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It isn’t your home

Toril Moi: Sarraute gets her due, 10 September 2020

Nathalie Sarraute: A Life Between 
by Ann Jefferson.
Princeton, 425 pp., £34, August 2020, 978 0 691 19787 6
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... academics read Sarraute (1900-99) as a standard-bearer for the so-called ‘new novel’ alongside Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922-2008), Michel Butor (1926-2016) and Claude Simon (1913-2005). I am not sure that many people read any of them for pleasure these days. (In my more cynical moments, I don’t think anyone read them with much pleasure back then ...

Letting out the Inner Pig

James Peach: Marie Darrieussecq, 16 September 1999

My Phantom Husband 
by Marie Darrieussecq, translated by Helen Stevenson.
Faber, 153 pp., £9.99, July 1999, 0 571 19663 2
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... narrative person. These ideas may come from her discussions with Jérôme Lindon, the publisher of Robbe-Grillet, Butor and Claude Simon, from her studies of recent French literature or from her knowing Nathalie Sarraute. She realises that there is some common ground between her writing and that of the grande dame of French literature: ‘Je cherche sans doute ...

It’s she, it’s she, it’s she

Joanna Biggs: Americans in Paris, 2 August 2012

Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis 
by Alice Kaplan.
Chicago, 289 pp., £17, May 2012, 978 0 226 42438 5
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As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Diaries 1964-80 
by Susan Sontag.
Hamish Hamilton, 544 pp., £18.99, April 2012, 978 0 241 14517 3
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... the man she found to do Givenchy à l’américaine for her. A dress was to be inspired by Alain Resnais’s new movie: ‘You must see “les Dernieres années à Marienbad”, all chanelish chiffons. I saw a picture of Bardot in one – in Match or Elle in black – but mine could be red, covered up in long sleeves – transparent.’ When she had ...

Ciné, ma vérité

Emilie Bickerton: The films of Chris Marker, 20 April 2006

Chris Marker: Memories of the Future 
by Catherine Lupton.
Reaktion, 256 pp., £14.95, October 2004, 1 86189 223 3
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... the age of thirty he had published poetry, short stories, a number of articles and a novel. With Alain Resnais, he made Les Statues meurent aussi (1953) and the ground-breaking Nuit et brouillard (1955); he then became a major figure in the French short film industry of the 1950s and 1960s, pioneering a new genre, ‘the essay-film’, in a series of ...

Mon Charabia

Olivier Todd: Bad Duras, 4 March 1999

Marguerite Duras 
by Laure Adler.
Gallimard, 627 pp., frs 155, August 1998, 2 07 074523 6
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No More 
by Marguerite Duras.
Seven Stories, 203 pp., £10.99, November 1998, 1 888363 65 7
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... rightly) to be associated with the Nouveau Roman. She felt much too superior to Claude Simon, Robbe-Grillet and Michel Butor. Nathalie Sarraute was almost the only living French writer she approved of. These were the years of Sartre’s ascendancy. MD, however, steered clear of the arch-guru and despised Camus. At the same time she ...

Après the Avant Garde

Fredric Jameson, 12 December 1996

Histoire de ‘Tel Quel’, 1960-82 
by Philippe Forest.
Seuil, 656 pp., frs 180, October 1995, 2 02 017346 8
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The Time of Theory: A History of ‘Tel Quel’ (1960-83) 
by Patrick ffrench.
Oxford, 318 pp., £37.50, December 1995, 0 19 815897 1
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The Making of an Avant Garde: ‘Tel Quel’ 
by Niilo Kauppi.
Mouton de Gruyter, 516 pp., August 1994, 3 11 013952 9
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... in 1960, by a group of ambitious young literary intellectuals, who found a first rallying cry in Alain Robbe-Grillet’s nouveau roman. These three books offer more or less concordant accounts of the early years, Forest’s being the most richly anecdotal (his is essentially a narrative history, a fine specimen of French cultural ...

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