Between two readings of the society invaded by the sexual revolution, the jurors of the Nobel Prize for Literature preferred the idolatry of sex to lucidity, believes the writer Henri Quantin.
With their perpetual polemics on the over-representation of males in the charts, the only thing that feminists have succeeded in is to make suspect an ideological choice each time a woman is rewarded with a prize other than that of Miss bare breasts. In 1928, when Sigrid Undset won the Nobel Prize for Literature, no one thought that the jury had felt obliged to choose a woman, even less that it crowned the conversion of the Norwegian novelist to Catholicism in 1924. The jury rewarded a great work, that’s all.
With Annie Ernaux’s Nobel Prize, there is room for doubt, as her books, without exception, are a tribute to what the ambient ideology praises continuously, starting with the supposed benefits of “women’s liberation”. “After Simone Veil at the Panthéon, remarks a young reader unconvinced by the novel The Event, it had to happen… Abortion is a good purveyor of national heroines. The supporters disappointed by the failure of Houellebecq had good reason to say that the sex of their foal was an insurmountable handicap.
All of Claudel’s work, it is said, stems from his 1886 Christmas illumination in front of a pillar of Notre-Dame. More advantaged, Annie Ernaux, experienced two successive revelations: at Carrefour and in front of Canal Plus. The first took place in Annecy in the early seventies, while she was shopping. Annie Ernaux suddenly thinks that supermarkets are absent from literature; she will therefore be the supermarket writer. The second revelation, more solitary, is reported at the beginning of a easy passion. As she watches an X film on television for the first time, without a decoder, Annie Ernaux is overwhelmed at the idea of contemplating what hundreds of generations before them have not been able to see.
Even for those who avoid confusing the effect of writing with the subject matter, the two revelations contain all of Annie Ernaux’s future work: mass consumption and the idolatry of sex.
Therefore, she believes that literature should tend to “this impression that the scene of the sexual act provokes”. Even for those who avoid confusing the effect of writing with the subject matter, the two revelations contain all of Annie Ernaux’s future work: mass consumption and the idolatry of sex. The essentially sexual part gives a series of thin volumes with a strong autobiographical content, Little Brown Bears for adults, whose commercial merit is to marvelously marry the supposed advances of the sexual revolution. Most of the praise that Annie Ernaux receives moreover stems more from the self-celebration of our time than from literary criteria: her abortion, her passion for a married man from the East, her relationship with a thirty-year-old boy from less than her. By celebrating Ernaux, our time contemplates and admires itself, laughing to see itself so beautiful and so modern in this mirror.
A fascination with the sexual revolution
On the supermarket side, there’s no denying that Years, by far his best book, draws up an impressive “slippery story” of seventy years of evolution of French society towards standardization through consumption, skilfully navigating between collective memory and individual memory. Especially since the arrival of television, each man is made as much by his personal story as by the advertising slogans or hit songs that everyone hears. Sociological survey of Bourdieusian spirit accessible to all more than novel, Years is undeniably a work that everyone can read with interest.
The problem is that Annie Ernaux’s fascination with the sexual revolution constantly skews the investigation, which can never adopt another view than that of the liberated woman professor of left-wing literature. Here, as in all her work, Annie Ernaux seems perpetually under the influence of the upheaval of her first porn film, showing her enjoying body, alone or with a man, as if she were boasting about a social achievement. Annie Ernaux, of course, is not unaware of her critical lucidity on the myths of our time and on her old certainty of youth in that “May 68 was the first year of the world”. However, the critical distance she places from it today does not relate to the sexual revolution itself or its supposed saving effects, elements of an untouchable progressive mythology, but to the betrayal and oblivion of the glorious month.
Annie Ernaux’s entire itinerary shows, in spite of herself, the way in which liberated sex takes power and never lets go. The porn film does not only give Ernaux a model for writing, but a model for life.
To understand our time and “how we got here”, the ideal is to complete or correct Years with Elementary particles by Michel Houellebecq. Everything that Annie Ernaux sings, taking the enjoyment of her body as a liberated woman to witness, is what Houellebecq, at least in his best pages, sees as empty, or what he deflates the imposture. Annie Ernaux is a fervent believer in the religion of fulfillment through sex which has replaced Christianity. Annie Ernaux’s entire itinerary shows, in spite of herself, the way in which liberated sex takes power and never lets go. The porn film does not only give Annie Ernaux a model for writing, but a model for life. Nothing sums up his universe better than this passage from Yearswhere she looks at herself in the mirror, comparing her naked body to the one she has seen in X movies.
Complacency versus lucidity
Annie Ernaux is too fascinated by her body as a liberated woman to see, in this “intimate” painting, the unnoticed result of the sexual revolution, where the body exists only in submission to the criteria of the pornographic industry. A reader less fascinated by May 68 has some difficulty seeing in this beautiful mirror the reflection of a liberated woman, even less that of a free woman. It is all the same astonishing that a woman supposedly concerned with the feminine cause espouses such an idealized vision of pornography. Michel Houellebecq, whom Annie Ernaux gladly calls a phallocrat, is much more lucid when he places one of his characters in the Hot video salon and perceives there a desire to humiliate the other by all means. The same gap in their view of the pill, a new Blessed Sacrament for Annie Ernaux, an instrument for the extension of market violence to the intimate sphere for Michel Houellebecq.
In short, Michel Houellebecq shows the convergence of two themes that Annie Ernaux associates only very little: sex and the supermarket. The sexual revolution, for Michel Houellebecq, is liberalism and its unlimited competition extended to sex: the strongest accumulate women or men, possibly by paying when they have the means; the weakest find themselves alone, for lack of people available in stock! Loyalty was in this sense much more egalitarian and fairer, preventing the weakest from being a product thrown away immediately after consumption. By preferring the outsider Annie Ernaux to the favorite Houellebecq, the Nobel jurors probably did not prefer one literary work to another. They may not even have preferred a woman to a man. They offered our time a favorable mirror, preferring a literature which caresses the reader in the direction of the hair to a literature which puts the finger where it hurts.
We would love to give thanks to the writer of this write-up for this incredible web content
Nobel Literature: Annie Ernaux versus Michel Houellebecq
Take a look at our social media accounts and other related pageshttps://kjovi.com/related-pages/