This collection of essays on fiction could also be called ""Robbe-Grillet on the Imagination."" For the author of The Voyeur and Last Year at Marienbad the imagination is a fact-- what exists in it is ""somehow more real because imaginary."" He identifies his ambition with that of Flaubert: ""to make something that could stand alone, without having to lean on anything external to the work."" As in the early criticism of Eliot and Pound, there is in these essays the sense of a writer groping toward a theory on the basis of his own imaginative action. There is also comparably and equally, a sense of the autonomy of the imaginative work; for him, as for them, ""the spirit killeth and the letter giveth life."" However the artist now, the artist of the ""new novel"" has a different relationship with his audience. He is the narrator who ""invents the things around him and who sees the things he invents."" He also functions as an artist-priest and here Robbe-Grillet proclaims a new kind of Protestantism in which each communicant is also his own priest.... The doctrine is, expectedly, as eclectic as his novels have been and its presentation is a special one.