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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 Fascist Corpus in the Age of Holocaust Remembrance: Robert Harris’s Fatherland and Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs

The Fascist Corpus in the Age of Holocaust Remembrance: Robert Harris’s Fatherland and Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs

Chapter:
(p.70) Chapter 2 The Fascist Corpus in the Age of Holocaust Remembrance: Robert Harris’s Fatherland and Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs
Source:
Our Nazis
Author(s):

Petra Rau

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748668649.003.0003

This chapter discusses representations of fascist men in Eric Ambler’s Uncommon Danger, Graham Greene’s A Gun for Sale and Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels, notably the Berlin Noir trilogy. Hardboiled crime fiction is brought into dialogue with fascist ideology through an analysis of constructions of masculinity and the first-person perspective. While 1930s crime fiction has to negotiate constructions of masculinity more carefully, it can still suggest that the fascist worldview can exist in a democratic society. Contemporary thrillers such as Kerr’s novels, set in Nazi Germany and narrated from the point-of-view of the private eye, offer the reader the ambiguous pleasure of a bystander position. The reader inhabits a fascist world but maintains a liminal position towards its ideology: while the protagonist witnesses fascist crimes (which are often highly sexualised), he maintains a merely compromised masculinity against the victim’s subaltern poistion and the fascist’s aggressive and sadistic one. Such dramatisations of fascism are equivalent to historical voyeurism.

Keywords:   Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, Philip Kerr, Berlin Noir, A Gun for Sale, Uncommon Danger, hardboiled fiction, fascist masculinity, crime fiction, first-person perspective

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