Writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet was born in Brest, France in 1922. Robbe-Grillet's first novel, The Erasers (1953) is considered to be one of the first books of the nouveau roman, or new novel, in which external reality is more important than character or plot. His other works included The Voyeur (1955), Jealousy (1957) and Djinn (1981). He worked in the film industry as a writer, actor and director. He died at the age of 85 on February 18, 2008.
Richard Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 13, 1929. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1951 and studied at the Sorbonne as a Fellow of the French Government in 1952-1953. He briefly worked as a lexicographer, but soon turned his attention to poetry and poetic criticism. His works include Trappings: New Poems; Like Most Revelations: New Poems; Selected Poems; No Traveler; Findings; Alone with America; and Quantities. He won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1969 for Untitled Subjects. He is also a translator and published more than 150 translations from the French. He received the PEN Translation Prize in 1976 for his translation of E. M. Cioran's A Short History of Decay and the American Book Award for his 1983 translation of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal. In 1982, he was named a Chevalier of L'Ordre National du Mï¿½rite by the government of France. He teaches in the Writing Division of the School of the Arts, Columbia University.