Kultur, Zoologi og metafysisk spekulasjon

Michel Renault, meet Michel Houellebecq

In Litteratur on april 10, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Excerpts cited from the first page of the novel Platform (2001) by Michel Houellebecq, and an interview with Houellebecq by Susannah Hunnewell (2010).

Father died last year. I don’t subscribe to the theory by which we only become truly adults when our parents die; we never become truly adults.

– Michel Renault

[According to the narrator in Whatever, “one hates the young.”] That’s the other part of the trap. The first is professional life, the fact that nothing else is going to happen to you. The second is that now there’s this person who will replace you and who will have experiences. This leads to the natural hatred of the father for his son.

– Michel Houellebecq

As I stood before the old man’s coffin, unpleasant thoughts came to me. He had made the most of his life, the old bastard; he was a clever cunt.

– Michel Renault

There is some kind of physiological and psychological change in a woman when she gets pregnant. It’s animal biology. But fathers don’t give a shit about their offspring. Hormonal things occur, things that no culture can do anything about, that generally make women like children and men basically not give a damn.

– Michel Houellebecq

‘You had kids, you fucker … ‘ I said spiritedly, ‘you shoved your fat cock in my mother’s cunt’. Well, I was a bit tense, I have to admit; it’s not every day you have a death in the family. I’d refused to see the corpse. I’m forty, I’ve already had plenty of opportunity to see corpses; nowadays, I prefer to avoid them. It was this and that had always dissuaded me from getting a pet.

– Michel Renault

The disappearance of patrimonial transmission means that an old guy today is just a useless ruin. The thing we value most of all is youth, which means that life automatically becomes depressing, because life consists, on the whole, of getting old. There is a need for intensity. From time to time, you have to forsake harmony. You even have to forsake truth. You have to, when you need to, energetically embrace excessive things. Now I sound like Saint Paul. “Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” For me the sentence would be “Now abideth beauty, truth, and intensity; but the greatest of these is intensity.”

– Michel Houellebecq

I’m not married, either. I’ve had the opportunity several times, but I never took it. That said, I really love women. It’s always been a bit of regret, for me, being single.

– Michel Renault

I think that there is a sharp contrast for most people between life at university, where they meet lots of people, and the moment when they enter the workforce, when they basically no longer meet anyone. Life becomes dull. So as a result people get married to have a personal life. So marriage is just a reaction to a largely solitary life. Some people have a sex life and others don’t just because some are more attractive than others. I wanted to acknowledge that if people don’t have a sex life, it’s not for some moral reason, it’s just because they’re ugly. Once you’ve said it, it sounds obvious, but I wanted to say it.

– Michel Houellebecq

It’s particularly awkward on holiday. People are suspicious of single men on holiday, after they get to a certain age: they assume that they are selfish, and probably a bit pervy; I can’t say they’re wrong.

– Michel Renault

When women become sexual tourists, that is even more hidden, shameful, and taboo than when men do it. What shocked people was that I depicted sexual failure. I wrote about sexuality in a nonglorifying way. Most of all I described a basic reality: a person filled with sexual desire who can’t satisfy it. That’s what people don’t like to hear about. Sex is supposed to be positive. Showing frustrated sexual desire is obscene. But it’s also the truth.

– Michel Houellebecq


Houellebecq, M. 2001: Platform.

Hunnewell, S. 2010: Michel Houellebecq, The Art of Fiction No. 206. The Paris Review. Fall 2010. No. 194

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