Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture

By Alex Hughes; Keith Reader | Go to book overview

accorded in structuralism to linguistics (Saussure), where linguistic and other codes are viewed as interrelations of shifting meanings, corresponded to new novelists' emphasis on the independence of language to structure realities. Ethnography (Barthes, Lévi-Strauss) and fiction alike investigated the impact of myth on consciousness. Postmodern challenges to humanism and the speaking subject (Foucault) found echoes in fictional manipulations of character and disintegration of narrative authority. Althusser's post-Marxist understanding of how ideology mediates consciousness found counterparts in novelists' insistence that language itself contains ideology and that realism, considered natural, is anything but. Lacan linked language to the unconscious in ways similar to novelists' use of fantasy to generate fiction (and vice versa). Both the nouveau roman and deconstruction (Derrida) explored how language itself creates meanings not always in agreement with those the author intends. Thinkers and writers have shared the activist aim of demystifying assumptions, myths, knowledge and desires, showing how these are mediated and thereby mutable.

LYNN A.HIGGINS


Further reading

b
Barthes, R. (1954) 'Littérature objective', Critique 10.
Britton, C. (1992) The Nouveau Roman: Fiction, Theory, and Politics, London: Macmillan (an excellent overview and analysis).

h
Heath, S. (1972) The Nouveau Roman: A Study in the Practice of Writing, London: Elek (emphasizes collective goals and techniques).
Higgins, L.A. (1996) New Novel, New Wave, New Politics: Fiction and the Representation of History in Postwar France, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press (analyses formal innovations in metahistoriographic terms).

o
Oppenheim, L. (ed.) (1986) Three Decades of the French New Novel, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press (proceedings of a colloquium on historical retrospectives by novelists and critics).

r
Ricardou, J. (1973/1990) Le Nouveau Roman, Paris: Éditions du Seuil.
Ricardou, J. and van Rossum-Guyon, F. (eds) (1972) Nouveau Roman: hier, aujourd'hui, 2 vols, Paris: UGE.
Robbe-Grillet, A. (1965) For a New Novel: Essays on Fiction, trans. Richard Howard, New York: Grove.
Roudiez, L.S. (1991) French Fiction Revisited, Elmwood Park, IL: Dalkey Archive Press (an introduction to the oeuvre of individual novelists).

Nouvel Observateur, Le

Newspaper

Le Nouvel Observateur is a left-wing intellectual weekly, created by industrialist Claude Perdriel and editorial director Jean Daniel on 19 November 1964, with moral support from Jean-Paul Sartre and Pierre Mendès France.

Its origins go back to the political weekly L'Observateur, launched in 1950 by former members of the Resistance. Renamed France-Observateur in 1954, this became a politically outspoken, polemical title, rallying all factions of the non-Communist Left. It was among the first newspapers to denounce torture in Algeria, and was accused of undermining the morale of French troops. The newspaper's premises were bombed, and the paper seized repeatedly by the authorities. It also played a prominent cultural role, attracting contributions from historians François Furet and Denis Richet, sociologist Edgar Morin, Nouvelle Vague film directors, artists and intellectuals.

Declining interest in politics following the end of the Algerian war and internal conflicts led to falling circulation in the early 1960s. L'Express was also losing readers, and responded by adopting a new formula. Its editor

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