Book as Main Character.

Do you share my feeling – quite widely felt, moreover – that we have entered the post-novel era, that the novel, at least in its canonical form, is no longer adapted to the lives that we live? In demonstrating its obsolescence the Nouveau-Roman was somehow the end of the novel, it rendered it impracticable . . .

It did in any case finish it off, if I may say so. But I think there are still two tendencies. Clearly today there are people who write “novels.” And probably will go on writing novels, probably because the uninformed and uncultivated public consumes novels. I think what we used t call “novels” will continue in a degenerated form, but also-this was already the case at the turn of the twentieth century-one can’t write novels any more when one is in “writing” [écriture]. You can’t say that À la recherche du temps perdu is a novel. Can’t we say that in effect Proust and Joyce had already displaced tale and narration, already disseminated, broken open, replaced subject and character? And proposed the Book in the role of main character.

Hélène Cixous
Frédéric-Yves Jeannet


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