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The aging European body in the mediterranean in contemporary narratives
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CitationHaliloğlu, N. (2017). The aging European body in the mediterranean in contemporary narratives. Mediterranean Cultures and Societies, Faro, May 2017.
This paper explores representations of the aging, predominantly male European body in the Mediterranean in European film and literature. The earliest narrative I consider is that of Michel Houellebecq’s 2005 novel The Possibility of an Island: it is Houellebecq’s novels that made me aware of this strand of anxiety and melancholy in contemporary European narratives. Houellebecq has been recognized as a magi, a visionary, a writer who has his hand on the pulse of Europe and he is an equally illuminating figure when it comes to exploring how aging is worked through in contemporary narratives. This paper tries to narrow down this preoccupation with aging and death - which can be arguably said to be the Prime Mover in all artistic engagement- by focusing on how the Mediterranean figures in these tales of degeneration, and the kinds of regeneration it points to, such as pregnancy and cloning. I try to determine how northern Europeans try to utilize the Mediterranean weather, scenery, cuisine and bodies to recuperate a sense of youth. So using the concerns raised by Houellebecq in Possibility of an Island as an entry point, I will consider how the British films Unrelated (2007, dir. Joanna Hogg) and Trip to Italy (2014, dir. Michael Winterbottom) speak to these concerns.