Alain Robbe-Grillet

Alain Robbe-Grillet was a French novelist and filmmaker widely recognized as the intellectual godfather of the Nouveau Roman literary movement. After an early career as an agronomist, he became a full-time writer in the mid-1950s. He wrote an influential series of essays which rejected conventional ideas about novelistic form, arguing that their preoccupation with character, ideas and narrative was outmoded and that they should focus on objects and the details of the everyday world. These ideas were embodied in novels such as La Jalousie and Le Voyeur, which gained great critical acclaim. He later came to apply his ideas to filmmaking, writing and directing challenging films such as L'Immortelle and Trans-Europ-Express. For twenty-five years he maintained a close relationship with French cultural theorist Roland Barthes, which is widely regarded as one of the great literary friendships and was traced by Robbe-Grillet in his Polity book Why I Love Barthes.