Fascinating (British) Fascism: David Britton’s 'Lord Horror'

Noys, Benjamin (2002) Fascinating (British) Fascism: David Britton’s 'Lord Horror'. Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice, 6 (3). pp. 305-318. ISSN 1364-2529

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Abstract

Although we are familiar with films and novels as sites of ‘fascinating fascism’ (Sontag) there has been comparatively little attention paid to comics or the graphic novel. David Britton’s 'Lord Horror' forces us to confront this absence. These graphic novels offer an historical fantasy based on the life of the pre-war fascist and wartime traitor William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw Haw. This disturbing representation of fascism is an explicit challenge to the anti-fascist consensus in post-war British culture. 'Lord Horror' operates as an act of ‘counter-memory’ in recovering a repressed British fascism. It also represents fascism as a carnivalesque transgression. In doing so it uses the hybrid form of the comic book (that mixes text and images) to explore the penetration of fascism into both high and low culture. This representation inverts our sense of fascism as a limited historical phenomenon and also raises questions concerning the politics of history itself. Through an engagement with the work of Walter Benjamin these highly unusual graphic novels scramble the codes on which historical representation rests. This scrambling raises the question of ‘fascinating fascism’ with an extreme urgency and, at the same time, suggests that it cannot be resolved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: carnival, counter-memory, fascism, historiography, the graphic novel
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JC Political theory
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing. Design. Illustration > NC1300 Pictorial humour, caricature, etc.
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Departments > English and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Benjamin Noys
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2013 15:32
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2017 09:37
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/1006

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