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

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>The Australian Journal of French Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)53–69
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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.