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An Officer of Civilization

The Poetics of Michel Houellebecq

Nurit Buchweitz

Michel Houellebecq posits himself as an officer of civilization, offering a map of contemporary reality and according literature a substantial role in the field of public involvement. His unique style problematizes contemporary cultural processes and deconstructs the aesthetic and ideological thought-habits that design the collective imaginary of our era. As such, this book seeks to analyze the particularities of Houellebecq’s poetics in the context of literary tradition, intertextual relations, psycho-cultural aspects and social semiotics, alongside contacts with the contemporary field of art. The author focuses on Houellebecq’s poetical differentia specifica, the unique and innovative intersection between the cooperation with transnational capitalism and the resentment toward ignorant indulgence in it. This book reads Houellebecq as both iconoclastic and subversive and at the same time as a commodity in the literary marketplace and shows how his narratives are harnessed for the purposes of activism in the service of engaged impact.
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About the author


Nurit Buchweitz is a Senior Lecturer of Comparative Literature at Beit Berl College in Israel. She has previously published the books Permit to Pass: Generation Shift, Meir Wiezeltier and the Poetry of the 1960s (2008, Hebrew); In Other[s] Words: Studies in Hebrew and Arabic Literature (2010, Hebrew); Sensational Visual Pleasures in Cinema, Literature and Visual Culture: the Phallic Eye (2014).

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