The Nouveau Roman flourished in France roughly from the 1950s through the 1970s. The loosely associated figures who acted as protagonists of the New Novel include Alain Robbe-Grillet, Nathalie Sarraute, Jean Ricardou, Claude Simon, Michel Butor, Marguerite Duras, and others. The New Novel took issue with the conventions of the nineteenth-century realist novel, best represented by Honoré de Balzac (La Comédie humaine). The centrality in the nineteenth-century realist novels of the individual and the importance of the protagonist was challenged by the New Novelists who hoped to replace an anthropocentric novelistic model with one that revolved principally around objects and gestures. Their aim was total subjectivity in which the reader plays an active role as a maker of new constellations between the unprocessed fragments of reality provided by the author.
Christy Wampole is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of French and Italian at Stanford University. Her specific areas of focus are nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century French and Italian literature, and she is currently completing her dissertation on French, Francophone, and Italian essayistic fiction in late twentieth century. The specific authors included in her project are Michel Tournier, Claudio Magris, Patrick Chamoiseau, Italo Calvino, and Yannick Haenel. Christy spent a year at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris as a researcher and has published various articles, translations, and book reviews in Chimères: A Journal of French Literature, Quaderni di Synapsis, The French Review, and Yale French Studies. She was managing editor of Modernism/Modernity.
Music from this episode:
“Hiroshima, Mon Amour” (suite) from Alain Resnais: Portrait musical (Bandes originales de films) (composer: Giovanni Fusco)
“Aubade” from Concert: Quatuor à cordes (lyrics: Michel Butor, composer: Jean-Yves Bosseur)