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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 8, 2008

Phenomenology and Literature

Jean-Baptiste Dussert
Pages 241-258

Le primat de la description dans la phénoménologie et le Nouveau Roman

The point shared by phenomenology and the French Nouveau Roman is that they both confer great importance to description. But is it philosophically interesting to compare the works of authors like Nathalie Sarraute, Alain Robbe-Grillet or Claude Simon (which relate to details in the material world) with the works of Husserl (whose object is the eidos)? In this article, we first study in what way the method suggested by Husserl was innovative and in what way it influenced his examples and style in the Ideen. We then examine how the fact that this operation no longer relates to beings could be construed as progress in relation to Heidegger. Finally, we study the reasons why this mode of speech was favoured in the novels of the 1960s. Our assumption, as the later writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty show, is that this literary move­ment tried to achieve in the field of fiction the same breakthrough and to give description a scientific quality.