Instead of this universe of “signification” (psychological, social, Freudian), we must try, then, to construct a world both more solid and more immediate. Let it be first of all by their presence that objects and gestures establish themselves, and let this presence continue to prevail over whatever explanatory theory that may try to enclose them in a system of references, whether emotional, sociological, Freudian or metaphysical.

In this future universe of the novel, gestures and objects be there before something; and they will still be there afterwards, hard, unalterable, eternally present, mocking their own “Meaning,” that meaning which vainly tries to reduce them to the role of precarious tools, of a temporary and shameful fabric woven elusively — and deliberately — by the superior human truth expressed in it, only to cast out this awkward auxiliary into the immediate oblivious and darkness.

Henceforth, on the contrary, objects will gradually lose their instability and their secrets, will renounce their pseudo-mystery, that suspect interiority which Roland Barthes has called “the romantic heart of things.” No longer will objects be merely the vague reflection of the hero’s vague soul, the image of his torments, the shadow of his desires. Or rather, if objects still afford a momentary prop to human passions, they will do so only provisionally, and will accept the tyranny of significations only in appearance — derisively, one might say — the better to show how alien they remain to man.

As for the novel’s characters, they may themselves suggest many possible interpretations; they may, according to the preoccupations of each reader, accommodate all kinds of comment — psychological, psychiatric, religious, or political — yet their indifference to these “potentialities” will soon be apparent. Whereas the traditional hero is constantly solicited, caught up, destroyed by these interpretations of the author’s, ceaselessly projected into the immaterial and unstable elsewhere, always more remote and blurred, the future hero will remain, on the contrary, there. It is the commentaries that will be left elsewhere; in the face of his irrefutable presence, they will seem useless, superfluous, even improper.

A Future for the Novel, 1956, Alain Robbe-Grillet, p.21-22.

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