Entre tradition et innovation : La représentation de la violence et de ses effets traumatisants dans Les Bienveillantes (2006) de Jonathan Littell

  • Angelika Groß (Autor/in)


In contemporary literature, we cannot but notice a certain tendency to narrative as well as thematic transgressions and Jonathan Littell’s novel The Kindly Ones (2006), can be cited as an example par excellence. The reader finds himself face to face with an autodiegetic narrator who presents the story as his biography, but also as a historical novel and first and foremost as a testimony in the tradition of the literature of the Shoah but adopting the perpetrator’s perspective. Littell takes up traditional literary genres such as the ones mentioned above and modifies or deforms them and – most notably – combines them, producing a complex text based on narrative as well as thematic transgressions situated in the context of the Second World War which pushes the limits of what is considered culturally acceptable as well as spatial or temporal limits. The present contribution investigates this oscillation between tradition and innovation, focusing on the representation of violence and its traumatising effects as well as the marks left in the text.