By Ben Jeffery
Michel Houellebecq, writer of 5 novels including Atomised and Platform, has turn into potentially the world’s most renowned literary pessimist. His paintings announces that lifestyles is painful and disappointing, demise is terrifying, and the human is a foul type of funny story. He has been wildly profitable – translated into over 25 diverse languages and hailed because the voice of a iteration. starting with Houellebecq’s novels, this ebook explores the concept that of ‘Depressive Realism’ in literature and philosophy – the proposition that the evidence of existence are bleak and unkind. Ranging over paintings by way of David Foster Wallace, Susan Sontag, Fredric Jameson and Margaret Atwood, Anti-Matter surveys the case for pessimism, asks how a mass tradition rooted in sentimentality and trivialisation manages to provide quite a bit cynicism and apathy, and hunts for the gap that continues to be for severe, life-affirming paintings.
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Extra info for Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism
Christian witness in a liberal society is an extremely difficult one to formulate. Most of us, myself included, feel repugnance when confronted with the advertising-like quality much Christian witnessing has taken on in the media. Between the arrogance, the indiscretion, and the vulgarity of such testimony, on the one hand, and the flight into polite and prudent silence in the name of the private character of belief and respect for others, on the other, the most honest and courageous form of testimony, where it is needed and required by both the situation and our fellow human beings, is neither easy to discover nor to formulate.
Proofs and Three Parables. New York: Granta Books, 1983. 38 Chapter 3. —. Real Presences: Is There Anything in What We Say? London & Boston: Faber and Faber, 1989. —. Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism. New York: Knopf, 1959. Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. Cambridge, MA & London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007. —. Varieties of Religion Today: William James Revisited. Cambridge, MA & London: Harvard University Press, 2002. Weinberg, Steven. ” New York Review of Books 20 November 2008.
It should be guarded in the inviolate sanctuary of the self, even where the sanctuary is empty, where it is inhabited by that active, vibrant emptiness which was that of the holy of holies in the tabernacle. If there is anything entitled to final privacy, to enclosure in heart and mind, it is surely one’s personal faith as it ripens toward the solipsism of death or the dismissal thereof” (MUB 196). This stance, which seems less Judaic or Catholic than Protestant - the Protestantism (albeit without the stress on “emptiness”) that goes hand-in-hand with the Enlightenment - might well be contrasted with Taylor’s more Catholic conviction regarding the “inherently social” nature of worship, wherein “we are called upon to live together in brotherly love, and to radiate outward such love as a community.