Butor, Michel

Butor, Michel mēshĕlˈ bütôrˈ [key], 1926–2016, French novelist and critic. As one of the chief exponents of the nouveau roman [new novel] (see French literature), Butor was less interested in the outcome of action in his novels than he was in the action itself. Employing shifting time sequences, a detached attitude, strong visual images, and the interior monologue, he often focused on one small area of experience to reveal the larger complexity of life. His novels include Passage de Milan (1954), L'Emploi du Temps (1956; tr. Passing Time, 1960), La Modification (1957; tr. Second Thoughts, 1958, A Change of Heart 1959), Degrés (1960, tr. Degrees, 1961). After 1960 he largely abandoned the novel, focussing his literary efforts on a number of forms, such as essays, critical pieces, poetry, musical texts, books on artists, and studies of writers, places, and ideas. His late works include Mobile (1962; tr. Mobile: Study for a Representation of the United States, 1963), Niagara (1969, tr. 1969), Boomerang (1978), and a five-volume book combining these forms entitled Matière de Rêves [stuff of dreams] (1975–85).

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