Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Richard Millet

Richard Millet, an editor at Gallimard who, according to Wikipedia, played an important role in the publication of Jonathan Littell's Holocaust novel Les Bienveillantes, has published a book in which he claims to be "struck by the formal perfection" of Anders Breivik's murder spree in Norway. He also despairs of the fact that European nations are "fraying socially as they lose their Christian essence to the benefit of general relativism."

Shocking. (h/t Peter Gordon)


bert said...

There was some kind of classical theme about avenging fates, and it sold well to the literary market, but wasn't Les Bienveillantes basically nazi soft porn?
Didn't read the whole thing, but what bits I read didn't impress.

Louis said...

Richard Millet was Littel's editor, and a household name at Gallimard. He shares with Littel a taste for battlefields and a rather nauseous vision of Humanity (lavishly documented in his various productions, particularly Beyrouth). Obviously the walls of his Gallimard office started to get a bit too close, so he hatched this little opus. Always the rebel, he retained just enough of his marketing senses to publish this thing just on time for the Autumn book fairs.
Jérôme Garcin (the long-time host of Le Masque et la Plume, as annoying and clever as a Parisian intellectual ever was) has this to say:

Blague à part, this is (of course) nauseous. Millet, however, can wrap himself into an old French tradition of "literary fascism". Maurice Dantec got very close to this a few years ago, but he knew how to pick his words more carefully.

Louis said...

Sorry for the double comment.

Millet is far from being the only French "literatti" sharing the same obsessions. Dantec I mentioned already; there is also Renaud Camus.

Radical anarchism, dandy fatalism, anti-modernism... In the small world of French letters, once you are in, you can publish anything.

James Brown said...

such a comment by Millet makes me think of the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen's infamous remark that the 9/11 attacks were "das grosste Kunstwerke überhaupt" (the greatest work of art ever).