Michel Houellebecq and the Literature of Despair (Hardback)
  • Michel Houellebecq and the Literature of Despair (Hardback)
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Michel Houellebecq and the Literature of Despair (Hardback)

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£90.00
Hardback 224 Pages / Published: 21/11/2013
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Widely acknowledged as an important, if highly controversial, figure in contemporary literature, French novelist and poet Michel Houellebecq has elicited diverse critical responses. In this book Carole Sweeney examines his novels as a response to the advance of neoliberalism into all areas of affective human life. This historicizing study argues that le monde houellebecquien is an `atomised society' of banal quotidian alienation populated by quietly resentful men who are the botched subjects of late-capitalism. Addressing Houellebecq's handling of the `failure' of the radical thought of `68, Sweeney looks at the ways in which his fiction treats feminism, the decline of religion and the family, as well as the obsolescence of French `theory' and the Sartrean notion of `engaged' literature. Reading the world with the disappointed idealism of a contemporary moralist, Houellebecq's novels, Sweeney argues, fluctuate between despair for the world as it is and a limp utopian hope for a post-humanity.

Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
ISBN: 9780826422620
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 517 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 14 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Sweeney's monograph is the best in English so far ... Her close textual analyses are perceptive, well-written and sometimes even funny. -- Gavin Bowd, University of St Andrews * H-France Review *
The volume contains an index and an extensive bibliography, incorporating Francophone and Anglophone work on Houellebecq and relevant theory ... [Sweeney's] delineation of the Houellebecquian oeuvre as an intensifying disengagement is unparalleled. * Modern Language Studies *
Sweeney's book is a painstakingly researched and carefully written study of Houellebecq's novels. It will provide students and scholars with a very thorough contextual understanding of the cultural origins of Houellebecq's ideas and with a bracing and persuasively argued critique of his various ideological positions. * Douglas Morrey, Associate Professor of French Studies, University of Warwick, UK *
`Vital exhaustion' - this book confronts what for Houellebecq is a key experience of the contemporary. Carole Sweeney steers readers through Houellebecq's paradoxical and multi-faceted response to emotional life under neoliberalism, and reminds us that behind all the controversy, this is a major thinker and a major chronicler of our times. -- Timothy Mathews, Professor of French and Comparative Criticism, University College London
Writing clearly, and often sharply, Sweeney deftly situates her subject in France's ever-changing intellectual and political climate. Her study will interest literary and gender scholars, sociologists of knowledge, and historians; perhaps it should be required reading by economists and business leaders who have embraced American-style capitalism and its implicit claims to liberation. * Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature *

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