Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Ideas of Robbe-Grillet

ideas make some sense within the pages of his book. It's a finely constructed argument made of tissue paper. His theory is dependent on one factor. Absent that factor, the ideas become rationalizations for what he couldn't do. Could he create characters, plot, humanity, tragedy? No! Never fear; he explains all. His theory is an explanation for his failings as a novelist.

What was the one factor he used to justify his art?

That he was the logical, sequential heir to a line of great novelists, beginning with Balzac. His experiment was the next step.

Curious, though. On one hand he celebrates Faulkner as one of his recent predecessors. On the other he says that plot and story are no longer possible. But was any novelist more dependent on the intricacies of plot, or had more of a story to tell, than William Faulkner? If so, let me know. I'd like to read that person.

Given Robbe-Grillet's dead-end theory-- that he'd already eliminated character and story-- what was to be the next progression after that?

Would it be to eliminate words themselves?

But that would be the end of the novel.

As solution we have the New New Postmodernist, ready to reveal his masterpiece to the world.

The hall is filled. A red velvet cloth covers the volume, which rests appropriately on a marble pedestal. With a flourish, like a magician he whisks away the cloth! To reveal: nothing. The audience gasps. The pedestal is bare. The New New Postmodern Novelist steps to the microphone with an explanation.

"The genius is that I imagined the novel. I hypothesized the New New Novel without ever having to write it."

Everyone applauds.

No comments: