Abstract

Les Bienveillantes has received mixed responses from critics, some of whom even accused Littell of pornography and revisionism. Against such views, this article argues that Littell's novel offers a highly reflective case of emplotting the Shoah. The use of various plot types, especially of Greek tragedy, and a strong metapoetic dimension make Les Bienveillantes a hyper-coded narrative, which reflects on the relation between fiction and reality. At the same time, it balances “experientiality” with factual information, thereby fully exploring narrative's potential to represent the Shoah and its unrepresentability.

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