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Anti-matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism

by Ben Jeffery

Anti-matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism Synopsis

Michel Houellebecq, author of five novels including Atomised and Platform, has become possibly the world's most famous literary pessimist. His work declares that life is painful and disappointing, death is terrifying, and the human condition is a nasty sort of joke. He has been wildly successful - translated into over 25 different languages and hailed as the voice of a generation. Beginning with Houellebecq's novels, this book explores the concept of 'Depressive Realism' in literature and philosophy - the proposition that the facts of life are bleak and unkind. Ranging over work by David Foster Wallace, Susan Sontag, Fredric Jameson and Margaret Atwood, Anti-Matter surveys the case for pessimism, asks how a mass culture rooted in sentimentality and trivialisation manages to produce so much cynicism and apathy, and hunts for the space that remains for serious, life-affirming art.

Anti-matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism Press Reviews

A searching and eloquent consideration of one of the definitive bodies of work of our time, Anti-Matter is also a vital essay on the more general difficulties of meaning-making for contemporary novelists and/or human beings. (Benjamin Kunkel, author of Indecision and co-editor of n+1 magazine)

Book Information

ISBN: 9781846949227
Publication date: 25th November 2011
Author: Ben Jeffery
Publisher: Zero Books an imprint of John Hunt Publishing
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 105 pages
Categories: Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literary studies: from c 1900 -,

About Ben Jeffery

Ben Jeffery lives in London. His writing has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian.

More About Ben Jeffery

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