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Apocalyptic FuturesMarked Bodies and the Violence of the Text in Kafka, Conrad, and Coetzee$
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Russell Samolsky

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234790

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234790.001.0001

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

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

(p.177) Coda: The Time of Inscription: Maus and the Apocalypse of Number
Apocalyptic Futures

Russell Samolsky

Fordham University Press

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

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