The concept of black humor and Edgar Hilsenrath's novel Der Nazi und der Friseur / Astrid Klocke.
This dissertation attempts to define the concept of black humor and its variations within German and American literary criticism. The history of the concept of humor serves as a larger frame of reference. Black humor is distinguished from satire: whereas satire has didactic intentions, based on ethical or religious value systems from which the object of the satirical attack has deviated, black humor sets out to attack the very notion of any set value system. In the second part of this dissertation, Charlie Chaplin's film satire The Great Dictator and Edgar Hilsenrath's Holocaust novel Der Nazi and der Friseur are compared in order to illustrate this difference. The black humor features of Hilsenrath's novel expose the reader to a unique set of challenges: one, to withstand the narrative perspective of an unreliable and despicable perpetrator of atrocities; and, two, to deal with the moral ambiguity of the black humor in light of the Holocaust. This novel thus raises important questions about the limits of representing the Holocaust.
Record last modified: 2018-05-24 14:02:00
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