of Genette's research object (in particular we must be wary of conflating certain paratextual characteristics of the serial format with those of the Graphic Classic series) I therefore consider his theory relevant - if not universally applicable - to my inquiry. In fact, I would add that it is exactly the fairly uncompromising and basic nature of Genette's account (which is inspired by the pureness of its research object one might conjecture, the theorization of the serial paratext might favour other, perhaps more befuddling questions) which makes it such a valuable sounding board.

According to Genette, the paratextual partner in the relationship signals a number of pragmatic informations, three of which will prove to be particularly interesting for our analysis: the nature of the sender, the degree of authority and responsibility of the sender and the illocutionary force of his message, which may contain both information and an intention. While Genette focuses mainly on what he calls the authorial paratext, where the author functions as the primary sender and responsible party, he also elaborates on the notion of the editorial paratext (the editor or the publisher is responsible for the paratext). In the case of the Graphic Classic series which is a product of anonymous studio work and features long deceased authors that are squarely in the public domain we are dealing exclusively with an editorial paratext.

A Triangular Echo Chamber

Rather than opting for a systematic and exhaustive description of the components of the series' paratext, this section focuses on three elements in the paratext whose message and hermeneutic function can reveal something more about the relationship between the text and the paratext in the Graphic Classic series: the series' tagline, its name and on a somewhat different level, the interpretational path opened by their interaction.

While stating the obvious is not in itself a virtue - as we will see this is a sickness the Graphic Classic series falls prey to quite violently - it might prove a conduit to better understanding. And the issue of the series' "shamelessness" must be addressed here. Let us explain this rather severe-sounding remark. One of the most striking elements found on the cover of the graphic classics is the series' tagline which reads: "A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read" (fig. 1). Positioned on the bottom of the cover, right next to the publisher's logo, one might read this quote by Mark Twain as the bottom line of the series, a manual of sorts. Its association with the Epo symbol suggests that it is the publisher who sends readers this message and thereby them to consider the text in the light of said message. The quote in question contains disturbingly contradictory, yet delightfully fascinating, sentiments, which Epo perhaps saw unified and smoothed over in its appeal to Twain, who is no more a literary author than he is a popular author and a classroom staple whose masterpiece also happens to be royally peppered with illustrations. If the reference to Twain is a reflection of Epo's ambitions, its choice of quote signals that the issue at hand is in reality more complex than the problem of high versus low. The Twain quote comes to convey a definite undermining of the act of reading, presented here in the form of the well-known rhetorical trick that is the rendition of the so-called brutal truth: people do not really want to read complex classic works. The implication seems to be that Epo has seen the light in the acceptance of this situation and can offer an easily consumable solution for the second part of the quote: people want to feel like they have read the classics. While this situation invokes Jim Collins' observation that readers (and the people that cater to them by extension) have freed themselves from consumerist guilt (Collins 19), it also appeals to the guilt produced by the still present obligation to read which Pierre Bayard expounds on in his monograph on the benefits of non-reading. In How to Talk about Books you Haven't Read (2007)[8] Bayard criticises the tendency, which seems to be especially strong in Europe, for the act of reading to "become an object of sacralisation" [9] (Bayard 14). This act of reading, so he explains, never ought to be a partial one (Thou Shalt Not Skim Books!) and only once we have completed it appropriately can we talk about books legitimately. As we will see the Graphic Classic series, while clearly invoking this obligation to read correctly (to read the classics and to read them in a way that is faithful to the original, so that we may talk about them), in reality undermines the sacralisation of the act of reading through the many contradictions present in its paratext. While one might consider it a liberating device in this sense, a tool for the dissemination of the true, doubly guilt-free, pleasure of reading championed both by Collins and Bayard, we will see that this is not the case, as the paratexual network of the graphic classics shows no love for its actual text.

If we read the Twain quote carefully (and somewhat contrarily, we must admit), we see that it leaves the reader in a fundamentally paralysed position. If the object it refers to is to accord with the tagline's brutal "truthiness" and the perceived desire of the reader, this means it is either 1) a literary classic (strong likeness with the source text) which we are however not reading (after all, reading a classic is not something we want to do), or 2) we are in fact reading something, but it cannot be equated with the classic in any way (again, we do not want to read a classic). One assumes that Epo situates the solution of this conundrum in the adapted nature of the text it provides. This implies that the sort of reading we are to engage in (reading a visual narrative) is a "different" kind of reading, with "different" really meaning less strenuous than reading verbal narrative. Epo thus makes the classic mistake of conflating the comification process with a simplification process. It is this simplification of the text that is ultimately signaled. In an ironic twist then, Epo's seemingly democratic and anti-elitist strategy ends up belittling and perhaps even insulting an important group of potential buyers: manga or comics fans. A similar case could be made for that other group of readers which is targeted by the publisher: older readers which have yet to read the classics. In this instance one might point out Epo's questionable interpretation of the adaptational fidelity concept in the blurb on the book's back cover. Indeed the blurb - which I do not treat here because it is the main object of investigation in the section on paratextual change below - can be said to function as the third side of a triangular echo chamber constituted by tagline, series name and blurb. As the text - undermining significations detailed in this section bounce off the walls of this echo chamber, their sound is mutually amplified. Interestingly, the amplification, or the expansion of the echo chamber extends to the epitext, as witnessed in a sort of general editorial tagline which pops up on the publisher's website each time we scroll to the end of the page. This supremely evocative tagline reads "I never *read* books, I devour them" [10] (Epo website) and certainly overlays Epo's catalogue with a (maverick) consumerist echo that again complicates the act of reading.

Linguistically speaking - both elements are featured in English - the series' tagline is connected to its name, "Graphic Classic", which arguably functions much like a generic convention along the lines of the mechanism Genette considers to be in play when a term such as "novel" is added to the paratext. The occurrence of the word "novel", so Genette explains, is to be interpreted as a request by the party responsible for the paratext. It is to be read as "please consider this book a novel" [11] (Genette 15). In the same way, "Graphic Classic" may be considered a request by the series' publisher to read the books in the series as graphic classics, manifestations of the graphic classic concept, which is explained via the paratext, more specifically via the tagline (and the blurb) as we have seen. I have used the terms "genre" and "concept" so far to indicate the "graphic classic" element, but one might argue that neither of these words is ideally suited to describe the paratextual phenomenon at hand. It seems both more accurate and more interesting to consider "Graphic Classic" a label, a general means of identification and of qualification thoroughly rooted in consumerist culture. Among other things, such a "labelling" allows us to explain the presence of the English language on the cover of a Flemish book through the parallel with that other fashionable label and graphic phenomenon: the graphic novel, which, in the way that we have described it, has a strongly American valence. But labels may also be used to provide the user with instructions as how to use or look after an acquired object, much like the hermeneutic function which Genette grants his concept of generic convention and the paratext in general. The "Graphic Classic" component is situated in an area of the paratext that remains the same throughout the series' publishing history: a black frame constituted by the upper border of the front and the back cover and the spine of the book (fig. 1, 3 and 4). Each of these areas contains the "Graphic Classic" element, thereby framing the entire book. In terms of paratextual pragmatics, the linguistic link then functions as the materialization of this text-devaluating interpretational path. Perhaps in a compensatory gesture, the series' name is punctuated with two entirely non-ironic ornamental curls (fig. 1, 3 and 4) that further foreground it as significant and rival the golden lettering of the title as a marker of distinction and (cliché) bookishness. The echo chamber renders this golden typographic effect, together with the outrageously flattering author description on the back cover of the book, a disproportionate joke at the expense of the reader which arguably creates the opposite effect of the strategy which Susan Pickford describes in her fascinating article on "Jerome K. Jerome and the Paratextual Staging of Anti-Elitism":

the rhetorical intention is to give the potential purchaser the feeling that he belongs to the privileged group of those with a sense of humour subtle enough to understand a joke that all the critics have missed. It also says to the reader that if you appreciate this joke, then you will not be disappointed if you buy this book (Pickford 88).

The Jupien Effect

The analysis offered above certainly suggests that Genette's Jupien effect, the failure of the paratext to adhere to its role to the detriment of the text, is activated in the Graphic Classic series. A closer look at the analysis confirms this suspicion. Two levels may be distinguished. One, more concrete level, comprises the nature of the resonance invoked by the paratextual elements tagline, name, blurb, which is undermining with regard to the text. On a second, functional, level, we see that the paratext proves too contradictory, or unclear, in its role as a facilitator for or key to the text. This qualitative aspect of the paratext is also productive in delineating the difference between the paratextual particularities of the series format and those specific to the Graphic Classic series. Indeed, as becomes clear from John Spiers' concise definition of a series, "a named cluster of books, a programmatic and cohesive approach with an overall title [...] [which] grow[s] cumulatively" (Spiers 23), the elements that we have investigated above may be a part of any series peritext. However, their content and function need not upset the Genettian model the way it happens with the graphic classics. Similarly, the strong economic motivation, which, as Spiers explains in his edited volume on The Culture of the Publisher's Series, often underlies series need not necessarily detract from the autonomy of the text, but the paratextual signalisation of the graphic classics' shameless inscription into the graphic novel space does. It follows from what we have outlined in section five - a solid text-paratext marriage is what makes a book into a book - that the Jupien-tainted graphic classics do not work very well as books. Indeed, the obscuring of the text and the concomitant adoption of the screen role by the paratext (as opposed to the relay role) makes them problematic and unwieldy objects. These elements seriously compromise the use value of the books. They might result in a form of dissonance on the reader's part when she picks up the "objects", and finds herself holding something that looks like a book, but does not quite function as expected. Add to that the concrete messages of our echo chamber and we might even posit that the books reflect back an undermining of the status of the reader as reader (and as a lover of books in the sense of Collins and Bayard).


It must be pointed out that paratextual features are mutable both temporally and spatially. While remakes of literary classics featuring different covers perhaps testify to this phenomenon most clearly, the same fluidity applies to the publishing history internal to the series. In the case of the Graphic Classic books, we can observe an evolution characterised by the fading away of one of the sides of our triangular echo chamber: the blurb. Over the course of the publication of six volumes, a shift has occurred that sees part of the original back cover description moved to the final page of the book, which initially only contained copyright and publisher information. Interestingly, it is especially those parts of the book description that refer to the publisher's concept of the series (the simplification and fidelity issues) that have been transplanted to a less visible space. The space that is opened on the back cover of the book is then used to transmit quotes. The only references to the simplification on the "new" back cover can be found in these quotations, but of course - as signaled by the quotation apparatus: quotation marks, dashes, the cursive style for the name of the source quoted - these references are indirect in nature. They remind us of a category of features such as prefaces written by a third party (neither author nor the publisher) which Genette calls "allograph". He insists that no single sender can assume responsibility for these quotes (Genette 14). While Genette focusses on elements that are intended to be read by the readers of the book themselves and are thus written by senders that actually mean to send their message to that particular audience, quotations cannot adopt the full-on responsibility of a double intended sender/message complex. As such, the only true paratextual responsibility continues to lie with the publisher. The indirect effect these quotes produce with regard to the monolithic sender/message/audience constellation we have observed in War and Peace, however, combined with the reduced extent to which the message about the series' concept is featured in the citations versus the original back cover paratext makes for a more asymmetrical, less powerful relationship of the quotations with the two other echo elements and thus a weakened resonance of the text-prohibiting dynamic.

In addition to the above-described change, some references to the classic status of the adapted source text have simply disappeared. The short author introduction, for example, is stripped of the references to fame and grandeur which were overwhelmingly present on the back cover of War and Peace . While Tolstoy (Graphic Classic 1) was still "one of the most influential Russian writers, a man who has made his mark both on the literary and the political scene",[12] Herman Melville (Graphic Classic 6) simply "hails from New York" and "worked as a teacher and as a sailor and a whaler before he could make a living as a writer."[13] Proportionate to this disappearance, we see that the jokey golden letters on the cover shrink and allow the visual cover element more space.


Fig. 3 and 4

As the triangular echo chamber becomes more of a ping-pong echo and the joke we have identified becomes less pronounced, we cannot help but wonder whether the publisher has noticed the dysfunctional nature of the original paratext (and thus the failure of the series to address readers properly). Regardless of whether they have, we might in fact posit that the changes we have outlined are not ultimately beneficial to paratextual facilitation. While the unified undermining action of our echo chamber decreases, it seems that Epo has only added to the inaccessibility of the text by the publication of its sixth graphic classic. The publisher does so by conveying a message that correlates to the second option in our reading of the tagline in section four. WhereasWar and Peace seems to be alluding to the fact that the classic we are handling requires a different (and simplified) reading, the paratext of Moby Dick can be said to testify to the reinstatement of the normal reading process (the references to the graphic, comification aspect vanish) by obfuscating the reference to the classic nature of the works (certainly, we are reading a book (by all means a book!), but not a classic, as those are not fun to read). In this way, while the changes that we have detailed - the retreat of the reductive or ludicrous adaptation message, the stabilisation of the title/author - image ratio and the disappearance of the canonised author - seem like a step towards the elimination of the Jupien effect, they are in fact a fundamental repression of the adapted, complex, processed nature of the text of the graphic classics. Indeed, the changes produce a very striking and severely uncanny effect which only becomes truly visible in the context of the message we have outlined based on the cover of War and Peace (this framework, though weakened, is still in place in the revamped paratext): the changed covers would not be all that out of place as covers to the original Moby Dick. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they are noticeably less ill-suited to such a function as there is no chance of a first-time user mistaking the graphic classic for the original edition of Moby Dick. Still, this is an odd and grating characteristic for a paratext which is so invested in the "difference" of its text according to the frame constructed by the tagline and the series' name. Sporting a generic whale illustration composed of two images taken from the manga overlaid on one another (fig. 4), the front cover of Moby Dick is especially symptomatic of the message that the new paratextual features anxiously convey: whatever the object really is, it is not a non-book. Whereas War and Peace features a page from the manga as background, which is obviously not a paratextual convention of the novel, Moby Dick's whale image could be featured on an illustrated cover of a novel (of course such covers are not the paratextual prerogative of the novel). In concert with the remnants of our echo chamber, the paratextual changes produce a violent cacophony which again makes the objects problematic as functionally sound books.


It is clear that the ghost of Jupien haunts Epo's Graphic Classic series, whether through the cumulative effect of the triangular echo or the cacophonic effect of that echo in relation to the message conveyed by the paratextual changes. As we have indicated, the failure of the paratext to unlock the text also suggests that the books do not work very well as books. In this way, I believe that our case study has proven a convincing ex negativo illustration of Genette's main point. Additionally, I believe that our investigation may serve as a complement to Genette's emphasis on the authorial text in Paratexts. Considering our findings, it perhaps does not entirely come as a surprise that Epo has issued an evaluative pause in the publication of the series as of 2012. According to Epo no new graphic classics will be published in the first quarter of 2012. Instead, the publisher is investing in an evaluation of the series (communication via e-mail, January 31st 2012). As of June 20th 2012 no new graphic classics have been published since the release of Moby Dick.

Finally, and parallel to the distinction which we have made between the concept of the series (more generally) and that of the graphic classic series in particular, it seems important to emphasise here that the Jupien-effect need not afflict all manga adaptations of classic source texts. While such initiatives might be good candidates for the development of Jupien-like dynamics (the paratext does not sufficiently facilitate the text), several strategies might be (and are) used to provide the reader of complex books with adequate paratextual guidance. One might, for example, construct a paratext that coherently signals the inscription of the adaptation into the youth and educational model (which is arguably the case for the Manga de dokuha series). As was the case for the question of seriality, I suggest this observation corroborates the suitability of Genette's core model even for such a complex phenomenon as the Graphic Classic series. In the context of the strategy mentioned above, it is perhaps interesting to mention an epitextual phenomenon, one that can be observed in quite some reviews of the Graphic Classic series: the books can only be redeemed, that is epitextually redeemed, in the sense of providing guidance as to how to read them (as a specific sort of book with its own standards), and thereby redeemed as (acceptable) books -by explicitly attaching them to audiences that are either young or non-connoisseur (or both). But of course such an exercise is neither consistent with EPO's discourse nor with our analysis of the series' covers, which among other things draw on the graphic novel space and its association with an adult audience. The necessity of the demarche itself implies that literary adults might be (are at risk of being) addressed by the books. This tension (which interestingly leads to grotesquely insulting results reminiscent of the dynamic on the series' covers and in that way is consistent with the elements found in the peritext) is strikingly rendered by one reviewer who ends his text as follows "Real men/women of letters will probably react more violently to this series. The least we might expect from them is that they will run away screaming [from these books]. But then this series is not made for them. On the contrary" (De Weyer 18).[14]


Bayard, Pierre. Comment parler des livres que l'on n'a pas lus?. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 2007.

Collins, Jim. Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010.

Coppens, Hans. "Graphic Classics manga serie: Oorlog&vrede en Het kapitaal" e-wolf. Vlabin-vbc. n.d. web. 20 Jun. 2012.

De weyer, Geert. "Literaire klassiekers verschijnen als graphic novel bij Epo." De Morgen 16 Aug. 2010: 18.

Epo uitgeverij drukkerij . Epo. Web. 20 Jan. 2012.

Genette, Gerard. Seuils. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1987.

Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture : Where old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press, 2006.

Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. Trans. Nele Noppe. Berchem: Epo, 2011.

Pickford, Susan. "Jerome K. Jerome and the Paratextual Staging of Anti-elitism." In Judging a Book by its Cover: Fans, Publishers, Designers, and the Marketing of Fiction. Eds. Nicole Matthews and Nickianne Moody. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. 83-92.

Sels, Geert. "Karl Marx gaat aan het strippen." De Standaard 20 Aug. 2010: 32.

Spiers, John, ed. Authors, Publishers, and the Shaping of Taste. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Tolstoj, Leo. Oorlog en Vrede. Trans. Nele Noppe. Berchem: Epo, 2010.

[1] "Kijk, ons eerste doel is om onze uitgeverij terug aansluiting te laten maken bij de jonge generatie. Op die manier willen we hen, alsook een wat ouder publiek dat wel van deze klassiekers heeft gehoord, maar ze niet las, er mee kennis maken" (De weyer 18).

[2] For reference: Coppens, Hans. "Graphic Classics manga serie: Oorlog&vrede en Het kapitaal" e-wolf. Vlabin-vbc. n.d. web. 20 Jun. 2012.

[3] "de achterkanten van het officiële gelijk en de ontrafeling van mythes" (Epo website)

[4] I use translated citations taken from the original French version Seuils (1987) in the text. The original quotation can each time be found in an associated footnote.

[v5 "Le paratexte, sous toutes ses formes, est un discours fondamentalement hétéronome, auxiliaire, voué au service d'autre chose qui constitue sa raison d'être, et qui est le texte."

[6] "le paratexte tend [...] à se constituer en écran et dès lors à jouer sa partie au détriment de celle de son texte"

[7] "l'effet Jupien"

[8] I use translated citations taken from the original French version Comment parler des livres que l'on n'a pas lus? (2007) in the text. The original quotation can each time be found in an associated footnote.

[9] "la lecture demeure l'objet d'une forme de sacralisation"

[10] "Ik léés nooit boeken, ik verslind ze." (Epo website)

[11] "Veuillez considérer ce livre comme un roman"

[12] "een van de invloedrijkste Russische schrijvers, die zijn stempel heeft gedrukt zowel op de literatuur als op de politiek"

[13] "was afkomstig uit New York" and "Voor hij zijn brood begon te verdienen met schrijven werkte hij als leraar en als bemanningslid op verschillende schepen en walvisvaarders."

[14] "Bij de echte literatoren zullen de reacties op deze reeks wellicht wat heftiger zijn. Gillend wegvluchten is wel het minste wat we van hen mogen verwachten. Maar deze reeks is dan ook niet voor hen gemaakt. Integendeel" (De Weyer 18).