Art Spiegelman's Maus is the story of an American cartoonist's efforts to uncover and record his father's story of survival of the Holocaust. It is also a cartoon, where the Jews are mice, the Nazis cats, the Poles dogs, and the French, well, you'll have to read it.It's a story of survival and also a story of silences, and how the next generation can find and make sense of stories that seem to defy representation in their sheer horror. It's also a triumph in story-telling and a serious meditation on good and evil; on the nature of Romantic; familiar and filial love; on America's legacy of absorbing immigrants who arrive with often unspeakable traumas in a past that finds little resonance in a culture obsessed with entertainment and fast news.Maus upended the conventions of representing the Holocaust and historical trauma for a far greater audience than the American Jewish communities. It broke several rules: it spoke about past suffering to outsiders, it used low-culture to represent catastrophes, and it refused to turn the catastrophe of the Holocaust into a redemptive tale.It charted a way for others to take possession of their parents' stories without betraying them but also without letting them overwhelm the next generation, analogous to Alex Haley's magisterial Roots. I spoke with Hillary Chute, a scholar of cartoons and American literature and Distinguished Professor of English and Art + Design at Northeastern University.Uli Baer is a professor at New York University. He is also the host of the excellent podcast "Think About It" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Hillary Chute is the Author of Why Comics? From Underground to Everywhere and a Professor of English and Art + Design at Northeastern University. Her new book focuses on the maturing field of Comics, as she likes to call it, with the popularity of the graphic novel form. In this interview she breaks down the chapters of her book into Why Punk? Why Sex? Why Suburbs, and weighs in on the political power of comics, their cultural place in American history and the power of the drawn line. Heidi Legg dives in with Comics expert, author and Professor Hillary Chute in this compelling interview around a maturing field long nascent in America covering everything from superheroes, comics classics, graphic novels, sexual harassment, free speech, the emerging comics in the form of editorial and journalism and more.
Get appearance alerts
Subscribe to receive notifications by email whenever this creator appears as a guest on an episode.