Maurice Sendak in Queer Jewish Context
Hosted By: Jewish Studies at Fordham University
The late Jewish American artist Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) changed the face of children’s literature and paved the way for the reconsiderations of monstrosity and Otherness that pervade contemporary media, from Sesame Street to Stranger Things. His emotionally isolated, unruly, and ethnically particular protagonists use fantasy to resist social coercion and self-erasure.
In Wild Visionary: Maurice Sendak in Queer Jewish Context (Stanford University Press, 2020), Golan Moskowitz investigates the evolution of Sendak’s artistic vision and its appeal for American, Jewish, and queer audiences. The present talk will offer a pointed discussion of Wild Visionary, illuminating how Sendak’s multiple perspectives as a gay, Holocaust-conscious, American-born son of Yiddish-speaking Polish immigrants informed his life and work. It will also explore how the artist’s work interacted dynamically with his cultural surroundings, offering insights into experiences of marginality and emotional resilience that remain relevant and visionary to this day.
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