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The Decline of the Family and the Identity Crisis as the Signs of the End of the Civilization in the Writings of Richard Millet

(Original title: Le déclin de la famille et la crise identitaire comme le signe avant-coureur de la fin de la civilisation dans l’œuvre de R. Millet)
Filozofia, 68 (2013), Supplementary Issue 2: L’Individu et la famille, 22-33.
Type of work: Papers
Publication language: French

The writings of the French author Richard Millet depict the downfall of the western civilization as it has been announced already by Friedrich Nietzsche in his Thus spoke Zarathustra. In his essays and polemics, Millet expresses his discontent with the contemporary society explicitly, while the novels convey the same message indirectly. One such example is the novel Dévorations (2007) set in a seemingly reassuring rural world of the traditional community in the Massif Central in France. The village becomes the place of distressing changes, when its population starts to decline. Estelle, who is the one to bring the testimony of a gradual disappearance of the community, identifies the strangers menacing the community from outside as the main culprits of the decay; yet, there are another reasons that neither the villagers nor Estelle are able to see: the disintegration of the traditional values and families as well as the crisis of the collective identity. Nevertheless, the end of the community and of the traditional family anticipates for Millet a more consequential problem – the end of Western civilization.


Collective identity, End of Western civilization, Family crisis, The Other, Tradition