In this impressively interdisciplinary study, Evelyne Ender revisits master literary works to suggest that literature can serve as an experimental laboratory for the study of human remembrance. She shows how memory not only has a factual basis but is inseparable from fictional and aesthetic elements. Beautifully written in accessible prose, and impressive in its scope, the book takes up works by Proust, Woolf, George Eliot, Nerval, Lou Andreas-Salome, and Sigmund Freud, getting to the heart of essential questions about mental images, empirical knowledge, and the devastations of memory loss in ways that are suggestive and profound. Architexts of Memory joins a growing body of work in the lively field of memory studies, drawing from clinical psychology, psychoanalysis, and neurobiology as well as literary studies.
"An important, cogently argued, subtle and rich study of a topic of great interest."
--Mieke Bal, University of Amsterdam
"A work of literary studies positioned at the intersection of tradition and innovation. Evelyne Ender's book brings fashionable cultural concerns to bear on traditional literary texts-her superb pedagogical skills lure and guide the reader through the most difficult psychoanalytical concepts."
--Nelly Furman, Cornell University
Evelyne Ender is Professor of French Studies, University of Washington. She is the author of Sexing the Mind: Nineteenth-Century Fictions of Hysteria.
Dying for Time
Martin Hägglund Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PQ2631.R63A8195 2012 | Dewey Decimal 843.912
Novels by Proust, Woolf, and Nabokov have been read as expressions of a desire to transcend time. Hägglund gives them another reading entirely: fear of time and death is generated by investment in temporal life. Engaging with Freud and Lacan, he opens a new way of reading the dramas of desire as they are staged in both philosophy and literature.
Madame Proust: A Biography
Evelyne E. Bloch-Dano University of Chicago Press, 2007 Library of Congress PQ2631.R63Z544813 2007 | Dewey Decimal 843.912
Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time opens with one of the most famous scenes in literature, as young Marcel, unable to fall asleep, waits anxiously for his mother to come to his bedroom and kiss him good night. Proust's own mother is central to the meaning of his masterpiece, and she has always held a special role in literary history, both as a character and as a decisive influence on the great writer’s career. Without knowing much about her, we think of her as the quintessential writer's mother.
Now Evelyne Bloch-Dano’s touching biography acquaints Proust fans with the real Jeanne Weil Proust. Written with the imaginative force of a novel, but firmly grounded in Jeanne and Marcel Proust’s writings, Madame Proust skillfully captures the life and times of Proust’s mother, from her German-Jewish background and her marriage to a Catholic grocer’s son to her lifelong worries about her son’s sexuality, health problems, and talent. As well as offering intimate glimpses of the Prousts’ daily life, Madame Proust also uses the family as a way to explore the larger culture of fin-de-siècle France, including high society, spa culture, Jewish assimilation, and the Dreyfus affair. Throughout, Bloch-Dano offers sensitive readings of Proust’s work, drawing out the countless interconnections between his mother, his life, and his magnum opus.
Those coming to In Search of Lost Time for the first time will find in Madame Proust a delightful primer on Marcel Proust’s life and times. For those already steeped in the pleasures of Proust, this gem of a biography will give them a fresh understanding of the rich, fascinating background of the writer and his art.
Never Say I reveals the centrality of representations of sexuality, and particularly same-sex sexual relations, to the evolution of literary prose forms in twentieth-century France. Rethinking the social and literary innovation of works by Marcel Proust, André Gide, and Colette, Michael Lucey considers these writers’ production of a first-person voice in which matters related to same-sex sexuality could be spoken of. He shows how their writings and careers took on political and social import in part through the contribution they made to the representation of social groups that were only slowly coming to be publicly recognized. Proust, Gide, and Colette helped create persons and characters, points of view, and narrative practices from which to speak and write about, for, or as people attracted to those of the same sex.
Considering novels along with journalism, theatrical performances, correspondences, and face-to-face encounters, Lucey focuses on the interlocking social and formal dimensions of using the first person. He argues for understanding the first person not just as a grammatical category but also as a collectively produced social artifact, demonstrating that Proust’s, Gide’s, and Colette’s use of the first person involved a social process of assuming the authority to speak about certain issues, or on behalf of certain people. Lucey reveals these three writers as both practitioners and theorists of the first person; he traces how, when they figured themselves or other first persons in certain statements regarding same-sex identity, they self-consciously called attention to the creative effort involved in doing so.
In this study of modernist aesthetics, Beryl Schlossman reveals how for such writers as Marcel Proust, Gustave Flaubert, and Charles Baudelaire, the Orient came to symbolize the highest aspirations of literary representation. She demonstrates that through allegory, modernism became a style itself, a style that married the ancient and the modern and that emerged as both a cause and an effect, both an ideal construct and an textual materiality, all symbolized by the Orient—land of style, place of plurality, and site of the coexistence of holy lands. Toward the end of Remembrance of Things Past, the narrator describes the act of creating a work of art as a conversion of sensation into a spiritual equivalent. By means of such allegories of “conversion,” Schlossman shows, the modernist artist disappeared within the work of art and left behind the trace of his sublime vocation, a vocation in which he was transformed, in Schlossman’s words, “into a kind of priest kneeling at the altar of beauty before the masked divinity of representation.” The author shows how allegory—the representation of the symbolic as something real—was adapted by modernist writers to reflect subjectivity while masking an authorial origin. She reveals how modernist allegory arose, as Walter Benjamin suggests, at the crossroads of history, sociology, economics, urban architecture, and art—providing a kind of map of capitalism—and was produced through the eyes of a melancholic gazing at a “monument of absence.”
Known for her far-reaching examinations of psychoanalysis, literature, and politics, Jacqueline Rose has in recent years turned her attention to the Israel-Palestine conflict, one of the most enduring and apparently intractable conflicts of our time. In Proust among the Nations, she takes the development of her thought on this crisis a stage further, revealing it as a distinctly Western problem.
In a radical rereading of the Dreyfus affair through the lens of Marcel Proust in dialogue with Freud, Rose offers a fresh and nuanced account of the rise of Jewish nationalism and the subsequent creation of Israel. Following Proust’s heirs, Beckett and Genet, and a host of Middle Eastern writers, artists, and filmmakers, Rose traces the shifting dynamic of memory and identity across the crucial and ongoing cultural links between Europe and Palestine. A powerful and elegant analysis of the responsibility of writing, Proust among the Nations makes the case for literature as a unique resource for understanding political struggle and gives us new ways to think creatively about the violence in the Middle East.
Marcel Proust speaks to us today as a contemporary and a classic. His great novel resonates across languages and time, summing up the past, interpreting the present, and envisioning the future. For Proust in Perspective, scholars from France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Canada, and the United States have drawn on rich new editions of Proust's novel and correspondence to bring us fresh views of his work.
In nineteen original essays, a foreword by Jean–Yves Tadié, and an introduction by editors Armine Kotin Mortimer and Katherine Kolb, this volume guides readers through the dense weave of Proust's fiction and correspondence. The essays take us into the realm of Proustian language–-as quotation, metaphor, and memory–-and into art history and musical ideology, connecting the art of words with the words of art. They explore the interface of history and fiction, the mysteries of the text's evolution, and the dilemmas of its publication. They present the revelations of genetic criticism and the surprises of gender analysis.
Taken together, these essays conjure a multifaceted profile of Proust–-his work, life, character, and influence–-and of new directions in Proust scholarship today. With compelling rigor and infectious enthusiasm, Proust in Perspective conveys the magnitude of Proust's continuing appeal.
One of the most original and memorable photographers of the twentieth century, Brassaï was also a journalist, sculptor, and writer. He took great pride in his writing, and he loved literature and language-French most of all. When he arrived in Paris in 1924, Brassaï began teaching himself French by reading Proust. Captured by the sensuality and visual strategies of Proust's writing, Brassaï soon became convinced that he had discovered a kindred spirit. Brassaï wrote: "In his battle against Time, that enemy of our precarious existence, ever on the offensive though never openly so, it was in photography, also born of an age-old longing to halt the moment, to wrest it from the flux of duration in order to 'fix' it forever in a semblance of eternity, that Proust found his best ally." He quoted Proust in his own writing, and from the annotated books in his library, we know that he spent a lifetime studying and dissecting Proust's prose, often line by line.
Drawing on his own experience as a photographer and author, Brassaï discovers a neglected aspect of Proust's interests, offering us a fascinating study of the role of photography both in Proust's oeuvre and in early-twentieth-century culture. Brassaï shows us how Proust was excessively interested in possessing portraits of his acquaintances and how the process by which he remembered and wrote was quite similar to the ways in which photographs register and reveal life's images. This book-beautifully translated by Richard Howard-features previously obscure photographs from Brassaï's High Society series and offers a rare glimpse into two of France's most fascinating artistic minds.
The original version of Proust, Mann, Joyce in the Modernist Context strove to show how a kindred encyclopedic drive and sacramental sense informed their responses to the epochal trauma, yielding three distinct and monumental visions of the human estate by the 1920s.
Christine M. Cano University of Illinois Press, 2006 Library of Congress PQ2631.R63A77387 2006 | Dewey Decimal 843.912
Marcel Proust’s multivolume masterpiece, À la recherche du temps perdu, began to appear in 1913. Over the next fifty years, it gained a reputation as one of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century. But the novel’s classic image as a completed work was later shattered by the discovery of unpublished drafts, and the “war of the Prousts” has kept scholars arguing over its definitive form ever since.
Christine M. Cano’s Proust’s Deadline presents a concise history of the publishing and reception of À la recherche du temps perdu, and sorts out the most important issues that have arisen from the ensuing debates about the text. She ultimately shows how this quintessential “book about time” tells another story about time’s passage: the story of Proust’s mortal confrontation with the temporality of writing, publishing, and reading.
Reading Proust was first published in 1994.What readers of Proust in English translation miss, along with most of his critics, is how precisely his writing works, how exactly his subtle craftsmanship weaves the spell that seems to enchant and distract those who encounter it. Even critics who take up the idiosyncrasies of Proust's text, Maria Paganini asserts, refuse to test its limits for fear of running into the writer's deliberate opacities. Reading Proust puts an end to this interpretive arrest by focusing on the specificity of Proustian writing, revealing the patterns of thought and play of words peculiar to Proust's language, and showing how these metamorphose throughout La Recherche du temps perdu. Her work offers a new model for reading fictional prose, one that replaces the critical "why?" with the more practical and productive "how?" In well-known passages from La Recherche as well as often neglected ones, Paganini exposes a series of cryptic puns developed around three letters of the alphabet, "A," "R," and "T," which trigger many permutations in French: tare (flaw), rat, rater (to miss), and art. She shows how extensive passages of Proust's writings are articulated around a repetitive four-beat scansion using tare, rat, rater or arrêt, and art as its dominant theme. This four-beat scansion also translates into movement in space-point of departure, travel to the horizon, limit point, return-and Paganini uses such "promenades" to gain access to the text's mode of production. Her reading draws new meaning from this familiar yet enigmatic work and opens a new perspective on important issues such as the emergence of involuntary memory or Proust's approach to sexuality. Most significantly, though, Paganini confronts us in a very concrete way with Proust's craft, an approach that explains why and how his work continues to attract and fascinate readers. Maria Paganini is professor emerita of French at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Flaubert, la présence de l'écrivain dans l'oeuvre.
Between present and past, visible and invisible, and sensation and idea, there is resonance—so philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty argued and so Jessica Wiskus explores in The Rhythm of Thought. Holding the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé, the paintings of Paul Cézanne, the prose of Marcel Proust, and the music of Claude Debussy under Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological light, she offers innovative interpretations of some of these artists’ masterworks, in turn articulating a new perspective on Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy.
More than merely recovering Merleau-Ponty’s thought, Wiskus thinks according to it. First examining these artists in relation to noncoincidence—as silence in poetry, depth in painting, memory in literature, and rhythm in music—she moves through an array of their artworks toward some of Merleau-Ponty’s most exciting themes: our bodily relationship to the world and the dynamic process of expression. She closes with an examination of synesthesia as an intertwining of internal and external realms and a call, finally, for philosophical inquiry as a mode of artistic expression. Structured like a piece of music itself, The Rhythm of Thought offers new contexts in which to approach art, philosophy, and the resonance between them.
The modern novel, so the story goes, thinks poorly of mere description—what Virginia Woolf called “that ugly, that clumsy, that incongruous tool.” As a result, critics have largely neglected description as a feature of novelistic innovation during the twentieth century. Dora Zhang argues that descriptive practices were in fact a crucial site of attention and experimentation for a number of early modernist writers, centrally Woolf, Henry James, and Marcel Proust.
Description is the novelistic technique charged with establishing a common world, but in the early twentieth century, there was little agreement about how a common world could be known and represented. Zhang argues that the protagonists in her study responded by shifting description away from visualizing objects to revealing relations—social, formal, and experiential—between disparate phenomena. In addition to shedding new light on some of the best-known works of modernism, Zhang opens up new ways of thinking about description more broadly. She moves us beyond the classic binary of narrate-or-describe and reinvigorates our thinking about the novel. Strange Likeness will enliven conversations around narrative theory, affect theory, philosophy and literature, and reading practices in the academy.
Aware of the act of writing as a temporal process, many modernist authors preserved numerous manuscripts of their works, which themselves thematized time. Textual Awareness analyzes the writing processes in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, and Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus and relates these to Anglo-American, French, and German theories of text. By relating theory to practice, this comparative study reveals the links between literary and textual criticism.
A key issue in both textual criticism and the so-called crisis of the novel is the tension between the finished and the unfinished. After a theoretical examination of the relationship between genetic and textual criticism, Dirk Van Hulle uses the three case studies to show how?at each stage in the writing process?the text still had the potential of becoming something entirely different; how and why these geneses proceeded the way they did; how Joyce, Proust, and Mann allowed contingencies to shape their work; how these authors recycled the words of their critics in order to inoculate their works against them; how they shaped an intertextual dimension through the processing of source texts and reading notes; and how text continually generated more text.
Van Hulle's exploration of process sheds new light on the remarkable fact that so many modernist authors protected their manuscripts, implying both the authors' urge to grasp everything and their awareness of the dangers of their encyclopedic projects. Textual Awareness offers new insights into the artificiality of the artifact?the novel?that are relevant to the study of literary modernism in general and the study of James Joyce, Marcel Proust, and Thomas Mann in particular.
Dirk Van Hulle is Assistant Professor of English and German Literature, University of Antwerp.