The Posthumanist Vision of Alain Robbe-Grillet

dc.contributor.advisorBrami, Josephen_US
dc.contributor.authorGunderson, Kristenen_US
dc.contributor.departmentFrench Language and Literatureen_US
dc.contributor.publisherDigital Repository at the University of Marylanden_US
dc.contributor.publisherUniversity of Maryland (College Park, Md.)en_US
dc.description.abstractAlain Robbe-Grillet has long been a favorite object of investigation of literary criticism within French studies. A prolific writer, filmmaker, and theorist, he is often considered as the primary member of the group known as the New Novel, a collection of mostly French authors active in approximately the 1950s-1970s who sought to reinvent the novel through innovative narrative structures. While critical interest on Robbe-Grillet has slowed in recent years, he retains the reputation within literary criticism of being difficult to solve. Robbe-Grillet’s project, both literary and theoretical, is characterized by opposition to what he sees as the humanism of nineteenth-century literary realism. He seeks to invent narrative structures and elaborate a theoretical vision that would: (1) move away from humanism as a narrative and epistemological model, (2) invent a new conception of the human subject, and (3) more accurately reflect the state of the postwar Western world, which he views as being characterized by complexity, continual change, and technoscientific innovation. Critical posthumanist theory, which coalesced as a relatively coherent theory primarily in Anglophone humanities departments in the 1990s, addresses many of the same issues and adopts many of the same approaches as Robbe-Grillet. In my dissertation, I argue that Alain Robbe-Grillet should be considered a posthumanist author because of the a-humanist bent of his literary and theoretical project and the similarities that exist between his vision and that of posthumanist scholars. Furthermore, contemporary posthumanist scholars such as Stefan Herbrechter and Mads Thomsen have argued for the use of literature as a field for further development of the theory, as well as for use of the theory as an investigative tool for literary studies. Despite this, only a handful of full-length texts have been published on the link between narrative and posthumanist theory, and I have found no full-length studies produced on French-language texts. In this way, this dissertation provides a new understanding of Robbe-Grillet, contributes to the development of posthumanist critical theory, and demonstrates the potential utility of this theory as a tool for literary criticism in an interdisciplinary approach that combines French literary criticism with Anglophone theory.en_US
dc.subject.pqcontrolledFrench literatureen_US
dc.titleThe Posthumanist Vision of Alain Robbe-Grilleten_US


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