The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2008 16:25:58 -0500
Reply-To: UB Poetics discussion group <POETICS@LISTSERV.BUFFALO.EDU>
Subject: Alain Robbe-Grillet

[this sad news just in -- I met him once, briefly, in 1982 at Catholic
University -- My favorite passage from his critical work:

"My novels have not been received, upon publication in France, with unanimous
enthusiasm . . . "]

French writer Robbe-Grillet dies

The writer's novels include Les Gommes and Le Voyeur Alain Robbe-Grillet, the
French writer who pioneered the so-called "new novel" genre, has died at the
age of 85.

He was best Known for his unorthodox narratives, but enjoyed success, with
novels such as Les Gommes (The Erasers) and Le Voyeur still studied today.

He also worked in film, first as a scriptwriter and later as a director.

The novelist was admitted to the Caen University Hospital in France over the
weekend for cardiac problems and died on Monday morning, officials said.

Robbe-Grillet was born on 18 August, 1922, in Brest, western France.

The son of an engineer, he studied agricultural engineering and worked as a
statistician and an agronomist before finding fame as a writer.


He developed the idea of the "nouveau roman" in a series of essays in the early

Dispensing with traditional literary devices such as plot, narrative and
chronology, the new novel sees story subordinated to structure, with the
significance of objects more important than human action.

Les Gommes, his 1953 debut novel, remains among his most celebrated works and
tells the story of a murder committed by the detective who has come to
investigate it.

In 1958's La Jalousie (Jealousy), Robbe-Grillet writes of a man living on a
banana plantation who suspects his wife of having an affair.

It was described in The New York Times Book Review as "a technical masterpiece,
impeccably contrived".

But his novels were sometimes accused of resembling timetables or inventories.

The author was also associated with the new wave of French cinema, writing the
screenplay for Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad and making several films
under his own name.

Among his movies are 1963's L'Immortelle (The Immortal), 1966's
Trans-Europ-Express, and 1968's L'Homme Qui Ment (The Man Who Lies).

His last novel, Un Roman Sentimental (A Sentimental Novel), was published in


We are enslaved by
what makes us free -- intolerable
paradox at the heart of speech.
--Robert Kelly

Sailing the blogosphere at:

Aldon L. Nielsen
Kelly Professor of American Literature
The Pennsylvania State University
116 Burrowes
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(814) 865-0091

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