Edited By Benjamin Keatinge and Mary Pierse
Drawing on the disciplines of history, art, economics and literature, and dipping into the good wines of France and Ireland, the book paints a fascinating picture of the relationship between the two countries over three dramatic centuries.
The Enfant Terrible of French Letters: Michel Houellebecq
Rarely has a writer, even a French writer, polarized public opinion in the way that Michel Houellebecq has done for the past two decades. Since the publication of his biography of Howard P. Lovecraft, subtitled significantly Contre le monde, contre la vie, in 1991, he has produced work that is both counter-cultural and exceptionally controversial. It would be difficult to find a more appropriate or controversial subject in terms of the public imagination, in France and in Ireland, than this enfant terrible of French letters.
Les Particules élémentaires, published by Flammarion in 1999, and in English translation as Atomised in 2000, brought Houellebecq to public attention for his negative portrayal of the sexual revolution, swingers’ clubs and unbridled permissiveness that apparently leave people feeling even more empty than when they live in isolation from the world. It also made the daring prediction of the possibility of human cloning – this at the end of a novel in which the ambience of hopelessness and desperation is omnipresent. Finally, a French writer seemed to have emerged who was capable of following in the footsteps of Sartre and Camus. Existence is absurd; there is no God; it is impossible to find meaning; how can one live in such uncertainty? These are the type of issues raised in Houellebecq’s novels and poetry. In his biography of Lovecraft, he wrote: ‘L’âge adulte, c’est l’enfer. […] Principe de réalité, principe de plaisir, compétitivité, challenge permanent, sexe et placements […] pas de...
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