Michel Houellebecq has gained a reputation for combining left-wing critiques of neo-liberal capitalism with reactionary laments at the decline of nation, religion, honest labour, and the patriarchal family. Critics typically thus either declare the novelist to be unclassifiable in political terms or to be a ‘rouge-brun’. Surveying Houellebecq’s novels, from Extension du domaine de la lutte (1994) to Sérotonine (2019), we argue that there is nothing unclassifiable, ‘rouge’ or left-wing about the author’s political worldview. On the contrary, his work needs to be understood as belonging to a tradition of French counterrevolutionary thought, personified by Auguste Comte and Charles Maurras.
LANE, J. (in press). Rouge Brun or Counterrevolutionary? Another Look at Michel Houellebecq's Politics. Modern Language Review, 115(1),