La Bienveillance de la critique polonaise: The Polish Reception of Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones

Helena Duffy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Focusing on those arguments which polemicize with the criticism directed at Littell’s novel in the West and which can illuminate our understanding of this complex text Helena Duffy’s article offers a survey of Polish reactions to The Kindly Ones. Following one of the critics, Duffy posits abjection as the force behind both Aue’s matricide and the ‘Final Solution as well as a possible explanation of some of the novel’s puzzling elements (e.g. the protagonist’s implausibility). Finally, while speculating about the possible reasons for an overwhelmingly positive reception of Littell’s novel in Poland, Duffy places such a unanimous acclaim in the context of the Poles’ recent coming to terms with the uncomfortable issue of their role in the Holocaust.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWriting the Holocaust and World War II Today
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Perspectives on The Kindly Ones
EditorsAurélie Barjonet, Liran Razinsky
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherEditions Rodopi B.V.
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameFaux Titre


  • Jonathan Littell
  • Holocaust
  • Polish reception
  • anti-Semitism

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