The Myth of Creation

  • Celia Britton


The opposition between production and representation analysed in the preceding chapter forms the main axis on which the political significance of the Nouveau Roman is founded. But textual production is also set up in opposition to two other concepts: creation and expression. Even more than representation, these are among the most basic and familiar assumptions of traditional humanist literary criticism. It is usually taken for granted that works of art are created, and that artists express themselves in their work. ‘Creative’ and ‘expressive’ are common and unremarkable terms of praise. Despite this, however, there are fairly specific issues at stake in the presuppositions underlying both these concepts — which are related, but distinct — and the nouveaux romanciers have brought a new kind of attention to bear on them. As with representation, they are doing this to some extent in the wake of Tel Quel, although in this case it is Ricardou himself who makes the greatest contribution to the construction of Tel Quel’s theory; and within the Nouveau Roman, it is again Ricardou who is the most forceful attacker of creation and, especially, expression. Robbe-Grillet and Simon follow him in this, with slightly more emphasis on creation.


Textual Production Literary Creation Grand Part Writer Figure Textual Work 
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Copyright information

© Celia Britton 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Celia Britton
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AberdeenUK

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