Houellebecq’s Priapism: The Failure of Sexual Liberation in Michel Houellebecq’s Novels and Essays

Benjamin Boysen

Abstract


"Presenting a vision of a post-industrial neoliberal consumer society obsessed with pleasure and desire, dictating how the individual must desire and enjoy, Houellebecq’s art discloses how Western societies’ instinctual structure entails an alienated, stressed, and frustrated libido. The notion of priapism thus helps us appreciate Houellebecq’s originality in spelling out this paradox in which his characters find themselves compelled to desire against their own will."

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