A Transtextual Hermeneutic Journey

Horst Rosenthal's Mickey au camp de Gurs (1942)

in European Comic Art
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  • 1 Levinsky College of Education cobisacerdoti@gmail.com
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Gérard Genette's transtextuality theory serves as the basis for a hermeneutic inquiry into Horst Rosenthal's Mickey au camp de Gurs. Multiple levels of meaning emerge from transtextual links to other literary genres and works of Western culture, from Disney's early animations to fairy tales and satire, concluding with Dante's Inferno. This article analyses Rosenthal's transtextual discourse and shows how his use of the comic genre to depict the horrors of the Gurs internment camp involves readers in what happened there and produces a text that speaks to all. Using Mickey Mouse, the international cartoon hero, alongside referencing the Inferno, a cornerstone of the Western canon, turns Rosenthal's experience into a universal one and permits author and reader to focus on the emotional level that transcends all rationality.

Contributor Notes

Yaakova Sacerdoti is Head of the Department of Literature and Children's Literature at Levinsky College of Education in Israel. She has written Melody of Fate: The Holocaust in Comics Books during the 40s and the 50s of the 20th Century (published in Hebrew in 2018); Together and Separately as Well: On the Child and the Adult Addresses in Children's Literature (published in Hebrew in 2000) and articles published in academic journals around the world, and she is the author of the series Merging Voices, on Israeli literature and society. She taught literature at the University of Michigan and the University of Phoenix and for ten years headed the Department of Hebrew Language and Literature at the Frankel Jewish Academy. Her current research focuses on the representation of the Holocaust in comic books, graphic novels and children's books. Email: cobisacerdoti@gmail.com


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