"Of Maus and Men(sch)," an exhibit created by students in English professor Judith Lewin’s Freshman Year Preceptorial, "Jewish + Graphic + Novel," is open in the Periodicals Reading Room at Schaffer Library.
It runs through April 15.
The course, held winter term, focused on reading graphic novels written by Jews on Jewish subjects, learning critical analysis and learning to write college-level essays. "We investigated the creation of the graphic novel genre, its terminology and visual and textual logic, and why and how it became associated with Jews and Jewish issues," said Lewin.
"Maus" refers to "Maus: A Survivor’s Tale," by Art Spiegelman, a biography in graphic narrative form of the author's father, Vladek Spiegelman, a Holocaust survivor. The only comic book ever to have won a Pulitzer Prize, the work depicts Jews as mice and Germans as cats.
Working in teams, students designed small displays around a variety of themes, including representations of Jews and non-Jews in Jewish graphic novels; love, family and feminism; guilt; inhumanity; and the appeal of graphic novels to the college student.
"I had never read a graphic novel and assumed that all graphic novels were comic books like Spiderman and Archie comics,” said Alix Cantor ’14. "I really enjoyed learning about a whole new medium and genre in literature."
"The uniqueness of each student as well as insight to their personal connection with the works of the class are perfectly reflected in the cases on exhibit in the library," said Tom Raymond '14, whose topic was “Images of Non-Jews."