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Glass, Susannah Ketchum: "Witnessing the Witness. Narrative slippage in Art Spiegelman’s Maus." In: Life Writing 3.2 (2006), S. 3–24.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Glass2006b
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Keywords: "Maus", Autobiographie, Holocaust, Identität, Memoria, Spiegelman. Art, USA
Collection: Life Writing
Art Spiegelman’s Maus is notoriously difficult to categorize, and the confusion that surrounded its initial publication raises important questions about the nature of memory narrative, the role of the authorial voice in “remembered” and “received” history, and the function of representation. In this article, I demonstrate the counter-discursive potential of memory, and I argue that though biographical in generic approach, Maus is autobiographical in narrative result. By constant oscillation between Vladek’s “Survivor’s Tale” and the survival narratives of Artie the son and Art the artist, Spiegelman plays with the notions of effect and affect inherent in memory; Vladek’s memories of his experience in the Holocaust effect (produce) Artie’s story, but by setting off in search of his father’s memories, Art the artist creates the vehicle for their delivery, thereby affecting their reception. Vladek’s experience as a Holocaust survivor is historically real, but the only way for Art to approach it is through memory. By reconstructing his father’s story, however, Art constructs his own; in the process, both Vladek the memory transmitter and Art the memory translator are seen to be manipulative. Without denying the reality of a unique and individual experience of the Holocaust, this essay seeks to illustrate the way in which Spiegelman’s text demonstrates the “palimpsestuousness” of identity and allows the reader to re-envision the role of memory in a post-Holocaust age.
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