Date of Award





English Language and Literature - Literature Concentration




In the last two decades, a considerable number of contemporary French authors have employed metafiction—a narrative mode in which texts themselves purposefully call attention to the fact that they are fiction—when writing novels which attempt to grapple with traumatic events, namely World War II and the Holocaust. In attempting to understand this popular, but controversial literary phenomenon—called historiographic metafiction—, this thesis contextually analyzes Laurent Binet's Himmler's Him heisst Heydrich (2010), a contemporary French novel about the assassination of real-life Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich. This thesis also compares Binet's text to two other contemporary French historiographic metafictional novels about World War II and the Holocaust—Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones (2006) and Yannick Haenel's The Messenger (2009)—to assert that Binet's text successfully maintains both historical truth and fictional embellishment, whereas Littell's and Haenel's texts are too fictionalized, and therefore fail to maintain enough historical accuracy to be considered historically true.