Around Proust

Around Proust

RICHARD E. GOODKIN
Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7szk8
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  • Book Info
    Around Proust
    Book Description:

    A study in obsession, Marcel Proust'sA la recherche du temps perduis seemingly a self-sufficient universe of remarkable internal consistency and yet is full of complex, gargantuan digressions. Richard Goodkin follows the dual spirit of the novel through highly suggestive readings of the work in its interactions with music, psychoanalysis, philosophy, and cinema, and such literary genres as epic, lyric poetry, and tragedy. In exploring this fascinating intertextual network, Goodkin reveals some of Proust's less obvious creative sources and considers his influence on later art forms. The artistic and intellectual entities examined in relation to Proust's novel are extremely diverse, coming from periods ranging from antiquity (Homer, Zeno of Elea) to the 1950s (Hitchcock) and belonging to the cultures of the Greek, French, German, and English-speaking worlds. In spite of this variety of form and perspective, all of these analyses share a common methodology, that of "digressive" reading. They explore Proust's novel not only in light of such famous passages as those of the madeleine and the good-night kiss, but also on the basis of seemingly small details that ultimately take us, like the novel itself, in unexpected directions.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2059-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-14)

    Because the title of this book is meant to be evocative rather than explanatory, I will begin by speaking about my main goals in the present study. What I have placed “around Proust” is a wide variety of things: other literary texts, other (nonliterary) artistic forms, and other (nonartistic) modes of intellectual pursuit. Certainly the openness of Proust’s monumental cycle of novels,A la recherche du temps perdu, to domains far more numerous than those included in this book has already been amply demonstrated. What I would like to do here is to use a number of these recognized connections...

  5. PART I: PROUST AND INTERTEXTUALITY
    • Chapter 1 PROUST AND HOME(R): AN AVUNCULAR INTERTEXT
      (pp. 17-37)

      IF, as peter brooks points out, “paternity is a dominant issue within the great tradition of the nineteenth-century novel,”¹ perhaps it is not surprising that Proust, that perennial “perverter”² of time and other things, would transform the issue of paternity into an issue of avuncularity.³ In Proust the paternal relation that dominates the nineteenth-century novel⁴ is not so much replaced asdisplaced: to the vertical axis of family structure, which marks the movement between the generations, is added the horizontal, or fraternal/sororal, axis, which deals with what Edward Said calls relations of “adjacency” rather than origin,⁵ and the combination of...

    • Chapter 2 T(R)YPTEXT: PROUST, MALLARMÉ, RACINE
      (pp. 38-62)

      The starting point of this chapter is a literary triple-cross-roads that Proust sets up at a key moment of his novel. Marcel writes a letter of adieu to the recently departed Albertine, telling her that had she not left him, he would have asked for her hand in marriage and given her a yacht and a Rolls-Royce, but also making it clear that he will not ask her to come back.¹ In the text of this letter Marcel quotes fragments of two sonnets by Mallarmé: he tells Albertine that her yacht would have been called “Le Cygne,” or “The Swan,”...

  6. PART II: REPRESENTATIONOF TIME AND MOVEMENT
    • Chapter 3 PROUST, BERGSON, AND ZENO, OR, HOW NOT TO REACH ONE’S END
      (pp. 65-88)

      Long before the publication ofA la recherche du temps perduwas complete, critics began to notice a number of points of contact between Proust’s masterpiece and the work of the philosopher Henri Bergson. In fact, it would hardly be an exaggeration to say that in the three-quarters of a century sinceDu côté de chez Swanncame out, critics have rarely stopped noticing these points of contact. What I will undertake in this chapter is neither an overview of this already long and complex critical debate nor a synthesis of the different positions that have constituted it.¹ Rather, I...

    • Chapter 4 FICTION AND FILM: PROUST’S VERTIGO AND HITCHCOCK’S VERTIGO
      (pp. 89-100)

      The idea of making a film version of Proust’s cycle of novels has tempted a number of prominent figures, from Pinter (who wrote a screenplay for a film of Proust that has never been produced) to Pasolini (who died before he could realize his project). But the novel presents formidable problems to anyone undertaking such a task, and particularly from the point of view of the novel’s peculiar temporality: relatively little actually happens in this mammoth work—and, what is worse from a cinematic point of view, it takes a very long time not to happen.

      Volker Schlöndorff’s recent film...

  7. PART III: LOVE AND DEATH
    • Chapter 5 PROUST AND WAGNER: THE CLIMB TO THE OCTAVE ABOVE, OR, THE SCALE OF LOVE (AND DEATH)
      (pp. 103-126)

      PROUST’S INTEREST in music has been well documented. Georges Piroué, for example, organizes an entire section of his study around what he considers to be the “musical structure” of Proust’s novel.¹ In this chapter I will explore the interaction between Proust’s twentieth-century masterpiece of French fiction and a work by a German composer who is among the greatest European musicians of the nineteenth century, Richard Wagner. The links between Proust and Wagner are numerous and complex; indeed, many pages have been devoted to this relation, including Emile Bedriomo’s recent study,Proust, Wagner, et la coïncidence des arts.² This chapter is...

    • Chapter 6 MOURNING A MELANCHOLIC: PROUST AND FREUD ON THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE
      (pp. 127-146)

      LET US NOW approach this same question of the relation between love and death in Proust’s novel from a different perspective, a psychological one. Freudian literary criticism has certainly not ignored Proust’s novels. Indeed, as J. E. Rivers, author of a recent work entitledProust and the Art of Love, points out, “most of the writing which has been done about Proust’s sexuality has been done either from an overtly Freudian perspective or with the Freudian position on human sexuality tacitly taken for granted.”¹ In a psychoanalytic study of Proust entitledNostalgia, Milton L. Miller comments that although there appear...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 147-160)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 161-162)