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A form of experimental fiction that dispenses with certain traditional elements of novel‐writing like the analysis of characters' states of mind or the unfolding of a sequential plot. The term is usually associated with the French nouveau roman of Alain Robbe‐Grillet, Nathalie Sarraute, and Michel Butor in the 1950s, but has since been extended to include other kinds of fictional experiment that disrupt conventional narrative expectations, as in some works in English by Flann O'Brien, Vladimir Nabokov, B. S. Johnson, and Christine Brooke‐Rose. Antecedents of the anti‐novel can be found in the blank pages and comically self‐defeating digressions of Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1759–67) and in some of the innovations of modernism, like the absence of narration in Virginia Woolf's The Waves (1931). See also avant‐garde, postmodernism.

Subjects: Literature.

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