- Professor of French and Text/Image Studies (French)
Research and Teaching Interests:
The present literary epoch has been of exceptional duration: 400 years. There are many symptoms that it is at an end. The comic book for example has been seen as a degenerate literary form instead of as a nascent pictorial and dramatic form which has sprung from the new stress on visual-auditory communication. (Marshall McLuhan)
poesia tacens, pictura loquens… (Pliny)
If a picture paints a thousand words… (Telly Savalas)
Laurence (also known as Billy) Grove’s research activities focus upon word/image interaction from the early days of printing onwards. He works specifically on the emblem book (and related material) in the pre-industrial period, and the bande dessinée today. In short Professor Grove provides a modern approach to the emblem and a historic approach to comics.
These elements come together in his work as Director of the Stirling Maxwell Centre for the Study of Text/Image Cultures, whose material holdings, via the riches of Glasgow University Library and the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, are unrivalled.
Professor Grove is President of the International Bande Dessinée Society, and Vice-Président of Les Amis de Tristan L’Hermite, the foremost society for the study of the Louis XIII period. As well as serving on the consultative committees of a number of journals, he is general editor of Glasgow Emblem Studies, and co-editor of European Comic Art. Laurence Grove has co-curated a recent exhibition (Breaking the Renaissance Code), organised or co-organised ten international conferences, and authored (in full, jointly or as editor) nine books and approximately fifty chapters or articles.
Recent invited lectures have allowed Professor Grove to talk about Romans and Victorians, Saint Joseph, metafiction, unfunny Nazi comics, Tintin and Scottish Nationalism, and a sexy dead canary.
His other hobbies include skiing (badly), and supporting Glasgow Warriors, Partick Thistle and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Billy believes firmly that research should feed in to teaching. Having previously been nominated for GUSRC Student Teaching Awards for Most Organised Course and Most Innovative Teaching, he was delighted to be recognised for the University of Glasgow's Most Innovative Teaching in 2013, and hopes that his teaching is becoming continually more innovative.
- Comic Invention Hunterian exhibition (March to July 2016) featuring never-before displayed international loans, alongside works by Hogarth, Picasso, Rembrandt, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Frank Quitely, and others. The exhibition will have an associated book publication of the same name.
- National Comics Academy Longterm work towards the creation of an institution for Scotland that foregrounds the culture of comics.
Areas of supervision:
Any area of text/image culture, specifically emblematics and bande dessinée or graphic novels.
Professor Grove currently supervises nine PhD students and one MPhil student working on various strands of text/image culture.