About Jon Najarian

I'm a scholar and teacher at Boston University, where I am currently Lecturer of Rhetoric in the College of General Studies. My academic research explores the how aesthetic objects (books, images, books that contain images, images that aspire to become books) respond and adapt to developments in print technology. I'm currently at work on a book manuscript, based on my dissertation research, titled "The Intermedial Era: Literary and Pictorial Narrative from Modernism to Comics." I'm also the editor of "Comics and/as Modernism: History, Form, Culture," a collection of original essays that consider the myriad relations between avant-garde art and literature and rise of comics throughout the twentieth century. I've also started on another project that stems from "The Intermedial era": a biography of the graphic artist Lynd Ward (1905-1985), who published six wordless "novels in woodcuts" in the 20s and 30s. Ward studied in Germany and was steeped in German Expressionism, and his graphic narratives offer sharp critiques of the conditions of life (and the possibility of artistic expression) under capitalism. He also had a successful second career as a children's book illustrator and author, and was awarded a Caldecott Medal for this 1952 book "The Biggest Bear." Ward has recently been reclaimed as a progenitor of the kind of ambitious, long-form graphic narratives that have become popular today; and yet, there is to date no definitive account of his exciting life and important artistic output. I entered "Literary Studies" as the channel I'm primarily interested in working on, though I came to NBN through the Biography forum on H-Net. I've been inundating myself with biographies as research/inspiration for my own work, and would be very happy working on a New Books in Biography channel!

NBN Episodes hosted by Jon:

Mark Edmundson, "Song of Ourselves: Walt Whitman and the Fight for Democracy" (Harvard UP, 2021)

May 26, 2022

Song of Ourselves

Mark Edmundson
Hosted by Jon Najarian

Walt Whitman knew a great deal about democracy that we don’t. Most of that knowledge is concentrated in one stunning poem, Song of Myself. In Song of…

Celia Stahr, "Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist" (St. Martin's Press, 2020)

March 7, 2022

Frida in America

Celia Stahr
Hosted by Jon Najarian

Mexican artist Frida Kahlo adored adventure. In November, 1930, she was thrilled to realize her dream of traveling to the United States to live in San…