The History to the test of fictional invention: HHhH by Laurent Binet as figure case Academic Article uri icon


  • Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Intent on paying hommage to the Czechoslovakian resistors who assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, Laurent Binet devotes HHhH to narrating the feat in all its pathos. Yet Binet adamantly shuns the dangers of imagination, invention, and embellishment, considered as "childish" and "tacky" practices all too often exploited for literary or commercial ends, favoring hypotyposis to the detriment of History with a capital H. When analyzed closely, however, his own text proves to be thoroughly aesthetic, because his text deploys a full array of literary techniques to make his readers imagine that they are witnessing and even participating in this momentous event as it happens. Ultimately, HHhH hinges largely on the figure of preteritio, by which the narrator indulges in the very practices that he declares must be avoided. Subjected to critical scrutiny, the "History" piously invoked throughout HHhH carries highly debatable notions.

published proceedings

  • Symposium - Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures

author list (cited authors)

  • Bracher, N.

complete list of authors

  • Bracher, N

publication date

  • April 2015