Tuesday, December 17, 2013
For Wednesday: Spiegelman's Maus I: My Father Bleeds History
For Wednesday's class, be sure to read as much of Maus I as possible, and bring your Comics Template Response to class. Post one of the questions as a comment below--this is part of your overall participation grade.
Maus (parts I and II) is widely considered one of the greatest graphic novels/comics ever written, and indeed, one of the great works of late 20th century American literature--it even appears in some anthologies of American literature (as the lone example of a comic). It is a complex, endlessly rewarding work that combines history, memoir, biography, politics, and satire in one convenient, accessible package. The metaphor of cats and mice has been exhaustively discussed, and during its initial stages, was much derided or criticized. Indeed, Spiegelman had tremendous difficulty finding a publisher for Maus since many editors found it offensive, objectionable, or too "frivolous" to deal with the horrors of the Holocaust. Spiegelman had the last laugh, though other countries continue to weigh in on the debate, and Maus is actually banned in Poland (perhaps they don't appreciate the metaphor's satirical intent about racism in general?).
As a bonus, here is a slide show documenting the history of Maus including narration by Spiegelman himself. It might give you some insight on the ideas/concerns that led him to produce the work, not just as a testament to his father, but as a graphic novel instead of a traditional novel (and why he refuses to adapt it into a film or animated movie):