Front cover image for New novel, new wave, new politics : fiction and the representation of history in postwar France

New novel, new wave, new politics : fiction and the representation of history in postwar France

Until now, writings on the celebrated movements in literature and film that emerged in France in the mid-1950s - the New Novel and New Wave - have concentrated on their formal innovations, not on their engagement with history or politics. New Novel, New Wave, New Politics overturns this traditional approach. Lynn A. Higgins argues that the New Novelists (e.g., Alain Robbe-Grillet, Claude Simon, Marguerite Duras) and New Wave filmmakers (e.g., Claude Chabrol, Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais) "engage in a kind of historiography ... They enact the conflicts, the double binds of postwar history and representation." Higgins claims that what art historian Serge Guilbaut has said of American Abstract Expressionism is equally true of the New Novel and New Wavethat its aesthetic innovations "provided a way for avant-garde artists to preserve their sense of social 'commitment' ... while eschewing the art of propaganda and illustration. It was in a sense a political apoliticism." Higgins shows how the New Novel and New Wave are related developments. "While their individual styles and themes remain distinctive," she writes, "they share an ecriture that can be described as alternately, or interconnectedly, filmic and novelistic." New Wave filmmakers borrowed novelistic devices and made frequent literary allusions, while the "vision of the novelists is distinctly cinematic."
Print Book, English, ©1996
University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, ©1996