Phenomenology in the works of Robbe-Grillet
This thesis contends that a return to a phenomenological analysis of Alain Robbe-Grillet's film and fiction is a relevant and useful undertaking at the start of the twenty first century, providing the opportunity to reassess Robbe-Grillet's entire oeuvre, both films and novels. It addresses the limitations of earlier phenomenological studies, analysing works not yet subjected to phenomenological analysis, and exploring important themes into which phenomenology can provide original insights, especially since the development of new phenomenological critical theories. The structure of this thesis demonstrates the coherence of a phenomenological approach across the works of Robbe-Grillet. The introduction contextualises the contribution of the thesis, indicating oversights to be rectified in existing studies. The first chapter charts the development of phenomenology highlighting areas of relevance to the insights outlined in the thesis. Chapter two demonstrates that both the phenomenological reduction, and Robbe-Grillet's formal strategies of challenging cultural expectations, result in a "making strange" of perceptual experience, with repercussions for the subversion of conventional fictional and filmic narratives. Subsequent chapters explore further consequences of the reduction, beginning in chapter three with the embodiment of consciousness which impacts upon the presentation of narrative perspective in Robbe-Grillet's film and fiction. The fourth chapter examines Robbe-Grillet's rendering of a lived experience of time, rather than an objective measurement of it, thus analysing another consequence of embodied existence and of the "making strange" that results from undermining cultural expectations. Another mode of bodily existence, sexuality, was neglected in previous phenomenological studies, and is examined in the fifth chapter, in the light of feminist readings of phenomenology making a new contribution in its reassessment of the debates around cultural stereotypes and subversion. Chapter six examines the complex relations surrounding intersubjectivity, another area not previously addressed, and elucidates the problematics of Robbe-Grilletian inter-human relationships, The thesis concludes that earlier phenomenological studies have not fully worked through all of the implications of the phenomenological reduction in Robbe-Grillet's works in terms of cultural subversion, nor have they accounted fully for the interdependency of various modes of human embodiment( perception, situation in space and time, sexuality and intersubjectivity) as they are enacted in Robbe-Grillet's narratives.