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Abstract

In her article "Science, Sexuality, and the Novels of Huxley and Houellebecq," Angela C. Holzer begins with an introduction to recent discourse about contemporary culture by Francis Fukuyama, notably in his book Our Posthuman Future (2001). Next, Holzer introduces twentieth-century literary representations of genetic engineering. Focusing on Huxley's Brave New World (1932) and on Houellebecq's Les Particules élémentaires (1998), Holzer discusses differences in "utopian" literature when linked to metaphysical aspects of reproduction and that are owing to changes in the life sciences and medicine. Further, Holzer explores the implications for poetics resulting from scientific developments and relates Houellebecq's perspectives to Zola's idea of the "experimental novel" and to Nietzsche's notions of science. Holzer traces Houllebecq's text and its "reactionary politics" to Romantic literature and the late nineteenth-century discussion of marriage, Christianity, and reproduction in Tolstoy's writing. The insight to be gathered is the interrelation between the development of modern science up to the completion of the Genome Project and its impact on poetics (i.e., on form) and on representation (i.e., content) of science and the scientist in the two novels at hand.

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