Art Spiegelman Criticism - Essay

Michael Rothberg (essay date winter 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rothberg, Michael. “‘We Were Talking Jewish’: Art Spiegelman's Maus as ‘Holocaust’ Production.” Contemporary Literature 35, no. 4 (winter 1994): 661-87.

[In the following essay, Rothberg discusses the themes of Jewish-American identity and consumer culture in Maus, asserting that Spiegelman utilizes the visual medium of the comic book to critique representations of the Holocaust that have become commodities of popular culture.]


He's dying, he's dying. Look at him. Tell them over there. You saw it. Don't forget … Remember this, remember this.


(The entire section is 9445 words.)

Michael E. Staub (essay date fall 1995)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Staub, Michael E. “The Shoah Goes On and On: Remembrance and Representation in Art Spiegelman's Maus.MELUS 20, no. 3 (fall 1995): 33-46.

[In the following essay, Staub argues that Maus examines the dilemma of adequately representing the Holocaust in ways which are meaningful to modern readers.]

In some of the huts are huge glass-enclosed showcases of death. Behind the glass are great bunches of human hair, piles of shoes, stacks of eyeglass frames, heaps of gold teeth and silver fillings, a tangled mass of crutches and artificial limbs, a jumble of dishes, pots, and brushes, and mounds of valises, prayer shawls, books,...

(The entire section is 5899 words.)

Thomas Doherty (essay date March 1996)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Doherty, Thomas. “Art Spiegelman's Maus: Graphic Art and the Holocaust.” American Literature 68, no. 1 (March 1996): 69-84.

[In the following essay, Doherty examines how Maus utilizes the visual medium of the comic book as a means of depicting the Holocaust and compares the work to various cinematic representations of the Holocaust.]

In presenting a “Special Award” to Art Spiegelman's Maus in 1992, the Pulitzer Prize committee decided to finesse the issue of genre. The members were apparently befuddled by a project whose merit they could not deny but whose medium they could not quite categorize. The obvious rubric (Biography) seemed...

(The entire section is 4780 words.)

Sheng-Mei Ma (essay date 1997)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ma, Sheng-Mei. “Mourning with the (as a) Jew: Metaphor, Ethnicity, and the Holocaust in Art Spiegelman's Maus.Studies in American Jewish Literature 16 (1997): 115-29.

[In the following essay, Ma discusses the significance of cultural identity, particularly Jewish identity, to the reading of Maus, noting that Spiegelman is “acutely aware that his comics reach a large audience across ethnic and national boundaries.”]


In “Prisoner on the Hell Planet” (originally drawn in 1972), the only segment peopled with human figures out of Maus I (1986) and Maus II...

(The entire section is 4878 words.)

Arlene Fish Wilner (essay date spring 1997)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Wilner, Arlene Fish. “‘Happy, Happy Ever After’: Story and History in Art Spiegelman's Maus.Journal of Narrative Technique 27, no. 2 (spring 1997): 171-89.

[In the following essay, Wilner observes that Maus employs a variety of ironic juxtapositions to examine the unique difficulties of representing the Holocaust, such as the escapism associated with the comic book genre versus the grim realities of the World War II.]

Although George Santayana's injunction—to remember the past lest we be condemned to repeat it—has become a cliché, more recent students of history have observed that the study of the past does not necessarily provide...

(The entire section is 7863 words.)

Alison Landsberg (essay date spring-summer 1997)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Landsberg, Alison. “America, the Holocaust, and the Mass Culture of Memory: Toward a Radical Politics of Empathy.” New German Critique 71 (spring-summer 1997): 63-86.

[In the following essay, Landsberg discusses the significance of Maus and the comic book genre as a medium for representing the Holocaust from a fresh visual and emotional perspective.]

Like those birds that lay their eggs only in other species' nests, memory produces in a place that does not belong to it.

—Michel de Certeau1

In the final scene of Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993), a...

(The entire section is 10036 words.)