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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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‘Fascism’ as Excess and Abjection: Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones

‘Fascism’ as Excess and Abjection: Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones

Chapter:
(p.93) Chapter 3 ‘Fascism’ as Excess and Abjection: Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones
Source:
Our Nazis
Author(s):

Petra Rau

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748668649.003.0004

This chapter focuses on Robert Harris’s alternative history thriller Fatherland and Ian McEwan’s novel Black Dogs. It discusses the novels’ paranoia about contintental evil in the context of Holocaust commemoration and axieties about contemporary European integration. While both novels claim to be horrified by European history they also manage to be fascinated by fascist aesthetics (such as the SS uniform) and by the the Holocaust as an industrialised extermination project with concomitant bureaucracy. Both novels feature visions of concentration camps - in the form of bureaucratic paper trails, ruins or visitable memorial sites or in the form of fantasies of absolute dominance. The chapter analyses the grammar of these fantasies as symptoms of a cultural ambivalence towards fascism that manifests itself as literary and commemorative dark tourism.

Keywords:   Ian McEwan, Robert Harris, Black Dogs, Fatherland, alternative history, Holocaust commemoration, uniforms, concentration camp, dark tourism, fascism

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