Bleeding through, drawing out: The circumscribing of Jewish women’s bodies in Leela Corman’s Unterzakhn | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2040-3232
  • E-ISSN: 2040-3240



Leela Corman’s 2012 graphic novel Unterzakhn is a historical work that depicts the difficult lives of the Feinberg family, Jewish immigrants living in the tenements of New York at the turn on the twentieth century. Focusing on the lives of the Feinberg women, Corman positions their particular bodily vulnerabilities as central for understanding Jewish female embodiment more generally, especially in the context of immigration and integration. In this article, I examine two different but interrelated ways that Corman utilizes the comics form to explore vulnerability in terms of bodily identity formation: in her various methods of ‘visualizing silence’, she shows how bodily and familial trauma become imprinted and muted in the body; and through her careful deployment of drawing Jewish stereotypes, she illustrates the effects of the ‘marked’ body within the majority culture. In Unterzakhn, these artistic strategies display the highly complex internal and external dynamics of bodily life.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): comics and graphic novels; Jewish immigration; trauma; Unterzakhn
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