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Last Updated: Monday, 18 February 2008, 17:55 GMT
French writer Robbe-Grillet dies
Alain Robbe-Grillet
The writer's novels include Les Gommes and Le Voyeur
Alain Robbe-Grillet, the French writer who pioneered the so-called "new novel" genre, has died at the age of 85.

He was best-known for his unorthodox narratives, but enjoyed success, with novels such as Les Gommes (The Erasers) and Le Voyeur still studied today.

He also worked in film, first as a scriptwriter and later as a director.

The novelist was admitted to the Caen University Hospital in France over the weekend for cardiac problems and died on Monday morning, officials said.

Robbe-Grillet was born on 18 August, 1922, in Brest, western France.

The son of an engineer, he studied agricultural engineering and worked as a statistician and an agronomist before finding fame as a writer.


He developed the idea of the "nouveau roman" in a series of essays in the early 1960s.

Dispensing with traditional literary devices such as plot, narrative and chronology, the new novel sees story subordinated to structure, with the significance of objects more important than human action.

Les Gommes, his 1953 debut novel, remains among his most celebrated works and tells the story of a murder committed by the detective who has come to investigate it.

In 1958's La Jalousie (Jealousy), Robbe-Grillet writes of a man living on a banana plantation who suspects his wife of having an affair.

It was described in The New York Times Book Review as "a technical masterpiece, impeccably contrived".

But his novels were sometimes accused of resembling timetables or inventories.

The author was also associated with the new wave of French cinema, writing the screenplay for Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad and making several films under his own name.

Among his movies are 1963's L'Immortelle (The Immortal), 1966's Trans-Europ-Express, and 1968's L'Homme Qui Ment (The Man Who Lies).

His last novel, Un Roman Sentimental (A Sentimental Novel), was published in 2007.

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