"To Stand a Chance" : Quantum Uncertainty and Religious Conversion in Michel Houellebecq's Submission

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"To Stand a Chance" : Quantum Uncertainty and Religious Conversion in Michel Houellebecq's Submission

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title "To Stand a Chance" : Quantum Uncertainty and Religious Conversion in Michel Houellebecq's Submission
Author Schwartz, Molly
Date 2017
English abstract
Michel Houellebecq's novel, Submission (2015), is structured around the speculative premise that in the year 2022 the Muslim Brotherhood could become the dominant political party in France, leading to a society-wide shift in values and practices. This paper explores how Houellebecq uses religious conversion in the novel as a literary metaphor for quantum uncertainty. By lacing the patchwork plot with ambiguity and satire, Houellebecq tries to reconcile the random and predetermined elements of human actions, given the physical reality of our atom-based world and existence. Against the background of his selfish male and female characters, Houellebecq plays with the possibility of transcending the pitifulness of the contemporary human condition, which both he and his characters ultimately achieve not through religion but through fiction. Interpreting Submission in the context of theories about the unpredictable, computational nature of the universe raises interesting questions about the programmability of human behavior and the use of speculative fiction as a tool for generating alternative futures.
DOI https://doi.org/10.6240/concentric.lit.2017.43.2.13 (link to publisher's fulltext.)
Publisher National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan
Host/Issue Concentric : Literary and Cultural Studies;2
Volume 43
ISSN 1729-6897
Language eng (iso)
Subject speculative fiction
conversion
quantum uncertainty
computation
mutation
generative
Michel Houellebecq
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/25553 Permalink to this page
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