(Re)Building, (Re)Creating and (Re)Imagining: Postmemory Representations of Family Through the Eyes of Rafael Goldchain and Art Spiegelman

Elise Polkinghorne


Survivors of a trauma must deal with the life-long effects that result from their experiences. Depression, fear and a sense of isolation from society are only a few of the associated long-term effects of trauma. These traumatic repercussions are often passed down to their immediate family. These second and third generations must then live under the shadow of a trauma to which they were temporally displaced, but must cope with nonetheless. This paper deals with the concept of postmemory as it affects second generation Shoah, or Holocaust, survivors Art Spiegelman and Rafael Goldchain. Through an analysis of Spiegelman’s Maus and Goldchain’s I Am My Family, we can see not only how both artists work through their experience of postmemory via creative means, but how their use of the Verfremdungseffekt, a theory developed by Bertolt Brecht as a means of creating emotional distance, allows their pictorial representations of the Shoah to become bearable to a modern audience.


postmemory; Verfremdungseffekt; Rafael Goldchain; Art Spiegelman; Shoah; visual arts; Bertolt Brecht

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18357/tar41201312699

Copyright (c) 2013 Elise Polkinghorne


This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported License.


ISSN 1923-1334 (Online)

University of Victoria