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H.P. Lovecraft: Contre le monde, contre la vie

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,015 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
[This book is written in French.]

Dans cet essai, Michel Houellebecq parcourt un itinéraire hors du commun et rend hommage à Lovecraft pour s'être situé dans cet "ailleurs absolu" et propose un plaidoyer pour une littérature vertigineuse. Lovecraft, l'un des maîtres du fantastique fut un être étrange à la mesure de ces récits terifiants. Un livre à ne pas lire sans tranqui

Paperback, 144 pages
Published February 1st 1999 by iUniverse (first published 1991)
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The value of a human being today is measured in terms of his economic efficiency and his erotic potential--that is to say, in terms of the two things that Lovecraft most despised.

My chief surprise in this exploration was the effectiveness of the Introduction by Stephen King, equally erudite and folksy -- just as we'd expect him. Moving on to Houellebecq's love letter, I was disappointed that there simply isn't much there in terms of girth or ideas. The cataloguing of Lovecraft's extreme bigotry
Jason Pettus
Jun 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Full review can be found at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [].)

For Americans who don't know -- there's this French dude named Michel Houellebecq who a lot of Europeans are super pissed at. And that's because he's a writer, see, a brilliant one, who also happens to be a misanthrope, and who sincerely despises just about 98 percent of all humanity, and takes great care to detail all the ways they deserve his hatred in his provocative novels, which have all been b
May 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading a book by one of your current favorite authors about your all-time favorite author is possibly one of the best literary experiences I can imagine.

In H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life Michel Houellebecq, the bitterly cynical, oft-misunderstood French misanthrope and champion of 21st-century nihilism, attempts to demystify exactly what it is about Lovecraft's fiction that has allowed it to remain fresh and relevant after nearly a century.

And he succeeds in ways I never though
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Howard Phillips Lovecraft serves as an example to all who wish to fail in life and eventually succeed in their work.

It’s a pretty astonishing moment for a bibliophile to discover that one of his favourite writers has a published extended essay on one of his favourite writers. I would never have connected Houellebecq with Lovecraft, but after reading the essay itself, it seems obvious, of course. They are both, in their ways, against the world, against life; even if Houellebecq has managed to suc
Daniel Ausente
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Breve pero fabuloso ensayo sobre Lovecraft y su obra.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
-De su obra y legado, pasando por su vida para ello.-

Género. Ensayo (por más que la editorial lo considere una biografía y que, en realidad, no deje de serlo).

Lo que nos cuenta. El libro H. P. Lovecraft. Contra el mundo, contra la vida (publicación original: H. P. Lovecraft. Contre le monde, contre la vie, 1991) es un acercamiento a Lovecraft, a su producción, su estilo, su vida y a los posibles elementos nucleares que definieron tanto al escritor como su trabajo.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro,

El Lovecraft de Houellebecq es irresistible: materialista(!), ateo, xenófobo. Pero también un gran poeta original y creador de mundos que exceden la literatura y por ahí anida la admiración del frenchute.

El capítulo bisagra del ensayo, creo yo, es Odio Racial. Allí se cita una carta de Lovecraft a un amigo sobre sus paseos por el Lower East Side neoyorquino: para esa época (1924-1925) habitado mayormente por negros, mulatos, judíos e italianos...
Las cosas orgánicas que rondaban por esa espantosa
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book at the library about a week ago. What follows are my notes as I was reading this book:
A brilliant study....first published in France in 1991 and translated into English a few years ago...evocatively written, like a novel.
Lovecraft created a great popular myth, which is rare in literature...of the Great Old Ones Houellebecq writes "they have heard the roars of the very first mammals and will know the howls of agony of the very last."
Contrasts the approach of H.P. Lovecraft with
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Houellebecq - pronounced, I was disappointed to learn recently, "wheel-back," not "hollaback" - is probably most famous as a relusive, misanthropic reactionary, and incidentally a really excellent prose stylist. A singularly well-placed author, then, to write a longish Lovecraft biography/critical essay/literary manifesto - how to classify it, precisely, is neither clear nor at all important.

Like certain kinds of good literature, Houellebecq renders his subject sympathetic precisely by revealin
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Come for Houellebecq's essay about Lovecraft (wherein, in 1991, Michel essentially drafts the thematic and stylistic blueprint for his future novels), but stay for the suprisingly awesome Lovecraft tales. (I rarely have nightmares but have since reading these -- seriously!)
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 estrellas because HPL y Houellebecq, pienso que esta obra es como el Ecce Homo de Nietzsche, se debería empezar con ella para conocer mejor al autor antes de profundizar en su obra.
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is both a work of literary criticism and eulogy. Houellebecq simply adores the gentle, hard working, misanthropic and racist H.P.Lovecraft.

I had given up on reading a collection of Lovecraft stories a few years ago. But the fact that one of my favorite writers - Houellebecq was a huge fan of Lovecraft, revived my interest in him. I read this work of literary criticism/eulogy simultaneously with The Best of H.P.Lovecraft. I won't go into all the contents of Houellebecq's essay. I will simpl
Matthew W
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life" is an excellent(albeit brief)analysis and survey of Lovecraft's life and its central influence on his work. The reason this is such an excellent and bold work is because Houellebecq pays tribute (in a most personal way) to a fellow writer. Some will find this book to be offensive, but few will have enough ammo to argue against Houellebecq uncompromising conclusions and lucid insights. I also found Houellebecq's writing to be more interesting and ...more
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a great fan of Lovecraft. I confess to finding his work curiously profound, finding in the great Cthonic deities and the cosmic scope of evil some basic truth about reality. There is a great dearth of secondary literature on Lovecraft, so mostly I've looked elsewhere for the satisfaction of my curiosity (a curiosity Lovecraft's protagonists always fail to resist to their misfortune.) This book was tremendously helpful to recognizing what is it about Lovecraft with his florid tones and uneas ...more
I have wasted a good amount of money buying theories of Lovecraft by some of his most well-known American biographers. None of them really seemed to get a holistic picture of the man, but now that I have this book I feel altogether satisfied. It is not by any means a perfect book, tied up as it is with Houellebecq's own obsessions. But it is a brilliant and altogether spiritual book, extracting deep meaning from Lovecraft's meek character and from his intense and profound racism, and transformin ...more
Finbarr Heather
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Astonishingly astute, insightful and empathetic look into the mind and heart of a profoundly troubled and unique man. Dispels a great many widely held unsubstantiated hypotheses and focuses on what we really know. A brief and succinct piece of work but an indispensible one for those who wish to gain a better understanding of the mind which changed the face of the universe of weird fiction. Although Houellebecq's own fiction ostensibly bears no resemblance to that Lovecraft, this essay combines s ...more
Nov 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, scholarship
Read this a year or two ago. While I disagree with Houellebecq on some, main, points, I still value that he takes the issue of HPL & his stories serious and has true respect for it.

Also, it is fascinating to read something which is on one hand scholarly-like and on the other fiction (he claims that this is really his first novel); only a French author could get away with that, I think;-)

Contrary to many I quite like Stephen King's foreword to this edition--even if he makes the blunder of dec
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprisingly breezy, quick read, I found much to ponder in Houellebecq's analysis of Lovecraft's work. Houellebecq's argument that Lovecraft's genius sprung from his hatred of the world, indeed, that all art originates from a distaste for the "real," is an interesting one but I am not sure that I can truly agree with it. It is definitely some food for thought. It also contains my two favorite stories written by HPL as well.
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El primer capítulo comienza con una cita de Jacques Bergier, "quizás haya que haber sufrido mucho para apreciar a Lovecraft...". Luego, las imágenes empiezan a desarrollarse. "La vida es dolorosa y decepcionante. Por lo tanto, es inútil escribir más novelas realistas."

"Ahora escuchemos a Howard Phillips Lovecraft: 'Estoy tan harto de la humanidad y del mundo que nada logra interesarme a no ser que incluya, por lo menos, dos crímenes por página, o que trate de horrores innominados procedentes de
J.j. Metsavana
Võtsin Michel Houellebecqi Lovecrafti teemalisse teose "Maailma vastu, elu vastu" kätte tugeva eelarvamuse, isegi vastumeelsusega. Peamine küsimus oli mul peas: mida võib siis üks prantsuse haritlane veel sel teema öelda, rohkem kui seda suudavad inimesed, kes on uurinud Lovecrafti pikki aastaid või teda suisa isiklikult tundnud. Lovecrafti fännina ei saanud ma jätta samas ka antud teost lugemata, ühesõnaga olin justkui ebamugavas sundolukorras.

Nüüd raamatut lugenuna võin öelda, et tunnen üheaeg
Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
Il s'agit bien d'un essai de Michel Houellebecq consacré à l'un de ses auteurs favoris Howard Phillips Lovecraft. H.P. Lovecraft est l'un des maîtres du récit fantastique et d'horreur. Dans ce court essai, Michel Houellebecq étudie l'homme et son oeuvre et cherche à trouver des parralléles. Ce n'est ni une biographie ni une étude approfondie de l'oeuvre mais un subtil mélange entre les deux pour n'en garder que le meilleur. Il évoque l'inadaptabilité sociale de l'auteur, ses difficultés avec l'a ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europea
Nel complesso notevole. Non è il saggio di un critico ma di un appassionato. C'è qualche tipica cazzata 'alla Houellebecq', tipo la similitudine fra il romanzo classico e una vecchia camera d'aria bucata che si sgonfia lentamente - ovvero il colpo ad effetto che se ti ci soffermi un attimo ti accorgi che o non vuol dire niente o è smentito nei fatti da millanta esempi - ma tant'è, è da cercare con l'abusato lanternino.

Houellebecq ha Lovecraft nel cuore e riesce ad andare al cuore della sua opera
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
French novelist Michel Houllebecq’s “H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life” (1991) is a credible, often brilliant work of criticism that predates his first novel, “Extension du domaine de la lutte” (“Whatever” in English) by three years. A combination of Franco-academic musings and personal conviction, it stands as one of the most lucid and original writings on Lovecraft.

Like Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft enjoys a major academic following in France, where his dark, wildly imaginative
Artur Coelho
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Houellebecq, escritor de obra polémica, não é nenhum estranho às zonas desoladas dos limites literários. Neste erudito ensaio analisa a vida e obra do escritor de Providence, cuja curta e discreta vida não viria a prever a fama póstuma e profunda influência que viria a ter na literatura fantástica. Houellebecq olha para o carácter retrógrado de um homem que não pertencia ao tempo contemporâneo onde viveu, preferindo viver uma imagem idealizada de uma concepção antiquada. As suas falhas, o óbvio ...more
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uno de los más famosos ensayos sobre la vida y obra de H.P. Lovecraft y también uno de los más sencillos, lo que probablemente explique la certera efectividad que Houllebecq muestra al expicar su tesis de Lovecraft como un hombre con un profundo y sincero desprecio hacia la vida cotidiana y "real" y que drenó todo esa ira en una obra con la que nunca llegó a triunfar sino hasta después de su muerte. En sus poquísimas páginas hay un gran repaso a lo que la obra de Lovecraft significa para el géne ...more
Octavio Villalpando
Este es un excelente ensayo para aquellas personas que apenas han iniciado a leer la obra de Lovecraft. No es exactamente una biografía, aunque contiene muchos apuntes biográficos. Houellebecq hace un excelente trabajo analizando el impacto de la forma y las peculiaridades de la vida de Lovecraft en su obra. Puntualiza las claves de su estilo y hace un repaso sobre las peculiaridades en su obra que han hecho que sea tan influyente para tantos escritores (influencia que en lugar de amainar con el ...more
Toni Cifuentes
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Apasionados de Lovecraft, amantes del terror gótico y de las biografías en general.
Recommended to Toni by: Un murciélago baboso con pústulas y unos ojos realmente bonitos.
Ensayo corto y entretenido. Tal vez el estilo de Lovecraft viene al pelo a Houellebecq para asentar las bases de lo que será el mismo: analizando a Lovecraft, analiza (o repasa) lo que él es (o será) su propia obra. En el prefacio, Houellebecq nos dice que lo escribió "como si fuera una especie de primera novela. Una novela con un solo personaje (el propio H.P. Lovecraft) (...)". Tanto para amantes de las novelas de Lovecraft y del terror gótico como para aquellos que no hayan leído ni una sola ...more
Rab Araujo
Michel Houellebecq es un autor extraño para mi, pero no puedo negar que su trabajo para abordar de manera interesante, directa y sobre todo objetiva sobre el trabajo de Lovecraft es bastante revelador. Y es que, hablar sobre alguien como el maestro del horror cósmico puede ser una tarea engañosa y fácil de caer en la pretensión.

El estableces de manera clara las fierencias puntuales de lo que hicieron que el trabajo de ese hombre fuera tan increíble como para seguir marcando a millones de lectore
Derek Baldwin
If I had paid for this book rather than borrowed it I would be feeling really cheated: Houellebacq's text is no more than one-third of the volume. 100 pages or so. Padding it out are two of Lovecraft's novellas, which fall into what Houellebecq terms Lovecraft's "great texts". Much of the text is fairly general waffle which would be a B+ grade university dissertation. This is merged with an "antibiography" (which was quite interesting, to be fair) and the sum of these parts really just isn't tha ...more
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More readable than most of Lovecraft's stories (perhaps because Houllebecq uses quotes that could not be sourced) this essay interprets Creepy Howie's reactionary racism as a principled rejection of all life. Houllebecq is an author with the heart of a fanboy, and he explains and demonstrates Lovecraft's lasting power and his impression on his growing cult. A great intro by Stephen King and a few of Lovecraft's more famous stories round out the collection.
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Michel Houellebecq (born Michel Thomas), born 26 February 1958 (birth certificate) or 1956 on the French island of Réunion, is a controversial and award-winning French novelist. To admirers he is a writer in the tradition of literary provocation that reaches back to the Marquis de Sade and Baudelaire; to detractors he is a peddler of sleaze and shock. Having written poetry and a biography of the h ...more
More about Michel Houellebecq...

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“Those who love life do not read. Nor do they go to the movies, actually. No matter what might be said, access to the artistic universe is more or less entirely the preserve of those who are a little fed up with the world.” 330 likes
“Life is painful and disappointing. It is useless, therefore, to write new realistic novels. We generally know where we stand in relation to reality and don’t care to know any more.” 74 likes
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