Nouveau roman

Left to right: Claude Simon, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Robert Pinget, publisher Jérôme Lindon, Samuel Beckett, Nathalie Sarraute

“The Nouveau Roman (French pronunciation: ​[nuvo ʁɔmɑ̃], ‘new novel’) is a type of 1950s French novel that diverged from classical literary genres. Émile Henriot coined the term in an article in the popular French newspaper Le Monde on May 22, 1957 to describe certain writers who experimented with style in each novel, creating an essentially new style each time. Most of the founding authors were published by Les Éditions de Minuit with the strong support of Jérôme Lindon. Alain Robbe-Grillet, an influential theorist as well as writer of the Nouveau Roman, published a series of essays on the nature and future of the novel which were later collected in Pour un Nouveau Roman. Rejecting many of the established features of the novel to date, Robbe-Grillet regarded many earlier novelists as old-fashioned in their focus on plot, action, narrative, ideas, and character. Instead, he put forward a theory of the novel as focused on objects: the ideal nouveau roman would be an individual version and vision of things, subordinating plot and character to the details of the world rather than enlisting the world in their service. Despite the assertions of nouveauté, this vision of the novel can be construed as developing from earlier writers’ suggestions and practice. Joris-Karl Huysmans, ninety years before, had suggested how the novel might be depersonalised; more recently, Franz Kafka had shown that conventional methods of depicting character were not essential; James Joyce had done the same for plot; and absurdist writers had engaged with some of the themes that preoccupied writers of the nouveau roman. A group of writers dubbed Nouveaux Romanciers, ‘new novelists’, appeared in the mid-1950s: Alain Robbe-Grillet, Claude Simon, Nathalie Sarraute, Michel Butor and Robert Pinget. … The Nouveau Roman authors were open to influences from writers such as William Faulkner and the cinema. Both Robbe-Grillet and Marguerite Duras, whose 1958 novel Moderato cantabile was in the style of the Nouveau roman, also contributed to the French New Wave style of filmmaking. …”
Guardian – In theory: Towards a New Novel (Alain Robbe-Grillet)
The “Nouveau Roman”: where to start?
[PDF] Suspicion and Novelty: The Nouveau Roman

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