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𝗣𝗗𝗙 | It is clear that an xenophobic racist party such as Marine LePen's National Front could come to power in contemporary France for the. The best-selling novel in Europe today,. Michel Houellebecq's Soumission, is about an Islamic political party com- ing peacefully to power in France. Its. Žolude's Santa Biblia () and (3) Michel Houellebecq's Soumission [English translation: Submission] (). In each case, the novels are.
He never mentions them. I almost have trouble imagining such an aesthete. For him, beauty was the proof. The beauty of rhyme, of paintings, of music proved the existence of God.
I reread it closely and, in the end, it really is Christian. To go back to the question of your unrealistic exaggerations, in your book you describe, in a very blurry and vague way, various world events, and yet the reader never knows quite what these are. Yes, perhaps.
Yes, the book has a scary side. I use scare tactics. Like imagining the prospect of Islam taking over the country? I leave that unresolved. Have you asked yourself what the effect might be of a novel based on such a hypothesis? No effect whatsoever. No, part of my work is to talk about what everyone is talking about, objectively.
I belong to my own time.
You remark in your novel that French intellectuals tend to avoid feeling any responsibility, but have you asked yourself about your own responsibilities as a writer? But I am not an intellectual.
I deny all responsibility, I claim utter irresponsibility—except when I discuss literature in my novels, then I am engaged as a literary critic. But essays are what change the world. Not novels? Of course not. Though I suspect this book by Zemmour is really too long. Rousseau changed the world, he sometimes knew how to go straight to the point.
That was the subject of The Map and the Territory. One cannot deny there is a contradiction there. On the contrary, the same people are often militant antiracists and fervent defenders of secularism, with both ways of thinking rooted in the Enlightenment.
Look, the Enlightenment is dead, may it rest in peace. A striking example?
But only the Muslims are in an actually schizophrenic situation. On the level of what we customarily call values, Muslims have more in common with the extreme right than with the left. There is a more fundamental opposition between a Muslim and an atheist than between a Muslim and a Catholic.
That seems obvious to me.
FRENCHPDF. COM Michel Houellebecq Soumission
Objectively speaking, there is none. When I was tried for racism and acquitted, a decade ago, the prosecutor remarked, correctly, that the Muslim religion was not a racial trait. This has become even more obvious today. The word may be badly chosen, but there do exist forms of stigma toward groups or categories of person, which are forms of racism … No, islamophobia is not a kind of racism. I think anti-Semitism has nothing to do with racism. But racism exists, apparently, all around us.
Obviously it has existed from the moment when races first began mixing … Be honest, Sylvain! Because he is polygamous, for example. Ah, well, one can be shocked by polygamy without being the least bit racist. That must be the case for lots of people who are not the least bit racist. Seeing as how no one has ever been able to tell whether somebody is Jewish just by his appearance or even by his way of life, since by the time anti-Semitism really developed, very few Jews had a Jewish way of life, what could antisemitism really mean?
Whereas in my book, there is no mention of immigration. In this case, your book describes the replacement of the Catholic religion by Islam. My book describes the destruction of the philosophy handed down by the Enlightenment, which no longer makes sense to anyone, or to very few people.
Catholicism, by contrast, is doing rather well. I would maintain that an alliance between Catholics and Muslims is possible. You who have become an agnostic, you can look on cheerfully and watch the destruction of Enlightenment philosophy?
It has to happen sometime and it might as well be now. In this sense, too, I am a Comtean. We are in what he calls the metaphysical stage, which began in the Middle Ages and whose whole point was to destroy the phase that preceded it.
In itself, it can produce nothing, just emptiness and unhappiness. So yes, I am hostile to Enlightenment philosophy, I need to make that perfectly clear.
Why did you choose to set your novel in the world of academia?
Because it embodies the Enlightenment? Did you know from the beginning that you would write the novel in the first person? Yes, because it was a play on Huysmans. It was like that from the beginning. Yes, I have used things, even if the details are really quite different. My main characters are never self-portraits, but they are always projections. While allowing actual events to insert themselves in your fictional lives.
I use moments that have struck me in real life, yes. But more and more I tend to transpose them.
Life just gives me the basic ideas. In writing this book did you feel you were a Cassandra, a prophet of doom? And yet the book is extraordinarily sad.
Yes, it has a strong underlying sadness. The character has two things to mourn—Myriam and the Black Madonna.
But he happens not to mourn them. What makes the book sad is a sort of ambience of resignation. How would you place this novel in relation to your other books? Like having a very important character whom one never sees, namely Ben Abbes.
They had feelings.
In general, there is a much stronger feeling of entropy than in my other books. It has a somber, crepuscular side, which accounts for the sadness of its tone.
Islam is an image of the future. Why has the idea of the Nation stalled out? There is no trace of romanticism here, much less lyricism. The fact that I started with Huysmans must have something to do with this. The clearest point of connection with my other books is the idea that religion, of some kind, is necessary.
That idea is there in many of my books. Whereas earlier one might have invented a religion, along Comtean lines. Auguste Comte tried in vain to create a religion and, indeed, I have sometimes created religions in my books.
The difference is that this one really exists. This odd malady resulted, in part, from the rise of science and technology and decline in traditional social roles and rituals.
FRENCHPDF. COM Michel Houellebecq Soumission
In a sense, this is also true in its current version, but our seemingly parlous condition is now measured by real or perceived threats to the collective identity of a nation.
Elementary, my dear reader: the European Union. In his acceptance speech, Houellebecq declared he was less interested in the decline of the West than in its murder.
To be sure, Houellebecq has never made a secret of his hatred for Brussels and all that it represents. President Donald Trump for his hostility toward the EU. Nor, for that matter, is Europe. As the Brexiteers have discovered, Europe does indeed have common values and interests. A few years ago, the translator Gavin Bowd revealed that, during an absinthe-soaked party in , Houellebecq declared that he would call for a civil war against French Muslims and for voters to choose Le Pen.
Though Houellebecq never followed through on his drunken vow, Le Pen nevertheless enlisted him to help make her party a place, well, to think. Of course, the medal is little more than a bauble.
But as the man who created the Legion of Honor, Napoleon Bonaparte, remarked, it is with such trinkets that men are led.I noticed some big changes when I moved back to France, though these changes are not specifically French, but rather Western.
The monastery is an important symbol of Charles Martel 's victory over Islamic forces in ; it is also where his literary hero, Huysmans, became a lay member. Yet crane your head above this mix of misogyny and misanthropy and you might catch an unsparing and unsettling view of the social fractures widening on both sides of the Atlantic.
Both culturally and demographically, what secular France has created cannot survive. You can feel that this can't continue. The removal of this triumphantly free woman signals the end of the Republic. Die Zeit. We are in what he calls the metaphysical stage, which began in the Middle Ages and whose whole point was to destroy the phase that preceded it. The new president campaigns to enlarge the European Union to include North Africa , with the aim of making it a new Roman Empire , with France at its lead.
Contrary to the platitudes of the Left Bank, Houellebecq suggests authentic freedom can now only be found in ethnic-nationalist Israel—an arrow he aims squarely at the heart of bien-pensant France.
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