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New Left Review I/29, January-February 1965


Alain Robbe-Grillet

Condition of the Novel (France)

There have been a number of very interesting speeches here. But I must express my astonishment at hearing the majority of Soviet writers expressing the same sharp criticism of modern literary pursuits as are made in Western bourgeois society. Here, as in the West, we are blamed for our ‘gratuitousness’, our ‘formalism’. Our art is judged to be ‘decadent’ and ‘inhuman’. We are asked: ‘why do you write? What purpose do you serve? What is your function in society?’

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Alain Robbe-Grillet, ‘Condition of the Novel (France)’, NLR I/29: £3
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