Adolf Hitler, with his manifesto Mein Kampf, was among the first of several twentieth-century dictators who founded their regimes on their books' cult followings. For uninitiated readers, Hitler introduces his “transformation into an anti-Semite” as a crisis of conversion, one embedded in an autobiographical narrative with the characteristic features of the Bildungsroman. He colludes with the party elite, however, over the heads of the masses (characterized as female), offering the former an exclusive compact among males that entices with its glimpse behind the scenes of hegemonic knowledge, where the elite may follow as insiders the creative process of ideology construction. The inner circle of Hitler's supporters is thus less taken by a blind fanaticism than initiated into the enjoyment of the performative character of verbal violence.

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