Subverting satire: Edgar Hilsenrath's Novel der Nazi und der Friseur and Charlie Chaplin's film the great dictator

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Abstract

Charlie Chaplin's film The Great Dictator, a straightforward satire of Hitler and the Nazi movement, serves as a point of departure for Edgar Hilsenrath's Holocaust novel Der Nazi und der Friseur (The Nazi and the Barber). A comparison of their satiric elements and strategies demonstrates that the novel subverts the film's humanitarian appeal by ridiculing both perpetrators and victims of the Nazi atrocities. The novel's pervasive black humor undermines the satirical impulse and instead questions the validity of absolute categories in the representation of evil. For this reason, Hilsenrath's work occupies a special place within the tradition of Holocaust literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-513
Number of pages17
JournalHolocaust and Genocide Studies
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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