The Possibility of a 'Dead Europe': Tsiolkas, Houellebecq and European Mythologies

Nicholas Manganas


This article posits that two constituent mythologies sustain and drive the EU integration process. The first is the tension between the twin narratives of “perpetual peace” and “perpetual suffering.” The second fundamental mythology of the EU project is the tension between the narratives of Europe as on the one hand “authentic” and as “cosmopolitan” on the other. Both of these constituent mythologies are essential in forming what is emerging as a pan-European, Europtimist raison d’etre. This article posits that two recent novels, the Australian Christos Tsiolkas’s Dead Europe (2005) and the French Michel Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island (2006) subvert these two mythologies and in the process undermine the legitimacy of recent works of Europtomist scholarship.


Europe; Mythologies; Cosmopolitanism; Perpetual Peace; Perpetual Suffering; Authenticity

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