Read online La Jalousie ebook By Alain Robbe-Grillet

Summary La Jalousie

Ide au coeur du monde un creux au milieu des objets Mais comme toute ligne part de lui ou s'y termine ce creux finit par être lui même aussi concret aussi solide sinon plus L'autre point de résistance c'est la femme du narrateur A celle dont les yeux font se détourner le regard Elle constitue l'autre pôle de l'aimant La jalo A woman and her male friend sit on her porch having drinks and discussing a novel Her suspicious husband watches them through a nearby window s Venetian blinds get it Jalousie jealousy and a window with slatted blinds Let s hear it for French puns Husband fantasizes about the friend s death Construction workers repair a decaying bridge on the edge of the property Woman writes a letter Friend comes over for dinner Friend suashes a centipede Woman combs her hair Crickets chirp Repeat ad nauseam in fragmentary temporally disjointed ways then mix in some nonsense about geometric arrangements of banana trees and the uotidian movement of a column s shadow and that s pretty much this novel in a nutshell Unfortunately I lost interest in cracking this nut around the 40 page mark meaning it was uite a long irritating journey through the remaining 60Before I continue let it be known that I m absolutely in favor of cryptic challenging experimental literature but this novel simply bored me Any sort of fascination I might have developed toward its circular rhythms its enigmatic understatements its sinister atmospheres was uickly stifled by Robbe Grillet s mundane repetitiveness and Sahara dry prose which was probably his intention In his essay Objective Literature Roland Barthes writes By his exclusive and tyrannical appeal to the sense of sight Robbe Grillet undoubtedly intends the assassination of the object at least as literature has traditionally represented it In literature at least we live without even taking the fact into account in a world based on an organic not a visual order Therefore the first step of this knowing murder must be to isolate objects to alienate them as much from their usual functions as from our own biology Robbe Grillet allows them a merely superficial relation to their situation in space and deprives them of all possibility of metaphor he intends nothing less than a definitive interrogation of the object a cross examination from which all lyric impulses are rigorously excluded Robbe Grillet s purpose is to establish the novel on the surface once you can set its inner nature its interiority between parentheses then objects in space and the circulation of men between them are promoted to the rank of subjects The novel becomes man s direct experience of what surrounds him without his being able to shield himself with a psychology a metaphysic or a psychoanalytic method in his combat with the objective world he discovers While these uotes help me to better understand the novel on a fundamental level I must admit that the concepts don t appeal to me at all and are at odds with what I crave from literature I won t pretend to have a thorough understanding of the nouveau roman or of Robbe Grillet s place in the evolution of the modern literary novel but I have a feeling that my emotional and aesthetic sensibilities just aren t meant to be in step with the proponents and enthusiasts of the aforementioned movement and author In fact the only positive remark I can make regarding this book is that there are times when it does an impressive job of conjuring its lone setting it made me feel as though I had been transported to an exotic albeit claustrophobic and disturbing location somewhere beyond the limits of reality This to me is pricelessHaving read none of his other books my only prior experience with Robbe Grillet s work had been in the realm of cinema L Ann e derni re Marienbad 1961 for which he wrote the screenplay This unnerving dreamlike film does share some similarities with La Jalousie except for the fact that I loved it Perhaps Robbe Grillet s experiments with temporality and objectivity are better suited to the visual possibilities of filmmaking someday I ll give his own directorial efforts a chance Until then it will take some rather hefty convincing to encourage my exploration of the rest of his literary output

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La Jalousie

Usie est une sorte de contrevent ui permet de regarder au dehors et pour certaines inclinaisons du dehors vers l'intérieur ; mais lorsue les lames sont closes on ne voit plus rien dans aucun sens La jalousie est une passion pour ui rien jamais ne s'efface chaue vision même la plus innocente y demeure inscrite une fois pour tout I was overwhelmed by this novel the tense repetitions disorienting looping plot descriptions suffused with seething emotion but anything I could say has already been captured by Tom McCarthy s brilliant introduction So I m pasting that below THE OBITUARIES Alain Robbe Grillet received in the British press depicted him as a significant but ultimately eccentric novelist whose work forswore any attempt to he believable or to engage with the real world in a realistic way In taking this line the obituarists displayed an intellectual shortcoming typical of Anglo American empiricism and displayed it on two fronts first in their failure to understand that literary realism is itself a construct as laden with artifice as any other and second in missing the glaring fact that Robbe Grillet s novels are actually ultrarealist shot through at every level with the sheer uiddity of the environments to which they attend so faithfully What we see happening in them again and again is space and matter inscribing themselves on consciousness whose task reciprocally is to accommodate space and matter As Robbe Grillet was himself fond of declaring No art without worldThis type of intense congress with the real can be seen even in the author s shortest offerings In the three page story The Dressmaker s Dummy which opens the collection Snapshots 1962 we are shown a coffeepot a four legged table a waxed tablecloth a manneuin and crucially a large rectangular mirror that reflects the room s objects which include a mirror fronted wardrobe that in turn redoubles everything Thus we are made to navigate a set of duplications modifications and distortions that are at once almost impossibly complex and utterly accurate This is how rooms actually look to an observer how their angles surfaces and sight lines impose themselves on his or her perception No other action takes place in the piece which nonetheless ends with a uite stunning twist as we are told that the coffeepot s base bears a picture of an owl with two large somewhat frightening eyes but due to the coffeepot s presence this image cannot be seen What waits for us at the story s climax its gaze directed back toward our own is a blind spotIn Jealousy 1957 this blind spot is the novel s protagonist Through a meticulously indeed obsessively described house set in the middle of a tropical banana plantation moves what filmmakers call a POV or point of view a camera and mic like node of seeing and hearing The one thing not seen or heard by this node is the node itself Phrases such as It takes a glance at her empty though stained plate to discover and Memory succeeds over in reconstituting beg the uestions Whose glance Whose memory The answer it can pretty easily be inferred from the novel s context is that it is the master of the house s glance and memory his movements and reflections that we are experiencing as he watches his wife identified only as A negotiate an affair with the neighboring plantation s owner Franck The effect of stating the hero s subjectivity negatively by implication rather than by affirmation is eerie and troubling His gaze becomes like that of The Shape in John Carpenter s Halloween or the entity in David Lynch s Lost Highway who stalks a maritally troubled house at night armed with a camera When we read that it is only at a distance of less than a yard that the back of A s head appears a certain way we realize with a shudder that her jealous husband is creeping up on her from behind He is observing her in this particular instance through the slats of a blind or jalousie in French and we through an ingenious if untranslatable linguistic duplication are watching her through two jalousies a double blindThe novel is saturated with a sense of geometry The house s surfaces reveal themselves to us in a series of straight lines and chevrons horizontals verticals and diagonals disks and trapezoids The banana trees as green as jealousy itself are laid out in uincunxes as are the workers who replace the bridge s rectangular beams Geometric order is pitted against formlessness and entropy On the far side of the valley toward Franck s house is a patch in which the narrator tells us using language reminiscent of Othello s that confusion has gained the ascendancy As A combs her hair the struggle between geometry and chaos is replayed With a mechanical gesture the oval of the brush and the straight lines of its teeth pass through the black mass on her head imposing order on it just as the mechanical cries of nocturnal animals shape the darkness beyond the veranda by indicating each one s trajectory through the night Geometry usually wins Even the tangled skein of insects buzzing around the lamp reveals itself when observed at length by the husband to be describing or less flattened ellipses in horizontal planes or at slight angles But an ellipse is not merely a type of orbit it also designates a syntactic omission a typographic gap What s missing from this geometry is A the character whose very name contains an ellipse During this particular scene she is off in town with Franck As the narrator waits for her to come home the lamp hisses like a green eyed monsterEnmeshed with the book s spatial logic is a temporal one The second time we see the shadow of the column fall on the veranda it has lengthened in a clockwise direction the geometry of the house effectively forming a sundial In a filmed interview last year with curator Hans Ulrich Obrist Robbe Grillet s influence on contemporary visual art is enormous the author ponders Hegel s paradox that to say Now it is day cannot be wholly true if a few hours later one can eually truthfully declare Now it is night and notes that for Hegel the only true part of the statements is the word now Why Because it persists The same word punctuates Jealousy like the regular chime of a clock Now the shadow of the column Now the house is empty until the day breaks nowThis is not to say that time moves forward in a straight line Like Benjy in William Faulkner s The Sound and the Fury Jealousy s narrator experiences time or times simultaneously For Robbe Grillet who also made films writing is like splicing together strips of celluloid to create a continual present There are prolepses analepses loops and repetitions a process slyly mirrored in the staggering of the plantation cycle through the whole year such that all its phases occur at the same time every day and the periodical trivial incidents also repeat themselves simultaneously but the time is always now A delightful exchange between the husband and the servant boy in which the latter answers a uestion as to when he was instructed to retrieve ice cubes from the pantry with an imprecise now discerning in the uestion a reuest to hurry carries this point home All the book s actions and exchanges swelter in a stultifying oppressive and persistent present tense what Joyce in Finnegans Wake calls the pressantThe only escape route from this pressant from its simultaneity its loops and repetitions would be violence for the narrator to perpetrate a crime passionel against A and by murdering her free them from the vicious circle of meals cocktails hair combing spying But this does not happen Only the centipede dies again and again and again The venomous Scutigera serves as a meeting point for associations so overloaded that if it were a plug socket it would be smoking During one of its many death scenes the narrative cuts from the crackling of its dying scream as its many legs curl to the crackling sound made by the many teeth of A s brush running through her hair then on to A s fingers clenching the tablecloth in terror from there to the same gesture played out across the bedsheet then finally to Franck jolting and driving violently a sexual image that resolves itself into a putative crash in which the plantation owner s burning car makes the bush crackle As with Franck s car crash posited and then erased it seems that A has finally met a violent fate when near the novel s end we re shown a reddish streak running from the bedroom window to the veranda But no sooner is it outlined than we are told that it has always been there and that A has decided it will not be painted out for the moment So the moment the eternal now persists and she returns to sit at her desk as beforeA is a fantastic creation a femme fatale to rival Lady Macbeth or Clytemnestra in terms of her castrating potency Throughout the book Robbe Grillet associates her with the color green green eyes green irises and coldness She serves ice cubes each of which imprisons a bundle of silver needles in its heart A twist rears its head when after she and Franck return from their night in a hotel she taunts Franck whose sexuality has been associated with car engines from the outset by saying You re not much of a mechanic are you words that cause him to grimace Later as they sit side by side our attention is diverted to the metal ice bucket its lustre already frosted over If A retreats from the narrator she retreats from Franck as well remaining inaccessible to both Perhaps the literary female she resembles most is another A Faulkner s Addie Bundren in As I Lay Dying who despite marriage and an extramarital affair abides refraining and recessional beyond the reach of both husband and lover and of words themselves As Jealousy nears its end A like Addie slips away into the blank areas of the book s geometry spending and time outside the field of vision as though commandeering the narrator s blind spot for herselfOne of A s main activities throughout the novel is to read and write She and Franck use a novel which they both have read and the narrator has not as a cover to discuss their own situation right in front of him They also exchange letters The small spasms and convulsions of A s hair as she sits at her writing table busy hands hidden from view lend the act of writing a sexual aura by implying that she could as easily be masturbating as erasing a stain or a badly chosen word In this respect there is something utterly perverse doubly perverse about her husband s perusal of her writing s residues the fragments of letters left on the writing case s blotter These too are geometric figures tiny lines arcs crosses loops etc but unlike the centipede whose form is marked so legibly across the wall before being erased and reinscribed over and over again here no complete letter can be made out even in a mirror the text remains illegibleIn the interview with Obrist Robbe Grillet claimed that whereas the novels of Balzac or Dickens do not reuire readers since they perform all the latter s work themselves his own writing calls for active readers who will piece everything together Each work is like an Airfix kit or precisely an IKEA one since there is always one vital piece missing The final letter we see A reading has come not from Franck but rather in the last post from Europe from an unknown correspondent As she sets a blank leaf on her green blotter removes her pen s cap and bends forward to start writing one twist emerges Within the self reflexive geometries of Robbe Griller s hall of mirrors the ultimate blind spot just might be the reader

Alain Robbe-Grillet õ 9 Review

Le narrateur de ce récit un mari ui surveille sa femme est au centre de l'intrigue Il reste d'ailleurs en scène de la première phrase à la dernière ueluefois légèrement à l'écart d'un côté ou de l'autre mais toujours au premier plan Souvent même il s'y trouve seul Ce personnage n'a pas de nom pas de visage Il est un v What the hell did I just read This is one of the most bizarre tense paralyzing novellas I ve ever experienced Lying in wait within these scant few pages are the noxious suffocation and claustrophobia inherent in jealousy manifested in an extremely original shockingly cumulative way The reader is insidiously imprisoned trapped in an endless circular labyrinth of stifling oppressive stillness This confinement however rapidly becomes a perverse pleasure It both enervates and intoxicates there is no desire whatsoever to leave The consuming addiction the taut closed loop of suspicion is allWhile reading this was exuisitely excruciating now that it s over I find that I m suffering even acutely from the withdrawal I need to get back into that singularly airless reality to submerge myself in that relentless inertia once To borrow a word from David Foster Wallace I m completely aghasted Often I m not entirely sure what to make of experimental literature but this I can safely say was a masterfully meticulous mind fuck of the first order The sensation I had upon finishing it reminds me of what I felt after viewing Eraserhead for the first timeRead at your own risk You may never truly escape But then you probably won t want to


10 thoughts on “La Jalousie

  1. says:

    “The world is neither meaningful nor absurd it uite simply is and that in any case is what is so remarkable about it”― Alain Robbe GrilletFor anyone interested in exploring the fiction of the Nouveu Roman New Novel Alain Robbe Grillet’s 100 page novella Jealousy would make for a great start a prime example of the author’s uniue style a style highlighting precise mathematical and freuently repetitive d

  2. says:

    What the hell did I just read This is one of the most bizarre tense paralyzing novellas I’ve ever experienced Lying in wait within these scant few pages are the noxious suffocation and claustrophobia inherent in jealousy manifested in an extremely original shockingly cumulative way The reader is insidiously imprisoned trapped in an endless circular labyrinth of stifling oppressive stillness This confinement however rapidly be

  3. says:

    The shadow of the column though it is already very long would have to be nearly a yard longer to reach the little round spot on the flagstones From the latter runs a thin vertical thread which increases in size as it rises

  4. says:

    I can imagine the narrator being a well made robot carefully noticing every detail of the object it is asked to supervise

  5. says:

    JalousieThe word jalousie the French title of this novel has two meanings one being jealousy which was given to the English title; the other being shutters or louvres a blind with adjustable horizontal slats for admitting light and

  6. says:

    A woman and her male friend sit on her porch having drinks and discussing a novel Her suspicious husband watches them through a nearby window's Venetian blinds get it Jalousie jealousy and a window with slatted blinds Let's hear it for French

  7. says:

    A key text of the nouveau roman an unnamed ‘all seeing eye’ narrator navigates his way around an African banana plantation obsess

  8. says:

    UPDATE 0420 Reading this for the second time I found it much better thus I've bettered it's score Will certainly now read of himFIRST THOUGHTS 0619 below Still don't really know what to make of this It's no doubt cleverly done and highly ori

  9. says:

    I was overwhelmed by this novel the tense repetitions disorienting looping plot descriptions suffused with seething emotion but anything I could say has already been captured by Tom McCarthy's brilliant introduction So I'm

  10. says:

    Simply astonishing I’ve never read anything remotely similar To a very small extent a film like The Sixth Sense may carry a kernel of parallel in terms of narrative perspective but this would only be in an implied helicopter view pointA plot of sorts is cobbled together of a few sparse events A the mistress of a banana plantatio