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Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922 - )

Lifespan: 1922 -

Related: experimental literature - realism (literature) - sadomasochism - nouveau roman - French cinema - Catherine Robbe-Grillet (spouse) - French literature

Jealousy (1957) - Alain Robbe-Grillet [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Jealousy has been called the literary equivalent of a cubist painting.

Film titles: Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

"Mes fantasmes sado-érotiques, je n'en ai nullement honte, je les mets en scène: la vie fantasmatique est ce que l'être humain doit revendiquer le plus hautement". --Alain Robbe-Grillet

"Robbe-Grillet's emphasis on the visual world led him in the 1960s to writing scenarios and directing films. Some of his novels have also been called ciné-romans (film-novels). These works have challenged the limits of expected narrative structures and conventional realism. Robbe-Grillet's thesis is that the physical world is the only true reality, and the only way to approach memory is through physical objects. The most famous dramatization of his literary theories is Alan Resnais's film Last Year at Marienbad, for which he wrote the screenplay." --http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/grillet.htm [Dec 2006]


Alain Robbe-Grillet (born August 18, 1922) is a French agricultural engineer, filmmaker and writer.

He was born in Brest, Finistère, France.

He is, with Nathalie Sarraute, Michel Butor and Claude Simon, one of the figures most associated with the trend of the nouveau roman.

Alain Robbe-Grillet was elected a member of the Académie française on March 25, 2004, succeeding Maurice Rheims at seat #32.

Robbe-Grillet also wrote for the screen. He penned the screenplay for Alan Resnais' 1961 film Last Year at Marienbad. This film was a critical success; it is considered to be one of the finest French films of the 1960s. It was followed by a number of films directed by Robbe-Grillet: Trans-Europe-Express (1966), L'homme qui ment (The Man who Lies) (1968), L'Eden et aprés (Eden and Afterwards) (1970), Glissements progressifs du plaisir (The Slow Slidings of Pleasure) (1974), Le jeu avec le feu (Playing with Fire) (1975), and La belle captive (The Beautiful Captive) (1986).--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Robbe-Grillet [Mar 2005]

Grillet's novels are often translated by Christine Brooke-Rose.

David Sexton on the Grillets, Foucault and Althusser

This article is about the 2004 publication of Catherine Robbe-Grillet's Jeune Mariée, her diaries of her early married days with author Alain Robbe-Grillet.

The article sheds new light on Grillet's work and his recurring interest in sadomasochism. In my opinion, the relationship between work and biography is all too often underestimated or obscured.

The author David Sexton is the literary editor of the Evening Standard, radio critic of the Sunday Telegraph, and a judge of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2005.


AT THE age of 73, the wife of France's most famous living novelist, Alain Robbe-Grillet, has just published a revealing diary of their early married life. In parts it is just as explicit as the shocking bestseller The Sexual Life of Catherine M. Yet in the French press, it has been received with studied politesse. "For the Robbe- Grillets, intelligence is a shared virtue," concluded Liberation. Le Monde hailed "the erotic connivance of an original couple". Such a response to such disclosures would be unthinkable in England. So what is going on here?

Last month, in France, Catherine Robbe-Grillet surprisingly published the private journal, Jeune Mariée (Fayard, ISBN 2213620148), she had kept during the first five years of her marriage to Alain Robbe-Grillet, from 1957 to 1962.

... Jeune Mariée has the direct appeal of those English diarists, from Samuel Pepys to Frances Partridge, who give us their days quite straight. There is no attempt at fine writing and little discussion of ideas (although plenty of gossip about the jockeying for position of Parisian writers). Her easy tone contrasts weirdly with the ominous opacities in Robbe-Grillet's fiction.

... Robbe-Grillet was impotent, we soon learn, and preoccupied with sadistic fantasies. He wanted her to sign a contract to become his sex-slave. "He passionately loves beating, biting, hurting," she notes. They made an arrangement whereby she could have sex with his best friend and publisher, Jerome Lindon, of Editions de Minuit, under certain precise conditions. --Standard (London), Dec 6, 2004 by DAVID SEXTON

More from this article:

... The influential Marxist Louis Althusser strangled his wife, Hélène [Rytman], in 1980 and spent the next 10 years in various clinics. After his death in 1990, there appeared a revolting autobiography called The Future Lasts a Long Time, which sought to justify him as the primary victim.

The ultrafashionable theorist Michel Foucault, who argued that the discourses of medicine were part of the construction of social power, died of Aids in 1984, in the very hospital, the Salpetriere, which he had assaulted in Madness and Civilisation. His first biographer, a French friend named Didier Eribon, was hesitant in 1989 about even attempting to write the life of a man who had challenged the very notion of an "author". An American rival, James Miller [Miller, James. The Passion of Michel Foucault (London: HarperCollins, 1993)], took a more realistic approach, linking Foucault's death to his extreme sadomasochism and his passion for San Francisco bathhouses - as well as his stated contention that "sex is worth dying for".--Standard (London), Dec 6, 2004 by DAVID SEXTON


L'Année dernière à Marienbad, 1961.
Scénario et dialogues : Alain Robbe-Grillet.
Réalisation : Alain Resnais.

L'Immortelle, 1963.
Écrit et réalisé par Alain Robbe-Grillet.

Trans-Europ-Express, 1966.
Écrit et réalisé par Alain Robbe-Grillet.

L'Homme qui ment, 1968.
Écrit et réalisé par Alain Robbe-Grillet.

L'Éden et après, 1970, et N. a pris les dés, 1971.
Écrits et réalisés par Alain Robbe-Grillet.

Glissements progressifs du plaisir, 1973.
Écrit et réalisé par Alain Robbe-Grillet.

Le Jeu avec le feu, 1975.
Écrit et réalisé par Alain Robbe-Grillet.

La Belle Captive, 1983.
Écrit et réalisé par Alain Robbe-Grillet.

Un bruit qui rend fou, 1995.
Scénario et dialogues : Alain Robbe-Grillet.
Réalisation : Alain Robbe-Grillet et Dimitri de Clercq.

Taxandria, 1995.
Scénario : Raoul Servais, Alain Robbe-Grillet et Frank Daniel.
Réalisation : Raoul Servais.

Jealousy (1957) - Alain Robbe-Grillet

Alain Robbe-Grillet's most acclaimed novel, Jealousy, is set on a banana plantation. Written in the first person, it tells the non-linear story of a husband's suspicion that his wife is having an affair. "Jalousie" can mean "window blind or shutter" and it is with the husband's eyes, through the jalousie, that we see the wife's lover.

His writing has been described as "realist" or "phenomenological" (in the Heideggerian sense) or "a theory of pure surface." Methodical, geometric, and often repetitive descriptions of objects replace the psychology and interiority of the character. Instead one slowly pieces together the story and the emotional experience of jealousy in the repetition of descriptions, the attention to odd details, and the breaks in repetitions. Ironically, this method resembles the experience of psychoanalysis in which the deeper unconscious meanings are contained in the flow and disruptions of free associations. Timelines and plots are fractured and the resulting novel resembles the literary equivalent of a cubist painting. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Robbe-Grillet [Jul 2006]

See also: 1957 - Alain Robbe-Grillet - nouveau roman - experimental novel

La Belle Captive (1983) - Alain Robbe-Grillet

Perhaps based on Magritte's 1967 painting La Belle Captive

La Belle Captive (1983) - Alain Robbe-Grillet

Date: 20 January 2002
Summary: Last Year at Skinemax

Alain Robbe-Grillet, in his post-Marienbad career, has made a decent living for himself combining his structuralist maze-narratives with skin, guns, black leather, trapezes and motorcycles. In short he has managed to wedge one of the artist of art-movie genres into the Erotic Thriller shelf of your local video store. (But don't expect to see any Robbe-Grillets there soon.) Before a dismal tail-off (it was all a dream! or was it? no, it was! or was it?) Robbe-Grillet manages to solder together a pleasing array of rhymes, repetitions, hangovers, frames-within-frames, and other toylike devices which he wisely powers with High Surrealist fuel: dreamlike sexual obsessiveness. The first twenty minutes or so of La Belle Captive combine story elements from Eyes Wide Shut and Kiss Me Deadly--a winning combination (and one that suggests more that Robbe-Grillet read Schnitzler's Traumnovelle than that Kubrick jacked Robbe-Grillet's conception). As always in Robbe-Grillet, the combination of elegant, "meaningless," self-referential puzzling with lurid, charged material makes for a powerful experience--Andre Breton 2.0.

Too bad that, unlike his late, masterly THE BLUE VILLA (still shamefully undistributed), LA BELLE CAPTIVE cops out so shamefully.

One must now acknowledge, after LA BELLE CAPTIVE, Antonioni's IDENTIFICATION OF A WOMAN, EYES WIDE SHUT and MULHOLLAND DRIVE, that the Cheesy Erotic Thriller is now the dominant paradigm of the Western art film. --matthew wilder via http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0085226/ [Nov 2004]


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