Comics artist Barbara Stok talks about her brilliant reimagining of the life of the Cynic philosopher Hipparchia.
Looking for Wisdom Interview: Comics artist and writer Barbara Stok talks about dogs, Cynics, philosophers, and the art of living.
Here at Looking for Wisdom, we’ve long been fascinated by the Cynic philosopher Hipparchia. So we were wildly excited when we stumbled across Dutch comic artist Barbara Stok’s sublime The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding.
The book is a beautiful and meticulously researched graphic novel that reimagines Hipparchia’s life, and explores what we might learn from it. First published in Dutch, The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding is now available in English translation from Self Made Hero. It is a delight from the first page to the last. And it touches on deep philosophical questions with enormous charm and a lightness of touch.
A couple of weeks back, we caught up with Barbara to talk about philosophy, dogs, gender, comics, cynicism both contemporary and modern, and what we might learn from ancient philosophy
Q1: Hello, Barbara! Great to meet you. First off, we’d love to know what first attracted you to Hipparchia.
Hi Will, great to meet a fellow Cynics enthusiast. I’ve been interested in philosophy for over 20 years, I took up classes at university. And Stoicism has become an important part of my life. When I was in my 30s my husband Ricky and I wanted to have children, but that didn’t work out. The Stoics helped me get over the grief. Since then, I still do Stoic exercises regularly to get peace of mind about daily irritations and such.
So after I finished my graphic novel Vincent, about Vincent van Gogh, it was logical to me to choose a philosopher as my next subject. In a book about women philosophers I found Hipparchia. I had never heard of her, but her story immediately appealed to me. I knew right away I wanted to make a story about her.