Sarraute, Nathalie

Sarraute, Nathalie nätälēˈ särōtˈ [key], 1900–1999, French novelist, b. Ivanovo, Russia, as Natasha Tcherniak; studied at the Sorbonne and Oxford. A lawyer, she joined (1925) a Paris firm. She began writing in the early 1930s. Stark and revolutionary in technique, Sarraute's nouveaux romans [new novels] Tropismes (1939, tr. 1967) and Portrait d'un inconnu (1949, tr. 1958) were brought to public attention by Jean-Paul Sartre. Sometimes termed “antinovels,” they are stripped of the traditional elements of plot, characterization, and chronology and instead focus upon psychological preoccupations, giving subconscious impulses surrealistic and analytic treatment. Her later novels, Martereau (1953), Le Planétarium (1959, tr. 1960), Do You Hear Them? (1972, tr. 1973), and Here (1995, tr. 1997), show some compromise with traditional form. Sarraute's essays on the novel were published in Age of Suspicion (1956, tr. 1963).

See her autobiography, Childhood (1973, tr. 1984).

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