Australian Journal of French Studies

Ghosts in the Text: Writing Technologies, Authorial Strategy and the Politics of Reactionary Autoimmunity in Houellebecq’s Works

Australian Journal of French Studies (2019), 56, (1), 53–69.

Abstract

In the last decade of his life, Jacques Derrida articulated “autoimmunity” as the safeguarding mechanism with which an entity believing it has been infiltrated with a threatening “other” reacts against itself. Using Derrida’s analysis of politically reactionary forms of autoimmunity, this essay analyses how Houellebecq’s most recent extra-textual reactionary provocations are embedded in the techno-scientific and posthuman vision of his early fictions. Extending Derrida’s metaphor of autoimmunity to Houellebecq’s literary and authorial strategies, I argue that Houellebecq’s willingness to destroy the very channels of his literary and extra-textual provocations is rooted in the extension of neoliberalism to the private and biological spheres of life described in his fictions.

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Author details

Grass, Delphine