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Les gommes (The Erasers)
     

Les gommes (The Erasers)

by Alain Robbe-Grillet
 
"It begins with a stone falling, in the silence, vertically, immobile. It is falling from a great height, a meteor, a massive, compact, oblong block of rock, like a giant egg with a pocked, uneven surface."
The opening sentence of La Belle Captive introduces a dreamworld where the conventions of the traditional novel have been overthrown. Objects move

Overview

"It begins with a stone falling, in the silence, vertically, immobile. It is falling from a great height, a meteor, a massive, compact, oblong block of rock, like a giant egg with a pocked, uneven surface."
The opening sentence of La Belle Captive introduces a dreamworld where the conventions of the traditional novel have been overthrown. Objects move through space without regard to laws of nature, characters move through the text in a maddening complex of events.
Published in 1975, Alain Robbe-Grillet's nouveau roman is illustrated with 77 paintings by René Magritte. Robbe-Grillet uses Magritte's paintings as pretexts for the novel, letting them generate themes for an imaginary discourse that parallels their imagery, glosses them, contradicts them. Simultaneously, he comments on Magritte's paintings while taking advantage of them to parade his own favorite themes: play, eroticism, subversion. Robbe-Grillet gives us a plot that frustrates expectations yet shares his pleasure with the mysterious and poetic in Magritte's art, and with the cultural myths that painter and novelist both parody.
The book includes a critical essay by novelist and translator Ben Stoltzfus on the pictorial and linguistic affinities between Magritte and Robbe-Grillet. Stoltzfus explores the image of the beautiful captive not only in her mythical and erotic dimensions, but also as a metaphor for the artistic process.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collaborative nouveau roman about a woman's abduction features reproductions of 77 paintings by Magritte. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Robbe-Grillet, one of the creators of the nouveau roman, has interpolated 77 paintings of the surrealist Ren Magritte into this imaginative, unusual detective story. On a superficial level, the work concerns a beautiful young virgin who is abducted, taken to a canning factory, raped with a baluster, and drowned. Though the paintings do not correspond directly to the story, they become metaphors for aspects of the author's themes of play, eroticism, and subversion. Robbe-Grillet allows the reader to become involved in the creation of the story by searching for analogies. Of great interest is the essay by translator Stoltzfus, "The Elusive Heroine," which enriches the reader's understanding of the symbolism used. Also useful is an appendix delineating the novel's plot. Combining interpretation with the novel itself makes this work much more accessible to nonspecialists. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Ann Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Md.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9782707302564
Publisher:
Centre d'Exportation du Livre Francais
Edition description:
French Edition
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
7.10(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Alain Robbe-Grillet is one of France's leading New Novelists and avant-garde cinematographers. His work has left an indelible imprint on twentieth-century art. Ben Stoltzfus is Professor Emeritus of French, Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. His most recent book is Red, White and Blue (a novel, 1989).

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