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Montée aux médias sur fond de scandale : Le cas de Soumission de Michel Houellebecq

Journal article
Authors Ugo Ruiz
Mette Tjell
Published in Bergen Language and Lingustics Studies
Volume 10
Issue 1
Pages 1-11
ISSN 1892-2449
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 1-11
Language fr
Keywords Michel Houellebecq, literary scandal, transgression, mass media, marketing strategies
Subject categories Languages and Literature, Specific Literatures, General Literature Studies


The article questions the dynamics of the contemporary literary scandal through the controversy caused by the novel Submission (2015) by the French writer Michel Houellebecq. This novel seeks to provoke the reader by staging a scenario that plays on the fears of Islam. The study focuses on a TV interview with Houellebecq at the Journal de France 2, on January 6, 2015, the day before the publication of the novel. The analyse shows that the journalist aims to bring out the writer’s personal point of view, which is likely to enhance the desirable polemic, whereas the writer remains evasive asserting the autonomy of literature. From this performance on the media scene, one can observe the constructed character of literary polemics of today, where the transgression becomes the pretext to attract public attention. This new logic of literary polemics seriously questions the possibility of real scandals to arise in literature.

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