Vladimir Nabokov pro/contra Alain Robbe-Grillet pro/contra Vladimir Nabokov pro/contra "le nouvel roman" pro/contra...
"The best French writer is Robbe-Grillet whom we met in Paris..."
—VN, letter to Edmund Wilson, January 19, 1960
"There is no question, as we have seen, of establishing a theory, a pre-existing mold into which to pour the books of the future. Each novelist, each novel must invent its own form."
—A R-G, "The Use of Theory," 1955-1963
"Do you think Robbe-Grillet's novels are as free of 'psychology' as he claims?
Robbe-Grillet's claims are preposterous. Those manifestations, those dodoes, die with the dadas. His fiction is magnificently poetical and original, and the shifts of levels, the interpenetration of successive impressions and so forth belong of course to psychology—psychology at its best."
—VN & Alfred Appel, Jr, interview, Wisconson Studies In American Literature, vol. VIII, no. 2, spring 1967
"In March [of 1962] he saw one of the very few movies he sought out in the nearly twenty years of his final European period: Robbe-Grillet's [sic] L'Année derniere a Marienbad, a film that delighted him not so much by its labyrinthine compulsiveness as by its originality and its romanticism."
—Brian Boyd, Vladimir Nabokov, The American Years, Princeton, 1991
"The French New Novel does not really exist apart from a little heap of dust and fluff in a fouled pigeonhole."
—VN, interview with AA, Jr., Novel, a Forum on Fiction, Brown, spring 1971
"In fact there would be someone, both different and the same, the destroyer and the keeper of order, the narrating presence and the traveler...elegant solution to the never-to-be-solved problem: who is speaking here, now? The old words always already spoken repeat themselves, always telling the same old story from age to age, repeated once again, and always new..."
—A R-G, Repetition, Grove Press, 2003
"I [...] adore the work of Alban Berg; I adore the music in Wozzeck or Lulu, but I am incapable of deconstructing it. This is true even for Wagner's music [...] [i]t does not prevent me at all from enjoying it. The decoding of the structure is a supplementary pleasure for someone who is capable of doing it, no more than that."
—A R-G, interview with Anthony N. Fragola and Roch C. Smith, The Erotic Dream Machine: Interviews With Alain Robbe-Grillet On His Films, Southern Illinois University Press, 1992
"Criticism is a difficult thing, much more so than art, in a sense. Whereas the novelist, for example, can rely on his sensibility alone, without always trying to understand its options, and while the mere reader is satisfied to know whether or not he is affected by the book, whether or not the book interests him, whether or not he likes it, whether or not it offers him something, the critic, on the other hand, is supposed to give the reasons for all this: he must account for what the book gives, say why he likes it, offer absolute value judgments."
—A R-G, "Time And Description In Fiction Today," 1963