Don’t Laugh at Kim-Il Sung: Anecdote, Occupational Narrative and Representation in Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang

Nicholas Hartmann


French-Canadian graphic novelist Guy Delisle has made a name for himself with his series of illustrated narratives about life in highly politically-charged nations. The best-known, Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, is known for its witty yet sharply critical take on a nation known for its secrecy and belligerence. Delisle’s narrative, while firmly rooted in a tradition of personal graphic narratives, is further bolstered by the use of anecdote and occupational narrative; this essay examines how such forms of verbal art are not only highly present in Delisle’s book, but also bring up important issues surrounding both outsider perspectives of North Korea and North Korea's representation of itself to the world.

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