The literary friendship between Alain Robbe-Grillet and Roland Barthes lasted 25 years. Everything attests to their deep and mutual intellectual esteem: their private correspondence, their published texts, their conversations - notably in the famous dialogue which gives its name to this work. Robbe-Grillet freely said he had very few true friends but, next to the publisher Jérôme Lindon, he always cited the name of Roland Barthes. In 1980, he wrote his own 'I love, I don't love', published here for the first time, thinking about his friend. In 1985, he predicted: 'It is his work as a writer which will remain'. Ten years later, in 1995, he imagined him as an impatient, blithe novelist, merrily rewriting - 'euphorically, with inexhaustible happiness' - The Sorrows of Young Werther.
This small collection of conversations and short texts by Robbe-Grillet is like the deferred echo of those that Roland Barthes dedicated to him in his Critical Essays in 1964. It offers fresh insight into the development of Robbe-Grillet's own work as well as that of Barthes, and is a unique testimony to one of the most important literary friendships of our time.