Re: RARA-AVIS: Jealousy

From: Patrick King (
Date: 21 Oct 2007

Did you read the original or a translation? If translation, which one? I don't read French, myself as yet but have been told this makes a dramatic difference to reading Robbe-Grillet as it does reading Baudelaire or Rimbaud. RG was stylistically influenced by both Hammett & Chandler, but he brings his own French twist to the style and consequently is taken much more seriously by critics than either of his mentors. I, too, find reading him in English redundant and self indulgent. Someday soon I'll put a real effort on French and see what the excitment is about.

Patrick King
--- Michael Robison <> wrote:

> Just finished this novel by Robbe-Grillet. It's a
> short book and not much happens, repeating a few
> scenes over and over again with small variations.
> It's difficult to interpret the continuous repeating
> of scenes as much more than artistic
> self-indulgence,
> but the scenes do carry a solid literary effect.
> It's
> definitely well into the dissolution of self that is
> so popular in postmodernism, and it's the most
> successful effort in that direction that I've read.
> It was written well before the postmodern movement
> began. That probably has something to do with it.
> The plot is related by a man on a banana plantation.
> He never speaks outright and never refers to himself
> in the first person. A woman who appears to be his
> wife appears to be having an affair with a neighbor.
> The narrative is objective, with little or no
> introspection offered on the narrator's part.
> Nuances
> of chosen details are needed to decipher his
> thoughts
> and feelings. Mood and scene and symbol interweave
> to
> produce a decent work.
> Recommended if you don't mind a little artsy-fartsy.
> There was an essay on the work by Roland Barthes
> included in the book. It was so off-target and
> bogus
> as to be just about worthless.
> miker
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