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Alain Robbe-Grillet


Alain Robbe-Grillet was born in 1922 in Saint-Pierre-Quilbignon, now part of Brest. His father was an engineer, who owned a small factory. His parents were atheists and extreme right-wing sympathisers. He attended the Institut National d’Agronomie but his studies were cut short when he was forcibly recruited under the German occupation to work as a lathe operator in a German tank factory. After the war he worked as a an agronomist, including spells overseas. However, he became ill and never returned to his profession, taking up full-time writing. In 1957 he married Cathérine Rstakian, an actress who has also published novels. He wrote his first novel in 1948 but it was not published till 1978. In 1951, his first published novel – Les Gommes (The Erasers) – won an award and he was able to make a career as a writer.

He is now best known as one of the major writers. Robbe-Grillet was not only a writer of this kind of novel but also wrote about it and was an editorial director of Editions de Minuit, the publisher that published Robbe-Grillet and many other nouveau roman writers. The basic principles of the Nouveau Roman were that plot, character and narrative were old-fashioned. First to go was the traditional role of the narrator, with the author intervening in the plot if that was felt necessary. Traditional characters also were questioned, with the focus on things, which created, they said, a new realism. Characters, when they appeared, often appeared as streams of consciousness. Political commitment, as found in Sartre, Camus and other French writers was rejected.

Robbe-Grillet has remain associated with the nouveau roman throughout his career. He has also written and directed several films. He wrote the screenplay for Alain ResnaisL’année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year in Marienbad), now generally accepted as being one of the best post-war French films. He died in 2008.

Other sites

Alain Robbe-Grillet
Alain Robbe-Grillet Bibliography
Alain Robbe-Grillet (in French)
Alain Robbe-Grillet (in French)
Bibliography (in French)
Robbe-Grillet, Prométhée et Sisyphe écrivains (in French)


1953 Les Gommes (The Erasers) (novel)
1955 Le Voyeur (The Voyeur) (novel)
1957 La Jalousie (Jealousy) (novel)
1959 Dans le labyrinthe (In the Labyrinth) (novel)
1961 L’Année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year at Marienbad) (cine novel)
1962 Instantanés (Snapshots) (short stories)
1963 L’Immortelle (The Immortal One) (cine novel)
1963 Pour un Nouveau Roman (For a New Novel) (essay)
1965 La Maison de rendez-vous (The House of Assignation) (novel)
1970 Projet pour une révolution à New-York (Project for a Revolution in New York) (novel)
1974 Glissements progressifs du plaisir (Accelerative Slippages of Pleasure) (cine novel)
1975 La belle captive (novel)
1976 Topologie d’une cité fantôme (Topology of a Phantom City) (novel)
1978 Pourquoi j’aime Barthes (Why I Love Barthes) (essay)
1978 Un régicide (A Regicide) (novel)
1978 Souvenirs du Triangle d’Or (Recollections of the Golden Triangle) (novel)
1981 Djinn: un trou rouge entre les pavés disjoints (Djinn: a Red Hole Between Disjointed Paving Stones) (novel)
1985 Le Miroir qui revient (Ghosts in the Mirror) (imaginary autobiography)
1988 Angélique ou l’enchantement (imaginary autobiography)
1994 Les derniers jours de Corinthe (imaginary autobiography)
2001 La reprise (Repetition) (novel)
2001 Le voyageur, essais et entretiens (essay)
2002 C’est Gradiva qui vous appele (cine novel)
2005 Préface à une vie d’écrivain (talks CD/transcription))
2005 Scénarios en rose et noir (texts about his films)
2007 Un roman sentimental (A Sentimental Novel) (novel)
2009 La Forteresse (novel)