“This is not for you”: Nihilism and the House that Jacques Built

William Slocombe

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16 Citations (SciVal)


'This is not for you' is the dedication in Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves and reveals that House of Leaves is not intended for the reader, whoever he or she may be. This is because House of Leaves introduces the idea that nihilism exists beneath all forms of discourse, whether linguistic (the literary) or visual (the architectural). The problem of nihilism is implicit in most postmodern or poststructuralist fiction, but House of Leaves suggests a much more radical approach in which nihilism is something that can never come into Being. More properly, this means that rather than nihilism having a construction, it is that which exists before construction or is that upon which a construction is built. Through the figure of the house, Danielewski offers an unprecedented textual meditation on the nature of nothingness and the way in which this relates to literature, architecture, and philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-109
Number of pages22
JournalMFS: Modern Fiction Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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