Reading Art Spiegelman
The horror of the Holocaust lies not only in its brutality but in its scale and logistics; it depended upon the machinery and logic of a rational, industrialised, and empirically organised modern society. The central thesis of this book is that Art Spiegelman's comics all identify deeply-rooted madness in post-Enlightenment society. Spiegelman maintains, in other words, that the Holocaust was not an aberration, but an inevitable consequence of modernisation. In service of this argument, Smith offers a reading of Spiegelman's comics, with a particular focus on his three main collections: Breakdowns (1977 and 2008) , Maus (1980 and 1991), and In the Shadow of No Towers (2004) . He draws upon a taxonomy of terms from comic book scholarship, attempts to theorize madness (including literary portrayals of trauma), and critical works on Holocaust literature.
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