In his 1973 Lecture politique du roman Political Reading of the Novel, Jacques Leenhardt proposed a compelling sociological analysis of the novel, unsettling Morrissette's influential contention that La Jalousie is about erotic jealousy and, more specifically, about the psychic reality of a jealous husband. Leenhardt historicizes the Cartesian subject and its desire for control, situating this subject (embodied here by the husband) in the early moments of decolonization, an era that confirmed the death of a traditional French imperialism based on territorial conquest and control, while also witnessing a rise in neocolonial capitalist systems of domination.2 On this reading, the narrator-husband's obsessive gaze, exemplified in his geometrical descriptions of his banana plantation-for example, "The bulge of the bank also begins to take effect starting from the fifth row: this row, as a matter of fact, also possesses only twenty-one trees, whereas it should have twenty-two for a true trapezoid and twenty-three for a rectangle (uneven row)"-is symptomatic of his uneasiness and loss of footing in the changing field of power (52).
Alain Robbe-Grillet's La Jal
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