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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 8, 2008

Phenomenology and Literature

Olivier Lahbib
Pages 331-352

L’oubli du monde
Une lecture finkienne de Bret Easton Ellis

In his novels B. E. Ellis depicts a generation of bewildered rich young people, who live the easiest of lives, in a wealthy background as one can see in everyday American shows. But they actually suffer from the excess of things, products, luxury; the result for them is that the overall meaning of life is lost. Fink’s phenomenology gives us the interpretation for this nihilistic experience. Humanity is depressed as far as the world is forgotten. Forgetting the world is even more scandalous and serious than the disregard of Being that Heidegger condemns. B. E. Ellis applies the method of reduction: he makes the epoché of the container-world. Consequently, we learn that the idea of the world is the condition for unity, coherence and direction as shows Fink’s Welt und Endlichkeit: Humanity when devoid of the totality (as a synonym for world) is absolutely devoid of meaning. The Cosmos-container comes before Being or the beings (as simple contents). World is the radical source for all data. With the arguments of Fink’s book Spiel als Weltsymbol, we may understand why Ellis’ characters strain to rebuild a world, with their new religion of trade marks and name dropping. But holy objects of consumption and luxury can’t produce an authentic world.