In your analysis of Maus, you will cite a relevant authoritative secondary source: a critical essay, book review, or interview published in an academic journal or a well-regarded news publication. The handout on secondary sources that I distributed in class includes passages from some studies of Maus. That handout can be downloaded below, and the excerpts also appear in a later section of this post.
Why Cite an Authoritative Secondary Source?
Quoting or paraphrasing an authoritative secondary source gives your writing credibility. It indicates to readers that your ideas are trustworthy and valid because your analysis is informed by the work of an expert.
Citing an authoritative secondary source also links your analysis to a study of Maus that preceded yours. Academic writing is knowledge-building. With your analysis, you are adding to the critical conversation about Spiegelman’s memoir.
Ask yourself, what has a scholar or journalist written about Maus, and how do my own ideas about Spiegelman’s memoir fit into the conversation? Your answers to those questions can serve as a starting point for integrating your own take on Maus with the ideas presented in a secondary source.
Locating Authoritative Secondary Sources
You can also locate scholarly, or peer-reviewed, articles on Maus by following these steps on the libraries’ home page:
- Click on advanced search.
- In the first search index box, select subject. In the search term box to the right, type Spiegelman, Art.
- In the second search index box, select subject. In the search term box to the right, type Maus.
- Click search.
- On the next screen, you will see a list of more than two-hundred sources. You can refine your search by choosing one of the limiters in the menu bar on the left. Selecting articles will narrow the list of sources to fewer than ninety; selecting peer-reviewed articles will limit the list to fewer than twenty.
Another Authoritative Secondary Source
If you watched the live stream of Professor Ruth von Bernuth’s lecture on September 28, you are welcome to use that presentation as secondary source. Here’s how you would integrate one of her points into your analysis:
Ruth von Bernuth, Assistant Professor of Germanic Language at UNC-Chapel Hill, has observed that Jewish persecution in Europe coincided with the medieval pandemic but occurred before the plague as well.
Notice that the signal phrase includes the writer’s first and last name as well as her credentials. The paraphrase does not include a page number because the source is a presentation. The work cited entry, which would appear at the end of the analysis, lists the details of the event:
von Bernuth, Ruth. “Black Death and Jewish Persecution.” Guilford Technical Community College All-College Read Presentation, Microsoft Teams Live Stream, 29 Sept., 2020. Lecture.
Passages from Authoritative Secondary Sources
From Hamida Bosmajian, Professor of English at Seattle University:
“[t]he Nazi flag. . . is never shown unobstructedly unfurled in Maus” (42).
From Nancy K. Miller, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the City University of New York:
“The Success of Maus is due to a double audacity. The first is the choice to represent the Holocaust as a cartoon, the second to cast its star witness as a victimizer in his own world, a petty tyrant at home” (48-49).
From Arlene Fish Wilner, Professor of English and American Studies at Rider University:
“Adam Gopnik has astutely observed that the animal heads attributed to humans in this narrative reflect ‘our sense that this story is too horrible to be presented unmasked’” (109).
From Hamida Bosmajian, Professor of English at Seattle University:
The telling of stories is, of course, a primary means of ordering the disorder of experience; it provides a surface sensibleness that may be perceived as meaningful. Artie, however, will never make any sense or meaning of it all, no matter how many times he articulates the horror verbally and graphically; he can only shape an imitation, an illusion of meaning through the telling of the tale. (30-31)
In an MLA-style manuscript, the quotation above is indented one-half inch because it is one of more than four lines. The quotation marks are omitted because the indentation signals to the reader that the lines are taken word-for-word from the source. For more on presenting long quotations in MLA papers, see A Writer’s Reference (376).
From Hillary Chute, Distinguished Professor of English and Art + Design at Northeastern University:
“The most striking instance of representing past and present together in Maus I is the inclusion of the autobiographical comic strip ‘Prisoner on the Hell Planet: A Case History’” (346).
Bosmajian, Hamida. “The Orphaned Voice in Art Spiegelman’s Maus.” Considering Maus: Approaches to Art Spiegelman’s “Survivor’s Tale” of the Holocaust, edited by Deborah R. Geis, U of Alabama P, 2003, pp. 26-43.
Chute, Hillary. “History and Graphic Representation in Maus.” A Comics Studies Reader, edited by Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester, UP of Mississippi, 2009, pp. 340-62.
Miller, Nancy K. “Cartoons of the Self: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Murderer—Art Spiegelman’s Maus.” Considering Maus: Approaches to Art Spiegelman’s “Survivor’s Tale” of the Holocaust, edited by Deborah R. Geis, U of Alabama P, 2003, pp. 44-59.
Wilner, Arlene Fish. “‘Happy, Happy Ever After’: Story and History in Art Spiegelman’s Maus.” Considering Maus: Approaches to Art Spiegelman’s “Survivor’s Tale” of the Holocaust, edited by Deborah R. Geis, U of Alabama P, 2003, pp. 105-21.
Blog Response Assignment for Monday Students
- Choose one of the article excerpts on your handout from last week—a phrase, a sentence, or two or more sentences—and compose a short piece of writing that presents the passage as you would if you were integrating it into your analysis of Maus. (See the examples below.) Choose a short passage other than the one cited in the examples below. In other words, do not quote or paraphrase Hamida Bosmajian’s observation about the Nazi flag.
- Introduce the source with a signal phrase that includes the author’s first and last name and credentials.
- Include the page number in the parenthetical citation, whether you are quoting or paraphrasing.
- Type your assignment as a reply to this blog post. To do that, scroll down to the bottom of the post, and look for the image of the air mail envelope. If you don’t see it, click on the post’s title, “Citing Secondary Sources,” and scroll down again. Post your comment no later than noon on Friday, October 16.
Note: To avoid the risk of students duplicating their classmates’ replies, I will not make any of the comments visible until after the deadline.
Hamida Bosmajian, Professor of English at Seattle University, has observed that “the Nazi flag. . . is never shown unobstructedly unfurled in Maus” (42).
Hamida Bosmajian, Professor of English at Seattle University, has observed that the field of the Nazi flag is never seen in its entirety in Maus; it is always obstructed (42).
In class on October 14, the Wednesday students read an excerpt from an interview with Art Spiegelman, conducted by Hillary Chute, Distinguished Professor of English and Art + Design at Northeastern University. Chute, who is one of the scholars included on your handout from last week, is the author of several book-length studies of comics–including Why Comics?: From Underground to Everywhere–and is also associate editor of Art Spiegelman’s MetaMaus.
In addition to Hillary Chute’s interview with Art Spiegelman, “Why Maus Remains ‘the Greatest Graphic Novel Ever Written,’ 30 Years Later” is another secondary source that you may cite in your analysis. You may quote or paraphrase the article’s writer, Michael Cavna, or you may quote or paraphrase one of the comic artists he interviewed for the piece. In your signal phrase, include the writer/artist’s first and last name and credentials:
- Washington Post journalist Michael Cavna
- Cartoonist Chris Ware, author of Building Stories
- Comic artist Jeff Smith, creator of the Bone series
- Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese
Sample In-Text Citations
Washington Post journalist Michael Cavna has noted that “amid the massive boom in graphic novels, it can be easy to forget how much of a game-changer Maus was.”
The sample above does not include a parenthetical citation at the end because the source is an unpaginated article on the web.
Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese, credits Art Spiegelman with“set[ting] the standard for the rest of us” (qtd. in Cavna).
The sample above includes a parenthetical citation with the abbreviation “qtd.” because Gene Luen Yang is quoted in the article written by Michael Cavna. It includes brackets because I altered the word “set” to “setting” to keep the sentence grammatical in my context.
For more on brackets and MLA in-text citations, see A Writer’s Reference (376, 384-92).