“young people put their finger in the eye”

Published on : 13/01/2022 – 09:10Modified : 13/01/2022 – 09:07

Paris (AFP) – Books full of good feelings which sell because they have upset such or such influencer, very little for Frédéric Beigbeder: in terms of literary criticism, “the young people of TikTok put their finger in the eye”.

While L’Obs wonders about the favorite network of teens, at the origin of a “new literary revolution among young people” according to the weekly, the novelist and critic takes the opposite view.

“I believe that we should be able to dissociate beauty in literature from the desire to do good. This is not the mission of art. Art is not a Xanax,” he says. he, interviewed by AFP.

The most loved books of “Booktokers”, overwhelmingly young women, have a clear tendency to exalt positive feelings, love in mind, self-esteem, kindness.

The Obs quoted “A Thousand Kisses for a Boy”, romance of the British Tillie Cole. Other darlings of this segment of criticism are called “Burn after writing”, a giant Proust questionnaire, or “The Chronicle of the Bridgertons”, a saga by the American Julia Quinn set at the beginning of the 19th century, at the beginning of the 19th century. origin of a Netflix series.

For Frédéric Beigbeder, who drew wrath for an acerbic article on the book by youtubeuse Lena Situations, “beware of the idea that all books must go in the direction of kindness”.

Frédéric Beigbeder poses on January 7, 2022 in Paris JOEL SAGET AFP/Archives

“This is the start of the Soviet Union, that. The Russians decided that we should ban all books where there was a pessimistic sentence. It happened! You wrote a pessimistic sentence and you went to camp. rehabilitation “, recalls the writer.

“Uncultured”

During this literary re-entry in January, he published “Un barrage contre l’Atlantique” (Grasset editions), a self-portrait in which a certain pessimism about oneself and the future of the planet emerges.

“I have a nervous breakdown like all the heroes of contemporary novels,” it reads. He describes himself as a dilettante “who has ridiculed everything so much that he does not even know how to get serious again”.

But with the requirement in literature, on the other hand, he is not joking, he told AFP. “For me, those who admire personal development guides or + feel-good books +, they are called uneducated. Let them study the history of literature and then we will discuss”.

Frédéric Beigbeder poses on January 7, 2022 in Paris

Frédéric Beigbeder poses on January 7, 2022 in Paris JOEL SAGET AFP/Archives

Frédéric Beigbeder said he was challenged by the position taken by another novelist, the most famous of them, Michel Houellebecq, who told Le Monde: “I think it’s with good feelings that we do good literature “.

“Provocation: it starts from a certain high level of loneliness and unhappiness,” said the critic of Le Figaro and the radio show Le Masque et la Plume.

And to answer him: “It becomes a strong debate, it is a real subject for the French baccalaureate and you have to choose your camp, comrade! And, me, I must confess that I have an attraction rather, in the books , for Evil. It fascinates me. I am tortuous, a little perverse, I like dark, complicated, ambiguous stories, and that we go and look for the painful subjects, that we scratch the wounds “.

“Many young people say they don’t have the courage to read + In Search of Lost Time + (by Marcel Proust). And I understand, it’s intimidating, thousands of pages written very small. But, at the same time time, they read thousands of SMS, text messages, tweets … So it is not reading that bothers them. It is simply the spacing between sentences, “he notes.

At 18, in the early 1980s, when the TV show “Apostrophes” was selling, he was enthusiastic about the American Charles Bukowski. “Because it’s simple, it’s funny, it’s about biture, love, vomit. There is a little childish side. I think you have to accept going to literature for bad reasons for leaving “.

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