(Re)telling Ripper in Alan Moore's From hell: history and narrative in the graphic novel

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English


Department of English


Advisor: James Boehnlein


When Alan Moore began his work on From Hell in the 1980s, the popular conception of the graphic novel as low-brow" art still reigned. The inclusion of extensive annotations as an appendix to the novel, providing references and explanations in a manner that reflects academic conventions, attempts to situate his novel as not "merely" a creative fictionalization of the Ripper murders, but as a genuine, scholarly hypothesis as to the identity and motive of the killer. His hypothesis is so fantastic, however, that it nearly demands to be dismissed as pure conspiracy theory. Conflicting notions of scholarship and conspiracy raise questions about the abilities of narrative historiography to provide insight into the past. Moore grapples with issues of research and myth-building in a second, graphic appendix, and the two appendices work together examining the limitations of academic discourse as a whole and its ability to provide clear-cut answers to historical events."


Moore, Alan, 1953- Criticism and interpretation, Jack, the Ripper Comic books, strips, etc, Comic books, strips, etc. History and criticism, Graphic novels

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2010, author