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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An interrogation of art’s ability to face unpleasant truths. However, I suppose the biggest takeaway is that, in the end, you must believe in something though that something will say everything about YOUreminds me of a brutally ontological poet I once knew–my mentor for a time, actually.
Ranging over work by David Foster Houelpebecq, Susan Sontag, Fredric Jameson and Margaret Atwood, Anti-Matter surveys the depressve 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.
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The Millions: Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism by Ben Jeffery
We appreciate your feedback. Along the way, most of his energy is spent trashing The Possibility of an Island, which I consider H’s best novel. Houellebecq and other French writers like Virginie Despentes seem to be on one side of an interesting conversation taking place in France right now.
Comments are open to registered bookforum. Sort of an argument against cynicism, but for a pessimism kept in check by the obviousness that pessimism itself is a form of logical inconsistency. Please click here to register for a free account. On an immediate social level, the enormity of published work has the effect of isolating readers. And this is in large part what makes Anti-Matter feel vital: The general dispersal of culture into fragmented and miscellaneous units in the information-age has a more pronounced effect on literature, if only because novels typically take longer to read than films take to watch or albums take to listen to.
Trenchant essay that highlights the tensions in Houellebecq’s work, namely what’s the point of producing art or doing anything really if his pessimistic vision of life – nothing matters in a cold, indifferent universe – is true. Despite his own doubts, he successfully uses Houellebecq as a vehicle for meditating on significant questions about art and philosophy.
Ben Jeffery’s slim Anti-Matter: His work declares that life is painful and disappointing, death is terrifying, and the human condition is a nasty sort of joke. I especially enjoyed the way in which Jeffery was able to keep his own bias largely hidden he is obviously for the most part an optimist with pessimistic sympathies, like myself and his own conclusions largely ambiguous.
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He edits The Quarterly Conversationan online periodical of literary essays and reviews. Please review your cart.
You submitted the following rating and review. Michel Houellebecq, author of five novels including Atomised and Platform, has become possibly the world’s most famous literary pessimist.
The title should be at least 4 characters long. Booth recognizes why these dogmas are seductive—they play into a disaffected worldview based on alienation from religion anto-matter politics—but he offers good reasons to reject them. One Dimensional Woman Nina Power Exposes the dark heart of contemporary cultural life by examining pornography, consumer capitalism and the ideology of women’s work. Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping.
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Open Preview See a Problem? He has been wildly successful — translated into over 25 different languages and hailed as the voice of a generation. But then again, isn’t is basically superfluous to ask for a good reason for art to exist?
Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism
Do men and women really speak different languages? Tim Graham rated it really liked it Nov 30, Zizek and the Media.
I especially enjoyed the way in which Jeffery was able to keep his ow I think, although Jeffery has particular disdain for it, I houelllebecq have to after many “false-starts” give Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island another shot. Looking for beautiful books? Against the need for speed, Malign Velocities tracks acceleration as realksm symptom of the ongoing crises of capitalism.
The Best Books of Also draws in David Foster Wallace as another writer who grappled with the same tensions but came out in a different place. Changemakers Books – Transformation.