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Michel HouellebecqHumanity and its Aftermath$
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Douglas Morrey

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318610

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318610.001.0001

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Science and Religion

Science and Religion

Chapter:
(p.114) Chapter Three Science and Religion
Source:
Michel Houellebecq
Author(s):

Douglas Morrey

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846318610.003.0004

Houellebecq's conception of life will be considered with reference to his little-discussed first-published work, a study of the American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, as well as in relation to his frequently-professed admiration for Arthur Schopenhauer. The work of all three figures would appear to reveal life as the site of misery, cruelty and struggle which can, at best, be opposed by the complaint of literature. This is certainly the view of life in La Possibilité d’une île, Houellebecq's most ambitious science-fiction narrative, in which a humanity dedicated to brutal sexual competition and the ruthless side-lining of the old eventually chooses its own destruction in favour of a placid, featureless, inhuman future. The final section of the book will explore the paradoxes of this situation, examining the ramifications of Houellebecq's ambiguous utopia while also considering how this vision of a meditative existence implies a residual attachment to religion on Houellebecq's part.

Keywords:   La Possibilité d’une île/The Possibility of an Island, H. P. Lovecraft: Contre le monde, contre la vie/H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life, Arthur Schopenhauer, Science fiction, Evolution, Posthumanism, Utopia, Sublime, Religion

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