Roland Barthes on Alain Robbe-Grillet

From Roland Barthes’s essay Objective Literature: Alain Robbe-Grillet

Robbe-Grillet’s purpose . . . is to establish the novel on the surface: once you can set its inner nature, its “interiority,” between parentheses, then objects in space, and the circulations of men among them, are promoted to the rank of subjects. The novel becomes man’s direct experience of what surrounds him without being able to shield himself with a psychology, a metaphysic, or a psychoanalytic method in his combat with the objective world he discovers. The novel is no longer a chthonian revelation, the book of hell, but of earth–requiring that we no longer look at the world with the eyes of a confessor, of a doctor, or of God himself (all significant hypostases of the classical novelist), but with the eyes of a man walking in his city with no other horizon than the scene before him, no other power than that of his own eyes.

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