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What is Holocaust Perpetrator Fiction?

Pettitt, Joanne (2020) What is Holocaust Perpetrator Fiction? Journal of European Studies, 50 (4). pp. 360-372. ISSN 0047-2441. E-ISSN 1740-2379. (doi:10.1177/0047244120965268) (KAR id:93907)

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In this article, I argue that fiction that centralizes the perpetrator perspective should be understood as a central part of the canon of Holocaust fiction. However, as I aim to show, greater distinction needs to be made between different kinds of perpetrator writing. Comparing fiction about generic Nazis with stories that centralize the figure of Adolf Hitler, I attempt to outline some of the key similarities and differences. Ultimately, perpetrator fiction works by drawing connections with the reader: the implication is that readers also have the capacity for wrongdoing and could, under the necessary conditions, act in atrocious ways. This has implications for reader responses, especially those concerning empathy and judgement. On the other hand, Hitler fiction relies on the ‘otherness’ of the Nazi leader, whose character resists easy normalization. This raises important questions about Hitler’s place in the Western cultural imagination.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0047244120965268
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Joanne Pettitt
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2022 15:32 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2022 14:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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