08 mars 2015

Houellebecq Skewers French Academe

By Robert Zaretsky. For several years, Michel Houellebecq has been France’s most celebrated writer and also its most controversial. But the infamy sparked by his earlier novels like Whatever, Elementary Particles, and Platform, evaporates under the klieg lights trained on his most recent work, Soumission. It has topped French best-seller lists since its publication in early January—the same week as the terrorist attacks in Paris, when a caricature of Houellebecq was featured on the cover of Charlie Hebdo. More than a literary sensation, Soumission has become a historical event.
Houellebecq, then, needs no introduction—except in French universities. There, professors of contemporary literature have, for the most part, ignored the chain-smoking, wild-haired, and bleary-eyed novelist. More...
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