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A Journey Through Hell : Dante's influence on Art Spiegelman's Maus
Ireland, Brian
James, Penelope

Date: 2018
Abstract: In The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri conceived of the Inferno as a physical landscape which could be mapped and navigated through. In so doing, he helped created the language and imagery which modern-day writers and artists often turn to when describing Hell. It also created a shared reference point for discussion of horrific events such as the Holocaust/Shoah. For example, in Survival in Auschwitz (1959), Primo Levi turned to Dante's Inferno to make sense of his experiences in the concentration camps. In this paper we suggest that comic book artist Art Spiegelman utilised the imagery and lexicon of the Inferno to create Maus, a two volume biography of his father Vladek Spiegelman, a former inmate of Auschwitz and Holocaust survivor. We posit that there are four key ways in which Spiegelman draws inspiration from Dante's epic work. The first is the stylistic form which Dante and Spiegelman chose to tell their monumental stories. The second is Spiegelman's authorial decision to locate himself in Maus as both narrator and a character. We then consider how Maus explores huge themes of life such as survival and historical memory through complex father-son relationships. Finally, we contend that Spiegelman borrows extensively from Dante's depiction of the physical landscape of Hell to visualise the horrors of life at Auschwitz. Spiegelman utilises structural and thematic elements of Inferno to help explain the tortured relationship he had with his parents, especially the effects on him of his mother's suicide, as well as the difficulties of recording history, particularly an event as immense and traumatic as the Holocaust.
Abstract: Nella Divina Commedia, Dante Alighieri concepì l'Inferno come un paesaggio fisico che poteva essere mappato e attraversato. In tal modo, ha contribuito a creare il linguaggio e le immagini a cui gli scrittori e gli artisti odierni si rivolgono spesso quando descrivono l'inferno. Ha anche creato un punto di riferimento condiviso per la discussione di eventi orribili come l'Olocausto / Shoah. Ad esempio, in Survival in Auschwitz [Se questo è un uomo], Primo Levi si è rivolto a Dante's Inferno per dare un senso alle sue esperienze nei campi di concentramento. In questo articolo suggeriamo che l'artista di fumetti Art Spiegelman abbia utilizzato l'immaginario e il lessico dell'Inferno di Dante per creare Maus, una biografia in due volumi del padre Vladek Spiegelman, un ex detenuto di Auschwitz e sopravvissuto all'Olocausto. Art Spiegelman utilizza elementi strutturali e tematici dell'Inferno per aiutare a spiegare il rapporto torturato che aveva con i propri genitori, specialmente gli effetti su di lui del suicidio di sua madre, così come le difficoltà di registrare la storia, in particolare un evento immenso e traumatico come l'Olocausto.
Rights: Aquest document està subjecte a una llicència d'ús Creative Commons. Es permet la reproducció total o parcial, la distribució, la comunicació pública de l'obra i la creació d'obres derivades, fins i tot amb finalitats comercials, sempre i quan es reconegui l'autoria de l'obra original. Creative Commons
Language: Anglès.
Document: article ; recerca ; publishedVersion
Subject: Dante ; Divine comedy ; Inferno ; Spiegelman ; Maus ; Holocaust ; Shoah ; Divina Commedia ; Olocausto
Published in: Dante e l'Arte, Vol. 5 (2018) , p. 37-60 (Dossier monografico) , ISSN 2385-5355

Adreça original: https://revistes.uab.cat/dea/article/view/v5-ireland-James
Adreça alternativa: https://www.raco.cat/index.php/dea/article/view/v5-ireland-James
Adreça original: https://revistes.uab.cat/dea/article/view/v5-ireland-James/137
DOI: 10.5565/rev/dea.105


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Articles > Published articles > Dante e L'Arte
Articles > Research articles

 Record created 2019-01-08, last modified 2019-12-31



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