Littell's The Kindly Ones and the Aesthetic Moment of Max Aue: a Socio-aesthetical Approach

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Almost three decades after the publication of ‘Male fantasies’; the fascinating cultural and psychological inquiry into the minds of German Freikorps officers in the interwar period by cultural sociologist Klaus Theweleit; the American-French author Jonathan Littell wrote the bestseller novel The Kindly Ones (original: Les Bienveillantes). The novel recounts the experiences of the fictional SS officer Max Aue and Littell is clearly well informed through former historical and cultural research; and especially through the research of Theweleit. Still; the novel The Kindly Ones rattled the cage after it was released in 2006. The book managed to win two important French awards; though multiple literary critics reviewed the book in shock; criticizing the novel with adjectives as monstrous and perverse. Why is the aesthetic fantasy; apparently; more forceful and appalling than the truth?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventCurrent Issues in European Cultural Studies - Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden
Duration: 15 Jun 201117 Jun 2011


ConferenceCurrent Issues in European Cultural Studies
Internet address


  • Jonathan Littell
  • Les Bienveillantes
  • The Kindly Ones


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