Why I Love Barthes

Overview

The literary friendship between Alain Robbe-Grillet and RolandBarthes lasted 25 years. Everything attests to their deep andmutual intellectual esteem: their private correspondence, theirpublished texts, their conversations - notably in the famousdialogue which gives its name to this work. Robbe-Grillet freelysaid he had very few true friends but, next to the publisherJérôme Lindon, he always cited the name of RolandBarthes. In 1980, he wrote his own ‘I love, I don’tlove’, published here for the first time, ...

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Overview

The literary friendship between Alain Robbe-Grillet and RolandBarthes lasted 25 years. Everything attests to their deep andmutual intellectual esteem: their private correspondence, theirpublished texts, their conversations - notably in the famousdialogue which gives its name to this work. Robbe-Grillet freelysaid he had very few true friends but, next to the publisherJérôme Lindon, he always cited the name of RolandBarthes. In 1980, he wrote his own ‘I love, I don’tlove’, published here for the first time, thinking about hisfriend. In 1985, he predicted: ‘It is his work as a writerwhich will remain’. Ten years later, in 1995, he imagined himas an impatient, blithe novelist, merrily rewriting -‘euphorically, with inexhaustible happiness’ - TheSorrows of Young Werther.

This small collection of conversations and short texts byRobbe-Grillet is like the deferred echo of those that RolandBarthes dedicated to him in his Critical Essays in 1964. It offersfresh insight into the development of Robbe-Grillet’s ownwork as well as that of Barthes, and is a unique testimony to oneof the most important literary friendships of our time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The warmth of friendship between the two is palpable, with somecomic teasing: 'Roland speaks quietly,' Robbe-Grillet says. 'Idon't speak quietly,' Barthes objects. 'You don't speak quietly,'his friend ripostes, 'but you take the precaution of always havinga cigarette between your lips, which, as you know [...] doesn'tallow you to shout things out.' The modern literary event-goerwonders melancholically: où sont les Gitanes d'antan?"
StevenPoole, The Guardian

"The book's arrival in English should be embraced as a challengeto the many reductions of 'French theory' to a mausoleum ofmovements, -isms, and masterable ideas. A disapporving critic oncecalled Barthes the Pierre Laval to Robbe-Grillet's MarshalPétain, but this volume shows them to be eels - not quite apair, not easy to catch, but always electric."
Times Literary Supplement

"The image of Robbe-Grillet lying in the bath reciting texts byBarthes that he has learned by heart is only one of many unexpecteddelights of this extremely engaging little book. The dialoguebetween Barthes and Robbe-Grillet at Cerisy - friendly fencing -teaches much about each of them."
Jonathan Culler, Cornell University

"Robbe-Grillet describes his friendship with Barthes as aliterary love affair without intimacy: 'un certain type de rapportamoureux'. This paradox is traced in its complexity and mysterythrough the four brief texts of this collection in which thenovelist explores the different phases of his relationship with hismost eminent critic, laying bare their shared vulnerability andfragility in a way which compels the reader's attention."
Christina Howells, University of Oxford

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745650784
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922-2008) was a French writer and film-maker.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Olivier Corpet vii

Why I love Barthes, 1978 1

Roland Barthes's choice, 1981 51

Yet another Roland Barthes, 1995 61

I like, I don't like, 1980 77

Translator's Notes 81

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