Portrait of a man unknown: a novel

Front Cover
G. Braziller, Jan 1, 1958 - Fiction - 223 pages
2 Reviews
Considered one of the major French writers of our century, Nathalie Sarraute is the author of several novels, plays, and essays, as well as of Childhood, her autobiography. A pioneer of the nouveau roman (or "new novel"), a literary movement that sought to free the novel from the confines of plot, characterization, and time, she was recently honored by the presentation of her complete works in the prestigious Pleiade series (other authors in the series include Honore de Balzac, Ernest Hemingway, and Franz Kafka). George Braziller is delighted to have been publishing all of Sarraute's work in America since 1958.

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Review: Portrait of a Man Unknown

User Review  - Scott Gates - Goodreads

A novel that seeks to investigate the horrors of cliché. Its vagueness level hovers around 90% (and this isn't the compelling kind of vagueness that some writers indulge in). The text is composed of ... Read full review

Review: Portrait of a Man Unknown

User Review  - Maureen - Goodreads

"Some of these unfortunate creatures, perhaps vaguely conscious that something oozes from them, themselves assume an inscrutable, rigid expression, with all exits blocked, as though to keep these ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
vii
Section 2
17
Section 3
27
Copyright

9 other sections not shown

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About the author (1958)

Nathalie Sarraute has been an eloquent spokesperson and theorist of the new novel, as well as one of its most talented practitioners. In her essay on the art of fiction, The on The Age of Suspicion (1956), she condemned the techniques used in the novel of the past and took a stand beside Robbe-Grillet as a leader of the avant-garde. The novel, she feels, must express "that element of indetermination, of opacity, and mystery that one's own actions always have for the one who lives them." Her works have now become known to an international public. Her ability to render fleeting awareness and the psychological states underlying articulate speech has won both praise and disdain. Janet Flanner has called Sarraute "the only one among the New Novel experimenters who appears finally to have struck her own style---intense, observational, and personal." Of her novels, The Golden Fruits (1963)---about the Paris literary fortunes of an imaginary novel of the same name---is "the most barren of extraneous decor, the most accomplished from the standpoint of her esthetic aims" (SRSR). Tropisms (1939), her earliest (very brief) book, contains "all the raw material I have continued to develop in my later works." Her "tropisms," she says, are instinctive "sensations," or even "movements," "produced in us by the presence of others, or by objects from the outside world. [They hide] beneath the most commonplace conversations and the most everyday gestures." She regards her novels as composed of a series of tropisms of varying intensity.

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