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Dr Ashley Harris

Teaching Fellow in French

Academic and research departments

School of Literature and Languages.


My publications


Ashley Harris (2017) Michel Houellebecq’s Transmedial Œuvre: Extension of the Realm of Creative Intervention
This article analyses Michel Houellebecq’s use of multimedia in order to reveal how he creates transmedial worlds that cross media thresholds. Through plurimedial combinations, expansive adaptations, and post-textual work, Houellebecq extends the realms of creative intervention. Through these three types of activity, Houellebecq troubles textual boundaries and the sacralised and mythologised notions of author and text. His transmedial undertaking addresses artistic marginalisation while encouraging new forms of creative production in a growing space of possibilities.
Ashley Harris and Jonathan Harris (2018) Is The Map More Interesting Than The Territory? A Post-Representational Approach to Michel Houellebecq’s The Map and the Territory
This collaborative, interdisciplinary article analyses Houllebecq’s use of crime fiction and autofiction in  (2010)The novel’s intra- inter- and extra-textual geographies, including its depiction of urban and rural space, are explored through a post-representational lens. We argue that Houllebecq uses crime fiction and autofiction to destabilise and disrupt Baudrillardian signs and simulacra as well as Barthesian mythologies of the author - setting up his own ‘death of the author’ by writing his avatar’s murder. By analysing how the novel 'sets the scene' in its depiction of both Houellebecq and France’s rural and urban spaces, we find that the way the text maps and describes these spaces in/on/through which the novel 'takes place' lends itself to a processual or assemblage understanding of that space, where reality and representation are co-produced relationally. This spatial co-production leads us to productively re-consider the novel's broader themes through this same post-representational lens, and to problematise distinctions between reality and representation, author and text, and map and territory.
The Map and the Territory
Ashley Harris (2020) On the return of the (media) author: Michel Houellebecq, écrivain médiatique
This article argues that Michel Houellebecq is an écrivain médiatique, and it examines how and why he engages in an authorial strategy that relies on more than the text and presents the author as a visible, multimedia, and culturally relevant figure. From an epistemological need to reassess authorship in the digital age, this article defines media authorship before analysing Houellebecq through a critical framework including Meizoz’s concept of posturing (2007), Saint-Gelais’s transmediality (2011) and Angenot’s social discourse (1989). It addresses how Houellebecq attempts to situate and justify his media-focused and author-centric strategy, showing how this reflects the challenges of the cultural domination of mass media and new technologies of the digital age, and indicates that the autonomy of the literary field is diminishing. This article shows how a superficially transgressive engagement with the media and multimedia in fact reflects consent to the dynamics of the contemporary socio-cultural context.
Ashley Harris (2022) From the Spectacle to the Striptease: Houellebecq, Beigbeder and Media Ambivalence
This article addresses the media ambivalence of contemporary authors Frédéric Beigbeder and Michel Houellebecq who voice concern for the purported diminishing status of literature and the author within a mass media marketized context, while concurrently engaging in highly visible ways with the very media and commercialization at the core of their criticisms. Analysing their works and interviews, and employing a theoretical framework that includes Debord, Angenot, Meizoz, and Baudrillard, this article explores their assertions on the status of literature, investigating them in relation to their media activity, and responds to Philippe Vilain’s proclamation of a crisis of literature. Firstly, this article addresses the ambivalence of these authors’ posturing across various domains before focusing upon how it manifests in relation to media. Secondly, it demonstrates how they describe the role and status of literature by comparing it to other media, from Houellebecq’s discussion of cultural values in Baudrillardian and Debordian Spectacular terms to Beigbeder’s comparison of the author to a ‘strip-teaseuse’. It then shows how this conceptualization influences their authorship. Finally, examining their media activity, this ambivalence is shown to have productive outcomes by impacting the creation, production, understanding and reception of their works, consolidating their literary fame.
Ashley Harris (2022) L'Écrivain médiatique: The Media Authorship of Houellebecq, Despentes and Beigbeder