Art Spiegelman's Maus

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The topic of the essay is Art Spiegelman’s Maus and my main aim is to try to convey and discuss the thematic aspects of the work in combination with its influence upon the studies regarding the Shoah.
The essay opens with an extremely brief and general introduction about the birth of the graphic novel in the U.S., and follows with a summary of Art Spiegelman’s biography. After giving a description of Spiegelman’s masterpiece, I will focus on the so called issue of post-memory and on its repercussion on the peculiar relationship between father and son represented in this comic book.
The genesis, the development and the definition of the parameters into which the graphic novel is born are broad and controversial topics, and if one would want
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Arthur Spiegelman is born in Stockholm in 1948, but already in 1951 his family, of polish origins, moves to New York. He enrolls at Harpur College and starts to study art and philosophy, but after two years he quits. In 1962 he sells his first drawing to the Long Island Post, and the next year he publishes comics such as Garbage Pal Kids and Wacky Packages (Lambiek Comicopedia).
In 1980, on the magazine Raw , the first chapter of his masterpiece Maus is issued, thanks to which he wins the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. His comics and drawings appear in numerous magazines and newspapers, from the New York Times to the Village Voice and the New Yorker, and they have been exhibited in different museums and galleries in the U.S. and abroad.
He currently lives in New York with his wife Françoise Mouly and their two children, Nadja and Dashiell.
As mentioned before, the first chapter of Maus, A Survivor’s Tale appeared in 1986. Spiegelman’s masterpiece, finished in 1991, takes place during the Second World War and deals with the tragedy of the Shoah, based on the stories of the author’s father, who survived the concentration camp of
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My Father Bleeds History deals with the rapid worsening of the living condition of the Polish Jews in the years preceding the war, while the second part, And Here My Troubles Began, offers a clear cross section of the life of the displaced people in the concentration camp during the war.
The narration of the happenings of the Nazi era is interrupted by snap-shots of everyday life, showing the complicated relationship between Spiegelman and his father: the father, survivor of the horrors of the Nazism, leads an impossible life and imposes this extenuating situation to the people around him ; the son, apparently blasé, is tormented by an enormous sense of inappropriateness towards his father’s past.
All this is transformed, at the end, in a kind of auto analysis of the author, who completely experiments the meaning of being the son of a deportee, showing how the terrible things suffered by the parents inevitably extend also to the following generation.
With the distinction between Erzählzeit (the time of the narration, the interview to the dad) and the erzählte Zeit (the narrated time, the experience of Auschwitz) the narrator wants to underline the rift between he and his father, emphasizing the fact that he didn’t go through what his dad had to
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