Stephen Bann, University of Kent, UK, 1971

Robert Pinget : the end of a modern way [1]


Stephen Bann

University of Kent

 article paru dans la revue 20th Century Studies n°6, « Directions in the nouveau roman », Univresity of Kent, impr. The Dolphin Press, Brighton,  December 1971


Jean Ricardou’s recent article Nouveau Roman Tel Quel has the appearance of almost mathematical precision. Two works from Robbe Grillet and Pinget, as representatives of the new novel, are juxtaposed with two works by Philippe Sollers and Jean-Louis Baudry, members of the Tel Quel group. A programmatic sequence is obtained through the discussion ‘Of such related concepts as ‘Death of the fictional character’ and ‘Coming of the grammatical character’. The conclusion is unequivocal:


L‘activité du Nouveau Roman est redoublée par celle de Tel Quel. L’une subvertit la catégorie de personnage et l’autre l’abolit. L’une tend à formaliser sa fiction et l’autre, plus violemment, sa narration. L’une détourne contre lui-même le procès de représentation et l’autre l’abolit[2].


The conclusion is to some extent foregone. Ricardou’s purpose is preeminently the definition of the literary role of Tel Quel, and he has made a useful theoretical advance in clarifying a position that builds so significantly on Sollers’ statements of 1960[3]. Yet his approach has evident defects as far as the treatment of the two ‘new novelists’ is concerned. It is not my intention to quarrel with the choice of Robbe-Grillet and Pinget as exemplary figures: such they demonstrably are. Nor would I condemn the attempt to apply univocal concepts to this particular field of literature. Despite, or perhaps because of, the much trumpeted heterogeneity of the practitioners of the ‘new novel’, such an attempt is indeed overdue. The study which follows will take a similar application of univocal terms as its point of departure. But its main aim will be to emphasise disparity precisely where Ricardou has made an identification. Identified in the extremity of their solutions to the problematic of fiction, Robbe-Grillet and Pinget are at the same time wholly divided in the quality of their extreme solutions. Chalk may be distinguished from cheese (not to mention wheat from tares) by the simple expedient of tasting.

It is appropriate that Roland Barthes, whose proscription of the ‘École Robbe-Grillet’ was a decisive event in the early criticism of the new novel[4], should also have provided the univocal concepts which permit us to take a retrospective view of the unit y of the field. In his essay on Butor’s Mobile, Barthes stresses the point that:


(…) le discontinu est le statut fondamental de toute communication: il n’y a jamais de signes que discrets. Le problème esthétique est simplement de savoir comment mobiliser ce discontinu fatal, comment lui donner un souffle, un temps, une histoire[5].


That Barthes should have chosen to make this judgment à propos of Mobile is entirely appropriate. Butor himself suggests at one point that the work was composed like a patchwork quilt[6]. Open it at any page and the element of discontinuity is immediately apparent in the variegation and fragmentation of the typography. The process of reading no longer entails the movement of the eye through closely packed lines of print: it is a series of finely calculated leaps. Yet this obvious level of discontinuity is not all that is implied by Barthes’ remark. What he is in effect describing is a two-fold, compensatory process. Since, in any system of communication, distinctness of the signs is a pre-condition of the information content, we might say that the signs must be discontinuous in order that the message may be continuous. And since this two-fold process clearly implies a hierarchy of levels, we might introduce the twin notions of surface discontinuity and deep continuity, the first of which exists on the level of the sign and the second on the level of the sense.


The fact that this simple binary division can be used to create effects of great complexity is amply evident from the recent novels of Claude Simon. In Histoire (1967), Simon makes use on a more modest scale of the typographical discontinuity that charaeterises Mobile. He incorporates newspaper headlines in the text in capital letters, and similarly picks out name-plates and street-signs, which are frequently given in Spanish rather than French. From time to time he returns to a citation of picture-postcard views, which are finally listed one after another in a kind of catalogue without any discursive or descriptive framework.


These capitalised foreign words and citations of foreign places provide clear examples of ostranenie, the systematic placing out of context in order to renew the information content of a message. But because they merely arise as incidents in the overall flow of discourse, their effect is to underline the deep overall continuity of the Histoire. Simon reinforces this effect through periodically overriding normal typographical ()nventions, throul!:h the inelegant habit of beginning paragraphs with lower-case letters and the introduction of new sentences with capitals but no preceding full stops. In other words he does not simply stress discontinuity of the sign in order to emphasise continuity of sense. He also underlines this deep continuity through arbitrarily removing the occasional typographical discontinuity that we have been trained to expect. The visual and typographical structure of Histoire itself exemplifies the contrasting patterns of order evoked in its Rilkean epigraph:


Cela nous submerge. Nous l’organisons. Cela tombe en morceaux. Nous l’organisons de nouveau et tombons nous-mêmes en morceaux.


Simon’s most recent novel, Les corps conducteurs (1971), involves a modification of this principle. Discontinuity on the visual level is stressed only to the extent that a number of head-lines, street-signs and exquisitely italicised single words are isolated within a continuous prose that does not even admit paragraph divisions. Just as in Histoire, the overriding of paragraph divisions is a method of drawing attention to the way in which the units of discourse are continually being reformed, so in Les corps conducteurs, the complete lack of paragraph division impels us to search the text for units that may be isolated on the level of sense. 


What kind of units are these? How are they differentiated? Simon provides the answer in the electrical metaphor which constitutes the very title of the work: Les corps conducteurs, that is conductive bodies, bodies transmitting an e1ectrical charge or other form of energy to one another. The novel itself is built up of a series of related but isolable units, and it is through the relative contiguity and the intrinsic conductivity of these units that the charge is enabled to pass. Obvious examples of the process can be found in the frequent juxtaposition through the work of accounts of sexual intercourse and descriptions of a highly coloured plastic working model of the human body.


La dormeuse serre ses cuisses sur la main velue qui enferme son con. Elle gémit faiblement et se tourne à son tour sur le côté en se serrant contre l’homme. Dans cette position son dos blanc et ses reins se trouvent collés à la paroi transparente sous laquelle remuent les organes pourpres et bleutés de son compagnon[7].


What happens in this passage, and in many others throughout the book, is a kind of reciprocal transference between the highly charged sexual description and the highly coloured working model of the body. The continuity of Les corps conducteurs is therefore an index of the common intensity of descriptive language, even though what is described arises from different levels of sense. The tendency of the different levels to interpenetrate while remaining conceptually distinct is a measure of their conductivity.


Although Les Corps conducteurs illustrates in a particularly direct way the new novelist’s triumph over discontinuity, it is simply the exemplar of a technical resource that is far from being confined to Simon. In his recent Dialogue avec 33 variations de Ludwig van Beethoven sur une valse de Diabelli (1971), Butor employs an electrical analogy to explain the relationship of the separate elements in the text. They are « des  pièces conservant une relative indépendance, mais dont le rapprochement, tel celui de deux sphères chargées d’électricité de sens contraire, va produire des étincelles »[8]. And the model is confirmed once again by the early critiques of Robbe-Grillet undertaken by Sollers and Ricardou. Sollers wrote in his initiatory remarks on the new novel in 1960:


Tout se passe comme si la matière de ses livres se composait d’éléments bruts de réalité agencés rythmiquement dans une durée qui surgit de leur juxtaposition (…). Il semble que certains éléments s’appellent l’un l’autre par une nécessité de structure[9].


Ricardou has maintained, with particular reference to La Jalousie, that it is constructed « selon des cellules éminemment descriptives articulées les unes les autres par des charnières métaphoriques »[10].


In effect, the accumulation of analogies which emphasise the same basic feature may serve to suggest that we are dealing with what is almost a truism: the notion of the récit as a metonymic chain, which is necessarily dependent on relations of contiguity. The originality of the novelists who have been mentioned lies not in the fact that their works embody metonymic relations – since that is a pre-condition of any récit – but in the fact that metonymic relations have been given a structural significance. lndeed there is no other structure in a work like Les corps conducteurs. Since such disproportionate stress devolves on the immediate and local contiguities of the metonymic chain, a premium is placed on such ‘high-density’ metonymic relations as synecdoche, of which the juxtaposition of the working model of the human body and the actual body making love is a salient example.


Up to this point my concern has been chiefly with what might be called the ‘micro-structure’ of the récit. Simon and, to a great extent, Butor (whose work can only be dealt with summarily in this context) both rely on the contiguities and continuities that occur on a local level, rather than upon a dominant and, so to speak, extrinsic structure. In the case of Butor, the extrinsic structure of such works as Mobile and the more recent Le Génie du lieu 1 and 2 is simply that of the voyage: in other words, a structure that evolves with the récit and does not subject it to any pre-constrained pattern. Yet the same could not be said of Robbe-Grillet or Pinget. Both of these authors are concerned with the conquest of discontinuity. But in their cases this arises through the ‘macro-structure’ of the récit, or, more precisely, through an affective tone that informs this macro-structure.


Readers of Balzac will recall the climactic moment of Ferragus in which a traveller returned from the East seizes an enemy by the hair in a crowded ballroom, as a result of which the latter begins to perish slowly but surely from an unidentifiable disease. The crucial moment of contact, in which the inexplicable transfer of the poison from one body to another takes place, is a vivid image of that contamination of separate entities which is the novelist’s resource against discontinuity. But the real significance of the instance from Ferragus lies not in the incident itself, but in the fact that, in Balzac’s fictional universe, such a transference is possible. Such disparate phenomena as the shrinking chagreen skin in La Peau de chagrin, the violation of the bar between natural and supernatural, male and female, in Séraphita, and other cases too numerous to mention establish the fictional space outside the rational coordinates of the Newtonian universe. We do not have to accept the theories of animal magnetism, or biological vitalism, to appreciate the use which Balzac makes of them in his ‘mobilisation’ of the récit. The fact that certain possibilities, certain connections and certain transgressions of our experience exist as a necessary result of these theories lends an irradiating tone to our readings of Balzac.


There is a directly comparable effect in the works of Robbe-Grillet and Pinget. (…) At first sight there are obvious resemblances between the affective tone of Robbe-Grillet’s work and that of Pinget. Both authors tend to establish what might be called a general conductivity, a climate of suspicion and innuendo in which the hints of crime or transgression impel us to make linkages between characters, incidents and situations. Both authors are concerned with the endless deferment of the expected or hinted solution, and indeed make this deferment the very raison d’être of the récit. In Pinget’s longest work to date, L’Inquisitoire (1962), we proceed inexorably by question and answer. The extension of the work is, on the most literal level, coterminous with the extent of the judicial investigation prefigured in the tit1e. And the character of the old servant undergoing examination is employed precisely as a means of deferring the signifié. The desire to verify suspicions, to link up guilty partners, in other words to conquer discontinuity, is countered by the old man’s concern for the maintenance of separate, discrete entities. Thus he reproaches Marthe, the cook at the château, with the comments: « elle disait que tout le monde était responsable il fallait condamner tout le monde (…) elle voyait  partout des rapports »[11].


At one level, it should be noted, this need to defer the urgently demanded solution represents the very need for the continuance of discourse. The point is established from the very first in Pinget’s penultimate novel, Le Libera (1967), which begins with the sharp invocation: “Si la Lorpailleur est folle, je n’y peux rien”[12] lf Mlle Lorpailleur is mad, if the axiom of rational control breaks clown from the start, then the possibility of further development is foreclosed. As the récit evolves, various hypotheses which suggest a possible solution to the unexplained murder of a child are allowed to cast a generalised guilt over the village: “on voyait partout des rapports,” writes the narrating voice, “on flairait des ententes, toute l’histoire du pays depuis des années était remise en question, personne ne s’en tirait indemne[13]. Yet it is only in the final sentence that this urgency, this sense of unexplained guilt which seems to afford the motive for the extension of the narrative, is transposed and so resolved. The concluding act of release – the ‘Libera me Domine’ on which the title of the work is based – leaves the narrating voice with no more material to work upon: it is left with the thirst that is, on the most basic level, the thirst for communication:


Une soif mais pour l’éteindre je pourrai toujours courir.

Une soif oui, selon moi.[14]


These closing words from Le Libera powerfully underline the problematic of communication. The artist’s desire to communicate can only be satisfied by ‘running’, that is by the continued exercise of discursive language that is his distinctive task. Yet at the same time this ‘thirst’ is necessarily confined, in so far as it is a subjective craving, within a solipsistic world. The only chance of release lies in the possibility that what is projected, by the author, as a thirst, should be received, by the audience, as something different.


From this point we can begin to appreciate the crucial, distinction between Robbe-Grillet and Pinget. Robbe-Grillet’s attempts to ‘mobilise’ discontinuity are at the service of a reductive psychology. We trace the footsteps of the voyeur, we follow the soldier through the labyrinthine town, because we are psychologically attuned to fiction. To his narrative urgency corresponds our libido. Pinget, on the other hand, does not presume upon the quality of our ‘thirst’: he invites us to discover, and transpose, the intensity of his own. In Robbe-Grillet the violated body serves as the undisclosed object of the narrative, because it is in the nature of language to defer, on the level of the signifiant, what is hypostatised on the level of the signifié. In Pinget the undisclosed crime represents a motive for speaking out, an incitement to precision even if this must be at the expense of clarity. It is through his intimate control of the nuance of this motivated expression that what has been formulated in terms of narrative urgency is communicated as love.


This central feature should perhaps be presented in more exact terrninology. 1 am not suggesting that Pinget writes ‘about’ love any more than Robbe-Grillet writes ‘about’ sex. Simply that, in the same way as sexuality, with its basis in libido, constitutes the medium through which Robbe-Grillet’s message is communicated, so it is love which is the energising power of Pinget’s message, as it is received by us. Love in its three-fold Greek scale of eros, philia and agape. ‘Agapa’ is significantly enough the one bishopric in Pinget’s imaginary countryside and it is this pre-eminently Christian instinct – the love of those one has not necessarily seen because they are of the brethren – that is the measure of Pinget’s ‘thirst’ as an author. This is the instinct that affords the only valid analogy with the fatally indirect nature of his literary enterprise.


lt is with this open admission of the indirect nature of communication that we reach the core of Pinget’s vision. Roland Barthes has written of the writer’s commitment to the indirect that it deforms to the least degree “non pas ce qu’ils veulent dire, mais ce qu’ils veulent faire entendre”[15]. In other words, the attempt to disclose authorial intentions directly is self-defeating, since language is far from being a transparent medium and must be worked in accordance with the desired end. In the case of Robbe-Grillet this applies equally. The object of libido can only be brought occasionally and obscurely into the foreground, otherwise the urgency that arises from its deferment will be dissipated. For Pinget, it is not simply a case of introducing indirectly, and almost parenthetically, the abject of love. Love itself becomes essentially Indirect and indefinable, an unavowable passion generated by exceptional circumstances, as in the case of the narrator’s love for Fonfon, the bootboy, in Quelqu’un:


C’était un été que Gaston était en vacances chez sa mère. Marie et Sougneau étaient loin aussi et Reber aussi, exceptionnellement en juillet. C’était la première fois que ça arrivait et ça n’est pas rarrivé depuis. J’étais tout seul à la pension avec Fonfon. On s’entendait très bien, il faisait moins de conneries, les autres doivent l’énerver. C’est lui qui me réveillait à huit heures, il ne s’est pas trompé une seule fois, et on prenait le petit déjeuner ensemble. Ça oui c’est un beau souvenir. Même la lumière de juillet je la trouvais moins laide et même l’odeur de graillon je la sentais moins.1B laide et même l’odeur de graillon je la sentais moins.[16]


Fonfon is the single person within the community of the boarding-house to whom the narrator is able to give us love and affection, the single person who clearly stands in need of it (“Oui, c’est là que je me suis rendu compte qu’il fallait l’élever par le coeur”[17]). He is also, by extension, the audience – the single object of the indirect communication that is the act of writing. This comes unmistakably into view when Pinget engineers the climax of Quelqu’un around the stage when the narrator introduces Fanfon to the fantasy world of television:


Et le soir, ça je m’en souviendrai toute ma vie. Quand on a ouvert le poste et c’était un roman-feuilleton, le capitaine Corcoran ! Oui, toute ma vie ! Je ne peux même plus le dire exactement, tellement ça me remue. Fonfon avait les yeux exorbités, il battait des mains, il était méconnaissable. Je remerciais le ciel de m’avoir donné cette idée. J’allais peut-être sauver Fonfon comme ça, avec la télévision. Mais moi aussi je me sauvais, j’aurais pu me sauver peut-être.[18]


The parallel is refined to a further point by the abrupt removal of the mediating level of fantasy. The television is taken away, and the narrator is obliged to conjure up the story out of nothing:


Et j’ai raconté la suite devant la caisse à savon, en me forçant beaucoup, en lui disant tout le temps, regarde, regarde, le capitaine, ou le tigre aux pieds de la princesse, ou les soldats qui brûlent la citadelle. Et il regardait, il regardait, et il voyait, et il battait des mains.[19]


This is the moment of supreme lucidity in Quelqu’un, and it serves as a kind of celebration of the power of fiction, of that faith in the act of indirect communication which is the mainstay of Pinget’s work. Yet it is no more than a parenthesis, an insertion which acquires its force precisely from its unique appearance within the fumbling narrative line, Pinget expresses the contrast succinctly when he records the persistent failure of the narrator’s project, offset by the occasional moment of vision:


Mon envie de plaire est tellement forte que je tirerais bien parti de n’importe quoi pour ça et ça mène au ratage chaque fois … Heureusement que je suis lucide de temps en temps.[20]


Passacaille (1969), which is Pinget’s most recent novel, is also as short as anytliing he has written previously. But it resumes in an extraordinary way the themes and motifs of his previous work. In particular, it returns to the motif of the adopted son, originally stated in Le Fiston (1959) and reinvoked in the Fonfon episode of .Quelqu’un. Pinget’s insistence on oblique and unavowable affection reaches its strangest fight of eloquence in the following description of the narrator’s weekly ritual with the ‘idiot’:


Je n’exigeais qu’une chose, le savonner moi-même dans son tub tous les samedis ou à peu près, sans calendrier ni passion il m’arrivait de me tromper : et je me sentais moins seul à ces moments, J’ai sa peau sous ma main, je le savonne partout, sans exception de A à Z, peut-être plus le Z, à dire vrai c’est moins une corvée qu’un plaisir. ou si dans ma hâte à être moins seul je le savonne deux fois par semaine mettons mon erreur de calcul sur le compte de l’absence de calendrier[21].


The urgency of the description, combined with the equivocal nature of the action, are used to establish quite a different texture of relations to that presumed by Robbe-Grillet. There is no complicity in Pinget, no attempt to sustain the fiction through the assumption of a shared libido. Instead the erotic impulse is invested with a kind of innocent desperation: it is the analogue of a supreme attempt at that very contact which is denied to the writer by the conditions of his task. Thus the instance of ‘sa peau sous ma main’, without precedent in Pinget’s earlier work[22], becomes the most hazardous, the ultimate plea for the possibility of communication.


Yet Pinget is not simply repeating, and accentuating, the concerns of Quelqu’un. The ‘idiot’ is reintroduced towards the end of Passacaille in a passage which throws the whole structure of the work into an unexpected light:


Et ce jour-là dans le paysage sans perspective apparaîtrait l’idiot en séraphin, ses yeux limpides enfin fixés sur le même objet, ses cheveux gominés, son blue-jean impeccable, l’élégance du ciel, et il nous répéterait la phrase qui soudain ouvrirait les portes d’autres empyrées en enfilade, on passerait de  l’un à l’autre[23].


This transfiguration of the ‘idiot’ into a seraph is far from being a  random use of imagery. It represents the realisation and final confirmation of the theological, biblical and liturgical imagery that occurs throughout Passacaille, having entered Pinget’s work at the end of Le Libera. It is, if one wishes, the In Paradisum that corresponds to the Libera me Domine of the previous work.


The role of this imagery in Passacaille is in some respects difficult to identify. Indeed we can only begin to understand how so apparently slight a work can absorb so complicated a texture of references if we view it not simply as one of a sequence of novels but as a definitive point, perhaps the final point in his career as a writer: not merely a telos but an eschaton[24]. The series of Pinget’s novels thus takes on the form of an immense arch, of which the keystone is L’Inquisitoire, his most extensive work, and Passacaille the base upon which the whole weight of the structure rests.


Pinget has already encouraged this point of view by calling L’ Inquisitoire a ‘Summa’. The term not only coheres appropriately with the image of the keystone, it also suggests a more precise area of reference. In  Passacaille we learn that « le défunt avait passé sa vie à mettre au point un système d’affirmations et de négations incontestablement logique »[25] The reference is clearly to the gigantic enterprise of L’ Inquisitoire, which take as its point of departure the staccato injunction : “Oui ou non répondez”. L’Inquisitoire might therefore be called a ‘Summa.’ in the “sense that it is an attempt to achieve totality through methodical  enquiry, just as the great Thomist Summa of the 13th century undertook the task of unifying the natural and the theological spheres within one system. And equally the passage in.Passacaille implies that this attempted summation has been a failure. The jettisoning of nature as an element in a possible synthesis is explicitly mentioned at a point immediately preceding the vision of the ‘idiot en séraphin’:


Triste nature.

Que nous n’ayons pas encore trouvé une phrase, depuis le temps, pour nous en passer de la nature, une phrase qui retienne tout ensemble…[26]


Thus the attempt at totality, no longer attainable by logical methods, is shown to be dependent on the single sentence that the seraph is able to provide. The work of the author rejoins the scribal activity of the .Middle Ages: it is a mere “travail de notation en marge”,[27] which glosses the book in the hands of the recording angel. “Plongé dans son apocalypse à la petite semaine”[28], the narrator can only prefigure the moment of totality so desperately sought and the moment of judgment so endlessly deferred.


            Liber scriptus proferetur

ln quo totum continetur

De quo mundus judicetur


            In emphasising to this degree the religious and liturgical patterns of Pinget’s most recent work, 1 am, of course, drawing out a particular strand to the exclusion of others. Yet there seems good reason to claim that this is the most significant strand, which not only helps to explain the single work Passacaille but casts a retrospective light upon the entire course of Pinget’s exploration of language. Pinget’s successive novels represent a directed line of activity: their perpetual repetitions and reversions sufficiently attest the fact. And if his recognition that L’lnquisitoire was a ‘Summa’ denotes a specific, irreversible stage in the acquisition of the world through language, then his doubts over the possibility of writing a sequel to Passacaille indicate a specific end achieved. The dimension of .Pinget’s work has been that of every novelist: the world in time. But the unerring direction of his language has led him to the end of the world, the end of time. Hence the structural role of his progressive introduction of apocalyptic imagery.


But this is by no means all that can be said. It is a commonplace to refer to the ‘omniscience’ of the 19th century author, with all the theological overtones that such a reference implies. Pinget’s work also implies a ‘theology’ of authorship, but one that is quite at variance with tradition. The act of stopping the clock, which is an initial and recurring motif in Passacaille, suggests the removal of the temporal coordinates of the Newtonian universe. As a result of this act, the God/author is identified not as the efficient cause, whose creation runs like clockwork from the primordial decree, but as the conserving cause, whose constant intervention is indispensable. The narrative voice in Quelqu’un referred to a ‘petit futur pas plus gros que ça que je torche page après page[29].’ Passacaille perpetually hovers on the edge of nothingness, as the operations of the mechanical universe are called into question: “Quelque chose de cassé dans la mécanique”[30] The ’cogito’ still confirms existence, but on the edge of an abyss: ‘La mort au moindre défaut de la pensée.[31]


Here we return to the theme of discontinuity, and to the speculations which opened this study. In the case of the authors mentioned previously, discontinuity is introduced, and conquered, on a formal and structural level. With Pinget, on the other hand, structural discontinuity is replaced by what might be called a metaphysical discontinuity, since it is the very continuance of the narrative line that is open to question. And, as a corollary, the compensatory force – the affective tone which mobilises discontinuity – is also very different. Where Robbe-Grillet takes his stand upon the universality of libido, Pinget moves towards a relationship with the reader than can perhaps best be expressed in the terms of the age that followed the ‘Summa’, the age of William of Ockham’s via moderna or ‘modern way’. It is with Ockham that God the conserving cause becomes more relevant than God the efficient cause: pure faith, rather than any form of knowledge, underlies his conception of the Deity[32]. In the same way, it is our faith, and nothing more, that recognises and responds to the ‘love’ communicated indirectly in Pinget’s writing. The reduction of which Pinget’s work stands as a uniquely courageous example is therefore not to the libido which identifies man with animal creation, but to that ‘love which moves the heaven and the earth’: love which must be conveyed indirectly through the ‘via negativa’ that is our modern way:


Tu comprends disait-il l’amour si c’était ça vraiment je m’en serais passé[33].


[1] article paru dans 20th Century Studies n°6, « Directions in the nouveau roman », University ofKent,Canterbury,UK December 1971

[2] Jean Ricardou, ‘Nouveau Roman, Tel Quel’, in Poétique, n° 6, 1971, p. 434

[3] Philippe Sollers, ‘Sept propositions sur Alain Robbe-Grillet’, Tel Quel, Summer 1960.

[4] Roland Barthes, ‘Il n’y a pas d’école Robbe-Grillet’, in Essais critiques, Paris, 1964 (article first published in 1958).

[5]  Ibid. p.185

[6] Michel Butor, Mobile, Paris, 1962, p.29.

[7]  Claude Simon, Les corps conducteurs, Paris, 1971, p.80.

[8] Michel Butor, Dialogue avec 33 variations de Ludwig van Beethoven sur une valse de Diabelli, Paris. l971

[9] Philippe Sollers, quoted in Gérard Genette, Figures, Paris, 1966, p.84.

[10] Jean Ricardou, Problèmes du nouveau roman, Paris, 1967, p.142

[11] Robert Pinget, L’Inquisitoire, Paris, 1962 p.19, p.370

[12] Robert Pinget, Le Libera, Paris, 1968, p.7


[13] Ibid. p.215

[14] Ibid. p.222

[15] Roland Barthes, op.cit., p.13.

[16]  Robert Pinget, Quelqu’un, Paris, 1965, pp.215-16.

[17] Ibid., p.217

[18] Ibid., p.219

[19] Ibid. p.221

[20] Ibid. p 194-95.

[21] Robert Pinget, Passacaille, Paris, 1969, pp. l0l-02.

[22] si : il y a le précédent de la scène de Simone Brize lavant son enfant dans Clope au dossier (1961) – note de l’éditeur en ligne.

[23] Robert Pinget, Passacaille, Paris, 1969, pp. l17-118

[24] Cf. A. C. Pugh’s account of a conversation with Pinget in his introduction to Autour de Mortin, Methuen Modern Texts, 1971, p.IX.

[25] Passacaille, p.65

[26] Ibid. p.117

[27] Ibid. p.42

[28] Ibid. p.93


[29] Quelqu’un, p.I44.

[30] Passacaille,p.12

[31] Ibid. p.118

[32]  Cf. Etienne Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages,London, 1955, p.489ff.

[33] Passacaille, p.118