Considering Maus: Approaches to Art Spiegelman's Survivor's Tale of the Holocaust

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The first collection of critical essays on Maus, the searing account of one Holocaust survivor's experiences rendered in comic book form.

In 1992, Art Spiegelmans two-volume illustrated work Maus: A Survivor’s Tale was awarded a special-category Pulitzer Prize. In a comic book form, Spiegelman tells the gripping, heart-rending story of his father's experiences in the Holocaust. The book renders in stark clarity the trials Spiegelman's father endured as a Jewish refugee in the ...

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Overview

The first collection of critical essays on Maus, the searing account of one Holocaust survivor's experiences rendered in comic book form.

In 1992, Art Spiegelmans two-volume illustrated work Maus: A Survivor’s Tale was awarded a special-category Pulitzer Prize. In a comic book form, Spiegelman tells the gripping, heart-rending story of his father's experiences in the Holocaust. The book renders in stark clarity the trials Spiegelman's father endured as a Jewish refugee in the ghettos and concentration camps of Poland during World War II, his American life following his immigration to New York, and the author's own troubled sense of self as he grapples with his father's history. Mixing autobiography, biography, and oral history in the comic form, Maus has been hailed as a daring work of postmodern narration and as a vivid example of the power of the graphic narrative.

Now, for the first time in one collection, prominent scholars in a variety of fields take on Spiegelman's text and offer it the critical and artistic scrutiny it deserves. They explore many aspects of the work, including Spiegelman’s use of animal characters, the influence of other "comix" artists, the role of the mother and its relation to gender issues, the use of repeating images such as smoke and blood, Maus's position among Holocaust testimonials, its appropriation of cinematic technique, its use of language and styles of dialect, and the implications of the work’s critical and commercial success.

Informed readers in many areas of study, from popular culture and graphic arts to psychoanalysis and oral history, will value this first substantial collection of criticism on a revered work of literature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Highlights include a discussion of Steven Spielberg’s An American Tail (1986), an animated film that borrowed Spiegelman’s cat and mouse Jew/Jew-hater motif, and

Michael Rothberg’s strong discussion of the problems of turning the Maus theme into a commodity, ‘dangers that the artist recognizes in mass-marketing death,’ and the Holocaust’s resistance to representation. . . . Recommended.”—Choice

“New and previously published essays on the American writer’s two-volume illustrated novel, which depicts his father’s wartime and postwar experiences as a Holocaust
survivor.”—Chronicle of Higher Education

“[This book] reminds the interested reader of the rich interand intra-textual web of visual, graphic, aural, textual, and literal signifiers that make the Maus volumes unique and endlessly compelling.”—Holocaust and Genocide Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817313760
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2003
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah R. Geis is Associate Professor of English at DePauw University and author of Postmodern Theatric(k)s: Monologue in Contemporary American Drama.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Mice and Metaphors, Photographs and Comix: Maus as (Auto)Biography
1 Underground Comics and Survival Tales: Maus in Context 15
2 The Orphaned Voice in Art Spiegelman's Maus 26
3 Cartoons of the Self: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Murderer - Art Spiegelman's Maus 44
Pt. 2 Blood Legacies: Maus and Holocaust Testimony
4 Necessary Stains: Art Spiegelman's Maus and the Bleeding of History 63
5 "Happy, Happy Ever After": Story and History in Art Spiegelman's Maus 105
6 The Language of Survival: English as Metaphor in Art Spiegelman's Maus 122
Pt. 3 Kitsch, "Commerz," and Cybermice: Marketing Maus
7 "We Were Talking Jewish": Art Spiegelman's Maus as "Holocaust" Production 137
8 Read Only Memory: Maus and Its Marginalia on CD-ROM 159
Works Cited 175
Contributors 183
Index 187
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