Universal, acid: Houellebecq’s clones and the evolution of humanity

Niall Sreenan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines Houellebecq’s two genomics novels, Les Particules élémentaires and La Possibilité d’une île and elaborates their relationship with Neo-Darwinian evolutionary naturalism and neoliberal capitalism. In these works, the mutual interdependence of these two regimes of thought both necessitates and makes possible the technology of human cloning, which promises humanity an escape from the misery of its own biological, political predicament. Houellebecq’s work, I show, problematises this dialectic, and in doing so offers an incisive critique of utopian posthumanism, providing instead only an aporetic—but rigorously materialist—form of hope.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-93
Number of pages17
JournalModern and Contemporary France
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


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