France honours its most provocative author 

Michel Houellebecq, the enfant terrible of French literature, was awarded the Legion of Honour, France’s highest civilian distinction, in the New Year honours list on Tuesday.

A forthcoming novel by the celebrated but controversial author predicts the doom of western civilisation. Seratonin, due out on Friday, focuses on the festering rage in provincial France that has exploded into the “yellow vest” protests.

Like his previous books, it is set to become an instant bestseller and is already being hailed as the biggest literary event of 2019. It is also likely to enrage those who object to the views that have made Houellebecq, 62, an iconic figure for the nationalist, eurosceptic Right.

The title of the novel, to appear in English in the autumn, refers to the main ingredient of an anti-depressant that causes its anti-hero, Florent-Claude Labrouste, to suffer impotence and nausea. Like most of Houellebecq’s protagonists, he is a thinly disguised version of the author himself.

At 46, fed up with his Japanese girlfriend and his job, Labrouste returns to his native Normandy, where he meets suicidal farmers, prevented from making ends meet by EU dairy quotas. Out of despair and fury, they take to the streets and stop traffic in “yellow vest” style.

Houellebecq’s bleak view of France and Europe is much in evidence. “No one in the West will ever be happy again,” he writes. “This is how a civilisation dies, without danger or drama and with very little carnage.” [ . . . ]

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Rodin’s paper cuttings exhibited for the first time, in Paris

Rodin would it be a precursor of the papers glued, announcing the modernity of Matisse? A new facet of the work of the master of sculpture is to be discovered at the Musée Rodin: one realizes that all his life he cut figures, variations of his drawings that he glued, assembled, with a great freedom (until 24 February 2019).

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is a bit like Picasso, his inventiveness seems limitless and we always discover new aspects of his work. Beyond his drawings, full-fledged works that are not preparatory studies for his sculptures, Rodin has always cut and pasted figures.

The Musée Rodin retains some 7,500 drawings. “I have a great weakness for these little sheets of paper,” said Rodin. 250 are presented in the exhibition, including a hundred or so cut papers. “I have exposed almost all the paper cut, all that we have, and there is almost no outside (of the museum),” says Sophie Biass-Fabiani, heritage curator in charge of drawings at the museum Rodin and Commissioner of the [ . . . ]

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Victor Hugo à gros traits

From September 13, 2018 to January 6, 2019, the Maison Victor Hugo presents an exhibition an exhibition around the public image of Victor Hugo through the style of caricature. The poet’s fame and political commitment made him a favorite subject of the caricaturists of his time who often sketched him rather roughly and sometimes even ferociously. Among these renowned designers, it will be possible to find prestigious signatures such as Daumier, Doré, Cham, Gill, Lepetit, Nadar  [ … ]

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