The Comic in Holocaust Literature: Overcoming Taboo?
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Abstract: The article analyzes the techniques of creating a comic effect in the literature of the XX–XXI centuries devoted to the Holocaust. The work is based on the material of the novels “Mendelssohn is on the Roof” by I. Weil, “The Dance of Genghis Cohn” by R. Gary, “Everything is Illuminated” by J. S. Foer, “The Kindly Ones” by J. Littell and “HHhH” by L. Binet. In the study of novels narrative analysis and the comparative method are used. It is elucidated that comism in the novels is manifested in three aspects: intertextual (intermedial), sociocultural and linguistic. With regard to the first aspect, it was revealed that it is directly related to the specifics of the narrative organization of works. Appeal to culture in the novels of literature on the Holocaust contributes to criticism of the activities of Nazi Germany, culture is a kind of evil antagonist, a way of forcing former war criminals to responsibility and also allows to describe the events of the Holocaust in the context of world history. The study of national stereotypes in the image of a Jew and a German made it possible to identify their traditionalism as a common feature. It is based on a different ideology. For members of the national-socialism following traditions is determined by state coercion which limits their capabilities and leads to destructive consequences. In turn for the Jewish community adherence to customs is associated with religious life, which allows it to adapt to a changing world order. In addition in the Holocaust novels the linguistic aspect of the expression of the comic is significant: an appeal to the German language reveals the ideology of Nazi Germany and the use of Yiddish words reveals the most characteristic features of the Jewish mentality. The studying of above mentioned aspects and techniques of the image of a comic gives the right to say that a similar character of the image allows us to show the Jewish and German nations as distinctive communities. In accordance with the tradition of Jewish humor called “laugh through tears” the comic in the Holocaust literature acts as a way to overcome trauma and contributes to a more objective view of the events of the Jewish genocide.
Key words: HOLOCAUST; HOLOCAUST THEME; WRITERS; LITERARY CREATION; LITERARY TOPICS; COMIC; IRONY; INTERTEXTUALITY.
Zhironkina, E. S. (2020). The Comic in Holocaust Literature: Overcoming Taboo?. In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №2. P. 267-279. DOI 10.26170/FK20-02-24.