"Outside, it is snowing": Experience and finitude in the nonrepresentational landscapes of Alain Robbe-Grillet
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
This paper presents and explicates the anonymous and impersonal spatialities tentatively mapped in the novels of Alain Robbe-Grillet. Emerging from the kinds of landscapes and visualities articulated, these spatialities are at odds with the kind of anthropocentrism characteristic of phenomenological narratives of spatial experience that would start from an apparently stable human-subject position. It is argued that his body of literature dismantles the anthropocentric narratives and biographies that would produce in both the space of the world and the ‘phenomenological subject’ an unwarranted depth and naturalism. Importantly, and reflecting the theoretical turn towards the being of language, Robbe-Grillet questions the legitimacy of linguistic subjects to capture the spaces of the visible. As such, it is argued that his literature reflects an experience of the critiques of phenomenology. Importantly, this ‘critique’ goes hand in hand with the kinds of spatialities and landscapes that are rendered in the novels—the indefinite perspectives they open up, the paradoxical visualities they sustain or deny, and the disorientation they inject into the heart of spatial experience. These literary effects produce a nonanthropocentric and nonpersonal spatiality which, although contributing to an erasure of the ‘subject’, at the same time expose and open up a sociospatiality based on singularities, intensities, and finitude.
Copyright © 2008 Pion
Romanillos J L, 2008. The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 26(5) 795 – 822 DOI: 10.1068/d6207
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 2008, Vol. 26, Issue 5, pp. 795 - 822