American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- Robbe-Grillet, Alain 1922-2008. French writer affiliated with the New Wave movement in cinema. His screenplays and novels, such as The Erasers (1953), subordinate plot to the treatment of space and time.
“Already we can see Robbe-Grillet beginning to "constitute" the reality of the novel's setting, which will extend to the banana plantation of which this house is the center, all described in the same painstaking, concentrated manner.”
“In his essay, Robbe-Grillet writes of Kafka that if there is one thing of which an unprejudiced realing convinces us it is the absolute reality of the things Kafka describes ...”
“In abandoning these gestures, Robbe-Grillet's "experimental" fiction is actually an experiment in the further possibilities of realism, a realism that accepts, as Robbe-Grillet puts it in his essay's conclusion, that "everything is constantly changing" and that "there is always something new.”
“What this hybrid point of view allows Robbe-Grillet to do most thoroughly, however, is to create an intimately "realistic" world that both mirrors the narrator's own fixated absorption in detail -- his "perpetual interrogation" -- and uses that absorption to "invent" scenes and circumstances of dense realistic detail.”
“Robbe-Grillet believed himself to be a realist and his attempts at advancing a "new novel" an effort to preserve the possibility of realism in fiction against the insistence of some critics that the novel remain encased in its pre-modern form.”
“So dedicated is Robbe-Grillet to the invention of these scenes that he repeats many of them, enlisting his narrator in a repetition and return to specific details and events -- the remains of a centipede killed while walking across a wall, workers fixing a bridge, etc. -- as if making sure they have been surveyed for all of the attributes they can be made to reveal.”
“But Robbe-Grillet didn't think that the "realism" of novels consisted of merely reflecting the "real world" it encountered but that it actually worked to create reality:”
“Robbe-Grillet comes a little closer to commenting on the kind of realism one finds in his own books when he reflects on a trip he once took to the Brittany coast:”
“Alain Robbe-Grillet begins his essay "From Realism to Reality" (in For a New Novel) with what must be a truism:”
“This little book — written by Jorge Louis Borges's some-time collaborator — takes its inspiration from H.G. Wells's Island of Doctor Moreau, mixes it with the author's adoration of the silent-movie star Louise Brooks, and went on to inspire Robbe-Grillet and Resnais 'Last Year at Marienbad (and probably countless film-theorists).”
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