Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism

By Ben Jeffery

Michel Houellebecq, writer of 5 novels together with Atomised and Platform, has develop into very likely the world’s most famed literary pessimist. His paintings proclaims that lifestyles is painful and disappointing, dying is terrifying, and the human situation is a foul type of funny story. He has been wildly winning – translated into over 25 diversified languages and hailed because the voice of a new release. starting with Houellebecq’s novels, this publication explores the idea that of ‘Depressive Realism’ in literature and philosophy – the proposition that the proof of lifestyles are bleak and unkind. Ranging over paintings by means of David Foster Wallace, Susan Sontag, Fredric Jameson and Margaret Atwood, Anti-Matter surveys the case for pessimism, asks how a mass tradition rooted in sentimentality and trivialisation manages to supply loads cynicism and apathy, and hunts for the gap that is still for critical, life-affirming art.

Show description

Preview of Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism PDF

Similar Literary Criticism books

Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters

Right here, during this compelling meeting of writings, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Annie Dillard explores the area of traditional evidence and human meanings.

The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (Galaxy Books)

This hugely acclaimed research analyzes many of the traits in English feedback throughout the first 4 many years of this century.

How Literature Works: 50 Key Concepts

How Literature Works is an vital booklet for any reader looking a better appreciation in their favourite novel, poem, or play. It deals a full of life and easy advisor to literary pondering. With a chain of compact essays, the popular literary critic John Sutherland--widely favorite for his wit and transparent reasoning--strips away the obscurity and pretension of literary research.

Extra resources for Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism

Show sample text content

The answer to this crucial fallibility is to remake human fabric – the epilogue of Atomised tracks an epoch-shifting transformation as Djerzinski’s genetic study lighting fixtures how one can the construction of a race of sexless, benevolent, ‘neo-human’ immortals. The ebook ends with a tribute to humanity: a species that at last realized sufficient to have the opportunity and prepared to engineer its personal extinction. 28 2 What sturdy are Books? i used to be definite no matter what could impress social swap. Now i feel it was once megalomania… a unique won’t ever swap the area. Michel Houellebecq a part of the mythology of literature is nice novel exists as a weather-vane to the age, trained through and informing the temper of the days, concurrently symptomatic and diagnostic, reflecting the actual issues of its spot in background, which, in flip, tell the deeper issues of human existence. The ‘conceptual’ trouble for contemporary fiction, in an effort to communicate, may besides be termed the trouble of realism. considering that a minimum of 1919, while Virginia Woolf released ‘Modern Fiction’, there was a unfastened yet power consensus between ‘serious’ writers that the area has replaced in ways in which makes Jane Austen-type vintage realism irrelevant, in order that for those who fairly desired to be lifelike you are going to sarcastically locate most sensible expression in science-fiction or a 29 postmodernist aesthetic, denying the potential of realism as an possible or fascinating goal (cf. the critic Jerome Klinkowitz: ‘If the realm is absurd, and what passes for truth distressingly unreal, why spend time representing it? ’) the explanations for this regular, notwithstanding now itself virtually unfashionable, shift in feeling are much-discussed yet obdurate. certainly probably the most notable issues there's to note analyzing renowned feedback from the final half-century is how ghoulishly unaltered convinced matters stay. ponder those 3 quotations: ‘the precept of redundancy… is the vital disease of recent lifestyles. … contemplate the sheer multiplication of artworks to be had to each one in every of us, superadded to the conflicting tastes and odors and points of interest of the city setting that bombard our senses. Ours is a tradition in response to extra, on overproduction; the result's a gradual lack of sharpness in our sensory adventure. all of the stipulations of contemporary existence – its fabric plenitude, its sheer crowdedness – conjoin to bland our sensory schools. ’ ‘for a author of fiction to consider that he doesn't relatively stay in his personal state – as represented by means of existence or via what he sees while he steps out front door – needs to look a significant occupational danger. ’ ‘The activity of the trendy artist, as of the trendy guy, is to discover whatever he might be honest and critical in; whatever he can suggest. And he would possibly not in any respect. ’ 30 The first is from Susan Sontag’s ‘Against Interpretation’, the second one from Philip Roth’s ‘Writing American Fiction’, and the 3rd from Stanley Cavell’s ‘Music Discomposed’ – essays released in 1964, 1961, and 1967, respectively. they're 3 sturdy examples of concerns that, of their essence if now not their details (in the second one quote, you'll exchange ‘ existence journal’ with ‘Google’ and delete the necessity to go away the home), are as proper at the present time as once they have been once they have been written.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.85 of 5 – based on 10 votes