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

  • Kevin Elliott University of Victoria


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.

Author Biography

Kevin Elliott, University of Victoria

Kevin Elliott is an MA student in English and Cultural, Social, & Political Thought at the University of Victoria. He received his BA (Hons.) in Cultural Studies & Critical Theory and Political Science from McMaster University. He blogs for Huffington Post and his paper “Symbolic Violence and the 2011 England Riots” is published in Illumine.

Conference Proceedings