The American Reception of Max Aue


In 2006, American-born novelist Jonathan Littell, writing in French, published with Gallimard a 900-page historical novel, Les Bienveillantes, chronicling in graphic and often shocking detail the wartime experiences and sex life of a retired and unrepentant SS officer, the fictional Maximilian Aue. The title, “Les Bienveillantes” is the French term for the Eumenides—thus an allusion to the Oresteia and to questions of judgment and punishment for crimes.

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