Definition of nouveau roman in US English:

nouveau roman


  • A style of avant-garde French novel that came to prominence in the 1950s. It rejected the plot, characters, and omniscient narrator central to the traditional novel in an attempt to reflect more faithfully the sometimes random nature of experience.

    • ‘Because Americans stop at le nouveau roman and they think that after Alain Robbe-Grillet, there is nobody.’
    • ‘In 1984, Robbe-Grillet's autobiography, Ghosts in the Mirror, sparked renewed interest in his work because of its revelations about his life during World War II and his apparent rejection of some of the tenets of the nouveau roman.’
    • ‘And the list of generic influences - the apologia, the memoir, the road story, the nouveau roman - extends on and on.’
    • ‘In the conclusion of Reading for the Plot, Brooks anticipates the limitations of narrative theory after the nouveau roman and postmodernity ushered in new notions of plot.’
    • ‘The nouveau roman arrogated literary gravity, fell into an impoverished emotional minimalism and produced a generation of ‘novels’ that were no thicker than a box of restaurant matches.’


French, literally ‘new novel’.


nouveau roman

/ˌno͞ovō rōˈmän/