18 February 2008

On Robbe-Grillet

Alain Robbe-Grillet has died. I expect that many more tributes and analyses of his work will surface in the coming days. His unique perspective on the nature of reality can be found in his demanding but very necessary work. I have only read one of his books so far, but it was a heady experience that I look forward to repeating. As I once noted, Roland Barthes (in "Objective Literature: Alain Robbe-Grillet") describes his style very well:
For Robbe-Grillet, the function of language is not a raid on the absolute, a violation of the abyss, but a progression of names over a surface, a patient unfolding that will gradually "paint" the object, caress it, and along its whole extent deposit a patina of tentative identifications, no single term of which could stand by itself for the presented object. [...]

Robbe-Grillet is important because he has attacked the last bastion of the traditional art of writing: the organization of literary space.
I love how Jealousy calls for such scrupulous close reading--a "detective" novel that leaves the reader noting clues on the nature of existence rather than on a mere (questionable) crime, due to the systematic erasure of subjectivity achieved.

It is sad to know that no more words will flow from his pen, but it is hoped that his books will be read with even greater attention.

(via ReadySteadyBlog)

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