While waiting for death, I still had the Journal des dix-neuvièmistes
In an interview published by Mediapart a few days before the release of Soumission, Michel Houellebecq explains the genesis of this novel: "It was not to be called Soumission, the first title was La Conversion. And in my first project the narrator also converted to Catholicism. That is to say, he followed the same path as Huysmans, a century away: from naturalism to become Catholic. And I didn't manage to do that." Islam was therefore initially absent from the project, which makes you smile when you know how much this theme has obsessed criticism. Another interest of this interview, we learn that Houellebecq could probably have considered himself an imaginary friend of Huysmans in the same way as his narrator, and that he would have liked it. Indeed, at the beginning of his literary career, around thirty-five, Houellebecq read Huysmans, at least before the release of his first novel. For Bernard Maris, this ode to Huysmans that is Submission is very interesting to address the issues of Houellebecquian writing: "Huysmans; we understand a posteriori where Houellebecq drew his style and humor." Of course, the novel includes many nineteenth-century authors: direct mentions, delicate allusions and hidden references abound, which are more or less easily revealed. Our discussion will focus in particular on the part of the novel that is declined in diary. But Huysmans dominates: he opens the novel twice, with an epigraph taken from...
Tonnerre, Olivier. "While waiting for death, I still had the Journal des dix-neuvièmistes". (2018).