The Faceless Masks. The Tragic “Hero” in the Nouveau Roman

Andrea Chiurato

Abstract


As many other experimental writers of the XX century, the nouveaux romanciers have paid a particular attention to the role and the scope of the tragedy in the modern world. By questioning its conceptual and prototypical structures they thus wished to understand its everlasting influence on our civilisation and, at the same time, to undercover its ideological underpinnings. That’s perhaps the reason behind their fascination for the long vexed questions related to status of the tragic hero in the contemporary age; the same questions which, since the beginning of the Fifties, aroused a heated debate among themselves.

Robbe-Grillet – the leading light of the group – regarded indeed such figure with a certain suspicion because of its close connection with the notions of “fate” and “destiny”; while other novelist, as Michel Butor, rather praised its potential as a metaphor of the human condition. The aim of my paper to provide an overview of their production from Les gommes (1953) and L’emploi du temps (1956) to Sphinx en chapeau (1984) in order to highlight their different approaches to the same subject – the story of Oedipus – as well as the differences between their own artistic visions.


Keywords


Tragedy; Oedipus; Nouveau Roman; Alain Robbe-Grillet; Michel Butor; Postmodern

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/2681

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-21501

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