Theological Redemption, Memory, and Mimesis in Art Spiegelman’s Maus

Kevin Elliott


This paper seizes upon Art Spiegelman’s Maus as a case study and troubles James E. Young’s distinction (which he borrows from Saul Friedlander) between redemptive, common memory and nonredemptive deep memory. I outline how a redemptive common memory is essential for posterity to respond to ethical imperatives engendered by the Holocaust, theorized directly by Giorgio Agamben and indirectly by Max Haiven. I articulate this argument in Maus as a memoir of mimesis and a work that “shocks” the reader out of preconceived understandings of the Holocaust into symbolically absent and redemptive understandings through its recontextualization of Holocaust images and photographs.

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EISSN: 1927-6206
University of Victoria