In general, religion is absent from Simenon’s work. It’s not that he rejects religious belief: he doesn’t even consider it. Like Maigret, Simenon was brought up in a conservative Catholic family. Again like his character, Simenon left Christianity behind in his teens and never looked back. A part of the interest of his work is that it illustrates a view of the human world that is authentically post-theist. A doctor of souls who does not believe in the soul, Maigret understands human beings in thoroughly naturalistic terms. The autonomous individual – so revered by liberal humanists haunted by religious notions of free will – is nowhere to be seen. Rather than shaping their lives according to their personal choices, human beings simply act, and then deal with the consequences.This, it seems to me, is Catholicism turned inside out, so it retains something of the mold. Though I practice the faith, my outlook actually does have much in common with Simenon's, I'm afraid.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
… The stark moral world of Georges Simenon. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)