An interrogation of art’s ability to face unpleasant truths. Michel Houellebecq, author of five novels including Atomised and Platform, has become possibly the world’s most famous literary pessimist. His work declares. Ben Jeffery’s Anti-Matter is the kind of intelligent, sophisticated response to provocative work that affirms criticism’s value as art in itself.
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He has been wildly successful – translated into over 25 different languages and hailed as the voice of a generation. I think, although Jeffery has particular disdain for it, I will have to after many “false-starts” give Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island another shot.
Your display name should be at least 2 characters long. Jeffery is correct in noting that pessimism is integral to much of the literature that feels especially alive right now—Kafka, Beckett, Bernhard—but defaulting to pessimism is not enough.
Post Cinematic Affect Steven Shaviro This book ponders the fate of the movies in a world of digital media, globalization, and massive financial flows.
Svend Pedersen rated it liked it Nov 21, Feb 26, Tobias rated it really liked it. Good survey of Houellebecq’s work, although a bibliography and page numbers would be nice to chase up references.
Jon Natalicio rated it really liked anf Aug 15, We need literature and criticism that seeks ways out, rather than allowing artists to wallow in bleak solipsism.
Anti-matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism – Ben Jeffery – Google Books
The Map and the Territory. His writing has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian. Or does he take all those quotations from here or a specialised collection? William Pierce rated it it was amazing Nov 16, Larry rated it liked it Dec 08, His work declares that life is painful and disappointing, death is terrifying, and the human condition is a nasty sort of joke.
Lovecraft to the Speculative Realist philosophers.
Description Michel Houellebecq, author of five novels including Atomised and Platform, has become possibly the world’s most famous literary pessimist. Would you like us to take another look at this review?
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. Employing the usual depressive men-about-town Schopenhauer et al.
Refresh and try again. John Antoniello rated it liked it Jun 01, What Does it Mean to be Human?
Changemakers Books – Transformation. A bit ranty for an essay too, but this makes it entertaining. An interrogation of art’s ability to face unpleasant truths. Returning to those quotations: Carlos rated it really liked it Feb 07, The Myth of Mars and Venus: Zizek and the Media. Apr 21, Shauna rated it it was amazing. No trivia or quizzes yet. The Revolution of Everyday Life. It’s pointing out the glaring contradiction in “depressive realist” novelist Michel Houellebecq’s books: He edits The Quarterly Conversationan online periodical of literary essays and reviews.
Ranging over work by David Foster Wallace, Susan Sontag, Fredric Jameson and Margaret Atwood, Anti-mather 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 is an example of the kind of rigorous and refined criticism that one rarely stumbles across these days.
For instance, on page 77, Jeffery quotes a paragraph from Pascal, which I am sure I have also read realisj in Houellebecq’s book with BHL or in an article about his work.
Psychotherapy and the Quest for Happiness.