19 Oct

The world is an unfolding suffering

Posted By polity_admin_user

‘The world is an unfolding suffering,’ said Michel Houellebecq, expressing in his own way an axiom that he had come across in the work of Schopenhauer. When Houellebecq stumbled upon a copy of Schopenhauer’s Aphorisms in a library in Paris in his mid-twenties, he was bowled over by it: in Schopenhauer’s radical pessimism he found a powerful conception of the human condition and of the dark future that awaits us. 

Today, as we contemplate our own futures thrown into disarray by a pandemic that has engulfed the world, Houellebecq’s dark vision of the human condition and his uncompromising portrayal of human suffering have a disconcerting resonance with our current predicament. In this short book, published in English for the first time, Houellebecq –bestselling novelist and enfant terrible of French literature – recounts the story of his encounter with the great philosopher of radical pessimism and explains why Schopenhauer’s work remains so relevant for us today.


In the Presence of Schopenhauer by Michel Houellebecq is out now.
Also available from Amazon, Waterstones, Blackwell’s, and Bookshop.org. Or check with your favourite bookseller!