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A Curmudgeonly Pain in the Ass

February 26, 2014 | by

Michel Houellebecq is fifty-eight today.

Photograph by TK.


You’ve said that you are “an old Calvinist pain-in-the-ass.” What do you mean?


I tend to think that good and evil exist and that the quantity in each of us is unchangeable. The moral character of people is set, fixed until death. This resembles the Calvinist notion of predestination, in which people are born saved or damned, without being able to do a thing about it. And I am a curmudgeonly pain in the ass because I refuse to diverge from the scientific method or to believe there is a truth beyond science.

—Michel Houllebecq, the Art of Fiction No. 206



  1. Michelle Trenholm | February 27, 2014 at 4:28 am

    I think that the good and evil in us is changeable. Why? Well, because as we grow older, we learn new things, both good and bad. Simple.

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