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Our NazisRepresentations of Fascism in Contemporary Literature and Film$
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Petra Rau

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748668649

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748668649.001.0001

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The Good German: The Stauffenberg Plot and its Discontents

The Good German: The Stauffenberg Plot and its Discontents

Chapter:
(p.125) Chapter 4 The Good German: The Stauffenberg Plot and its Discontents
Source:
Our Nazis
Author(s):

Petra Rau

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748668649.003.0005

This chapter discusses the construction of the fascist perpetrator in Jonathan Littell’s controversial novel Les Bienveillantes (The Kindly Ones) and the rhetoric through which the narrator enters into a contract with the reader. The protagonist is seen as an overdetermined figure composed of wealth of intertextual sources from historical studies to Holocaust and perpetrator fiction. The novel’s excess (its graphic, extended details about sex and violence) is examined through Julia Kristeva’s notion of abjection and it is placed in the context of our contemporary consumption of traumatic history, or what Amos Goldberg’s has called ‘melancholic pleasure’. The chapter makes a case for the importance of perpetrator fiction and against Holocaust piety in our overall understanding of violent and traumatic history.

Keywords:   Jonathan Littell, The Kindly Ones, Les Bienveillantes, perpetrator fiction, Julia Kristeva, abjection, Holocaust fiction, Amos Goldberg, excess, fascism

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