Book Excerpt! Degenerative Realism (introduction)

One of the smartest books I’ve had the pleasure to read in recent years. Compelling, stimulating, far-reaching, and indispensable. Degenerative Realism is a rich, illuminating concept, plugged into the French national psyche while capturing the zeitgeist of our globalized economy, and full of potentialities for related fields. A must-read in a world caught between alternative facts and dire predictions.

~Philippe Met, University of Pennsylvania


Examining key novels by Michel Houellebecq, Frédéric Beigbeder, Aurélien Bellanger, Yann Moix, and other French writers, Christy Wampole identifies and critiques this emergent tendency toward “degenerative realism.” She considers the ways these writers draw on social science, the New Journalism of the 1960s, political pamphlets, reportage, and social media to construct an atmosphere of disintegration and decline.

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