Networks of Good and Evil: Michel Houellebecq’s Fictional Infrastructures

Duffy, Larry (2012) Networks of Good and Evil: Michel Houellebecq’s Fictional Infrastructures. Australian Journal of French Studies, 49 (3). pp. 211-225. ISSN 0004-9468. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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A striking feature of Michel Houellebecq's fiction is the pervasive presence of infrastructure, whether consisting of nineteenth-century transport and administrative networks underpinning a national territory, or modern-day electronic networks underpinning those of distribution and exchange in a liberal economy. The former are presented in a largely positive light, and are depicted as creating bonds which connect a cohesive community; the latter, despite their overwhelming presence in all areas of social life, succeed only in disconnecting human beings. The network is thus for Houellebecq a means of establishing the ideological problematics of his work, which critiques the demise of community based on shared moral values, and the rise of an amoral individualism. It represents also a thematic link with other infrastructural networks: those of nineteenth-century fiction. In deconstructing the networks underpinning modern activity, and demonstrating their functioning - and collapse into dysfunction - Houellebecq constructs, like his naturalist predecessors, an epistemological infrastructure of the contemporary world.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > French
Depositing User: Fiona Godfrey
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2012 15:40
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2013 09:32
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