Chapter

Coda: The Time of Inscription: <i>Maus</i> and the Apocalypse of Number

Russell Samolsky

in Apocalyptic Futures

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234790
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241248 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823234790.003.0005

Series: Modern Language Initiative

Coda: The Time of Inscription: Maus and the Apocalypse of Number

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The coda concludes the book's analysis of the way in which particular texts become apocalyptically legible or manifest. It does so by taking account of Spiegelman's self-reflexive meditation on the ethical relation between Maus' literary reception and the dead bodies of the Holocaust that haunt his text. The coda proceeds to compare the fate of two sets of numbers tattooed onto the arms of Anja and Vladek upon their internment in the concentration camp. While Anja later commits suicide by slashing her wrists, thereby fulfilling a fate already inscribed by her number, Vladek is given life by the priest's prognosticatory interpretation of his number. The book concludes by utilizing Benjamin's concept of the “now of legibility” to read the priest's messianic moment of interpretation as a fragile moment of resistance against the law of apocalyptic incorporation.

Keywords: apocalyptic incorporation; Benjamin; Holocaust; incorporation; literary reception; Maus; messianic moment; now of legibility; Spiegelman

Chapter.  11967 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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