Time flies: remnants of Auschwitz in Art Spiegelman’s Maus

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This article examines Art Spiegleman’s Maus (1997) in the context of Marianne Hirsch’s notion of postmemory and Giorgio Agamben’s definitions of the terms wargus, colossus, and Muselmann, in order to understand how the graphic novel illuminates the ways in which relationships contribute to intergenerational trauma. The relationships between survivors and the second generation, as well as their individual relationships with the Holocaust itself, continue to traumatise all involved. Though some writers have argued against the validity of the second generation as a true witness to the Holocaust or as sufferers of intergenerational trauma, Maus renders such arguments powerless and reveals them to be unhelpful. Instead, Maus demonstrates that relationships and a lack of real, tangible connection to the events of the Holocaust can create a trauma that extends through the past and perpetuates itself in those who come after.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-38
Number of pages14
JournalColloquy:Text, Theory, Critque
Early online date23 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Art Spiegelman
  • Maus
  • Intergenerational trauma
  • Marianne Hirsch
  • Postmemory
  • Giorgio Agamben
  • Homo sacer
  • Muselmann
  • Holocaust


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