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United States: Essays 1952-1992 - "American Plastic: The Matter of Fiction" (1970) Summary & Analysis

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Vidal rummages in vain for signs of life and renewal in The New Novel, which is at 40 years old in 1970, "young for an American presidential candidate or a Chinese buried egg [but] old indeed for a literary movement—particularly a French literary movement. He finds roots of The New Novel in the works of French writers/theorists Nathalie Sarraute and Alain Robbe-Grillet, whose seminal works of the late 1930s impacted American academic authors and teachers at a glacial pace, primarily second-hand through the proponent of "zero degree writing," Roland Barthes.

Among the American novelists who have come under Monsieur Barthes' influence are Donald Barthelme, John Barth, Thomas Pynchon and William Gass—mostly university English professors who write "experimental" prose intended primarily to be taught...

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This section contains 695 words
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Buy the United States: Essays 1952-1992 Study Guide
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