French Writers and the Debate Over the ‘French Condition’


On January 8, 2015, The New York Times published an article by Paris correspondent Rachel Donadio, about French author  Michel Houellebecq, “whose polemical — some say prophetic — new novel, “Submission,” imagines a Muslim becoming president of France in 2022.” See “Before Paris Shooting, Authors Tapped Into Mood of a France ‘Homesick at Home’” I recommend it.

According to The Times,

Even before its official release on Wednesday, “Submission” had already set off intense debates in France — about the line between satire and Islamophobia and between fantasy and realpolitik, about the novelist’s (and Islam’s) treatment of women, and about the political mainstream’s struggles to keep pace with the rise of both Islam and the far right — a debate that the attacks are certain to intensify.

The reference is to the January 7, 2015, attack on  Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper, that resulted in the death of eleven of its staffers.


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