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Incompetents

Stephen Bann, 16 June 1983

Worstward Ho 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 48 pp., £5.50, April 1983, 0 7145 3979 1
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That Voice 
by Robert Pinget, translated by Barbara Wright.
Red Dust (New York), 114 pp., $10.95, May 1983, 0 87376 041 7
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King Solomon 
by Romain Gary, translated by Barbara Wright.
Harvill, 256 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 00 261416 2
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A Year in Hartlebury, or The Election 
by Benjamin Disraeli and Sarah Disraeli.
Murray, 222 pp., £8.50, May 1983, 0 7195 4020 8
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The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire 
by Doris Lessing.
Cape, 180 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 224 02130 3
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... comparison with Beckett would be neither irrelevant nor absurd. The French novelist and playwright Robert Pinget was put forward in the 1960s as an exponent of the ‘nouveau roman’. But his affiliation with Beckett was always stronger than the temporary association with Robbe-Grillet’s travelling circus, and Beckett paid him the compliment of making ...

Short Cuts

John Sturrock: Editions de minuit, 14 January 2002

... Claude Simon, Nathalie Sarraute, Michel Butor and the hugely entertaining and wrongly overlooked Robert Pinget. Beckett in particular, and later the very bankable Robbe-Grillet and Simon, seem never to have thought of being published by anyone else, even if it did mean their having to argue the toss over punctuation. There could be no more pleasant way ...

Under-the-Table-Talk

Christopher Tayler: Beckett’s Letters, 19 March 2015

Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1957-65 
by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 771 pp., £30, September 2014, 978 0 521 86795 5
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... her most interesting appearances are in the generous quotations from an unpublished journal by Robert Pinget, one of the few Beckett disciples to whom she took a liking. On 6 August 1960, he pays a visit to hand back to Sam the ms. [of Comment c’est] he’d given me three days before to read. I was dreading having to give my opinion. The text is so ...

‘I’m going to slash it!’

John Sturrock, 20 February 1997

Oeuvres complètes 
by Nathalie Sarraute, edited by Jean-Yves Tadié.
Gallimard, 2128 pp., £52.05, October 1996, 2 07 011434 1
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... only other living French novelist I would compare with her as a source of intelligent pleasure, Robert Pinget.) She went about literature slowly once she had taken to it. Tropisms, her first book, was not published until 1939, seven years after she began writing it. It is a sparse but mordant collection of short scenes of social exchange whose ...

At the Crime Scene

Adam Shatz: Robbe-Grillet’s Bad Thoughts, 31 July 2014

A Sentimental Novel 
by Alain Robbe-Grillet, translated by D.E. Brooke.
Dalkey Archive, 142 pp., £9.50, April 2014, 978 1 62897 006 7
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... began shepherding to publication the novels of Michel Butor, Nathalie Sarraute, Claude Simon, Robert Pinget and Marguerite Duras, who were soon known as the ‘école de Minuit’. These writers drew on different models, but with their detached sensibility and rejection of 19th-century dramatic conventions, they had enough in common for Emile Henriot ...

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