PRINT Summer 2008


IT IS HARDLY SURPRISING that Alain Robbe-Grillet should have moved from his particular conception and practice of the French New Novel to the cinema. In literary works such as The Voyeur (1955) and Jealousy (1957), this nouveau romancier delighted in patterned descriptions of nature so plastic as to appear at first reading entirely devoid of any subjective point of view or psychology. In a series of essays ultimately collected under the title For a New Novel (1963), Robbe-Grillet argued for a view of the world that abjured interiority in favor of a formal, almost mechanical technique that looked only at the surface of things in order to establish their exteriority and independence from mankind. In Jealousy, for instance, the narrator painstakingly describes the wooden balusters in the terrace railing in front of him. Eventually, a closer look at descriptions like this reveal that they are

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