Olivier Rolin: Habitation in the Empiritext


This essay is a discussion of two works by contemporary French writer Olivier Rolin: Le Météorologue (2014) and Bakou, derniers jours (2010), both examples of empiritext, a contemporary genre of writing in France that melds historical considerations with travel narrative. Rolin’s works raise the question of the author’s habitation of (landscapes and histories via) his or her own text, specifically in the context of the demise of the Soviet socialist dream so formative for many French leftists of that generation. The empiritext, drifting through uninhabitable spaces of text and world, becomes for Rolin the means of a self-distancing from that utopia.

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