“Germany asks: is it OK to laugh at Hitler?” Translating humour and Germanness in the paratexts of Er ist wieder da and Look Who’s Back

Peter Jonathan Freeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within imagological approaches, paratexts can provide insights into how the Other of translated literature is presented to a new target audience. So, within a transnational context, such as Germany and Britain’s shared experience of the Second World War, can the source and target-culture paratexts invoke the same images? Through a case study of Er ist wieder da, a novel that satirises Germany’s relationship with its National Socialist past, and the British publication of the English translation Look Who’s Back, this article finds that while the novel’s humour is reframed by the British publisher, the novel’s controversial position within Germany’s Vergangenheitsbewältigung discourse remains intrinsic to the paratexts published in the British press. As such, this article demonstrates the transnational relevance of individual national characteristics to the paratextual framing of translated literature, the value of paratexts as objects of imagological study, and the methodological benefits of distinguishing between production- and reception-side paratexts.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)115-137
Number of pages23
JournalTranslation Spaces
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2021

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