Understanding Marcel Proust
231 pages

Understanding Marcel Proust


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231 pages
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Understanding Marcel Proust includes an overview of Marcel Proust's development as a writer, addressing both works published and unpublished in his lifetime, and then offers an in-depth interpretation of Proust's major novel, In Search of Lost Time, relating it to the Western literary tradition while also demonstrating its radical newness as a narrative.

In his introduction Allen Thiher outlines Proust's development in the context of the political and artistic life of the Third Republic, arguing that everything Proust wrote before In Search of Lost Time was an experiment in sorting out whether he wanted to be a writer of critical theory or of fiction. Ultimately, Thiher observes, all these experiments had a role in the elaboration of the novel. Proust became both theorist and fiction writer by creating a bildungsroman narrating a writer's education.

What is perhaps most original about Thiher's interpretation, however, is his demonstration that Proust removed his aged narrator from the novel's temporal flow to achieve a kind of fictional transcendence. Proust never situates his narrator in historical time, which allows him to demonstrate concretely what he sees as the function of art: the truth of the absolute particular removed from time's determinations. The artist that the narrator hopes to become at the end of the novel must pursue his own individual truths—those in fact that the novel has narrated, for him and the reader, up to the novel's conclusion.

Written in a language accessible to upper-level undergraduates as well as literate general readers, Understanding Marcel Proust simultaneously addresses a scholarly public aware of the critical arguments that Proust's work has generated. Thiher's study should make Proust's In Search of Lost Time more widely accessible by explicating its structure and themes.



Publié par
Date de parution 15 août 2013
Nombre de lectures 2
EAN13 9781611172560
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,3150€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Understanding Marcel Proust
Understanding Modern European and Latin American Literature
James Hardin, Series Editor
volumes on
Ingeborg Bachmann Samuel Beckett Juan Benet Thomas Bernhard Johannes Bobrowski Heinrich Böll Italo Calvino Albert Camus Elias Canetti Camilo José Cela Céline Julio Cortázar Isak Dinesen José Donoso Friedrich Dürrenmatt Rainer Werner Fassbinder Max Frisch Federico García Lorca Gabriel García Márquez Juan Goytisolo Günter Grass Gerhart Hauptmann Christoph Hein Hermann Hesse Eugène Ionesco Uwe Johnson Milan Kundera Primo Levi John McGahern Robert Musil Boris Pasternak Octavio Paz Luigi Pirandello Marcel Proust Graciliano Ramos Erich Maria Remarque Alain Robbe-Grillet Joseph Roth Jean-Paul Sartre W. G. Sebald Claude Simon
Mario Vargas Llosa Peter Weiss Franz Werfel Christa Wolf
Understanding Marcel Proust
© 2013 University of South Carolina
PublisheB by the University of South Carolina Press Columbia, South Carolina 29208
22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Thiher, Allen, 1941– UnBerstanBing Marcel Proust / Allen Thiher. pages cm. — (UnBerstanBing MoBern European anB Latin American Literature) IncluBes bibliographical references anB inBex. ISN 978-1-61117-255-3 (harBbounB : alk. paper) — ISN 978-1-61117-256-0 (epub) 1. Proust, Marcel, 1871–1922—Criticism anB interpretation. I. Title. PQ2631.R63Z934 2013 843'.912—Bc23
To Irma
Series Editor’s Preface Acknowledgments Chronology Abbreviations and Editions
Chapter 1 Life and Career
Chapter 2 What Proust Published beforeIn Search of Lost Time
Chapter 3 What Proust Did Not Publish
Chapter 4Swann’s Way:Intimations of Paradise and Paradise Lost
Chapter 5Within a Budding GroveandThe Guermantes Way:Intimations of the Fall
Chapter 6Sodom and Gomorrah, The Captive,andThe Fugitive:Intimations of Hell
Chapter 7Time Regained:Intimations of the Resurrection
Notes Bibliography Index
Series Editor’s Preface
Understanding Modern European and Latin American Literaturehas been planned as a series of guides for undergraduate and graduate students and nonacademic readers. Like the volumes in its companion series,Understanding Contemporary American Literature, these books provide introductions to the lives and writings of prominent modern authors and explicate their most important works. Modern literature makes special demands, and this is particularly true of foreign literature, in which the reader must contend not only with unfamiliar, often arcane artistic conventions and philosophical concepts, but also with the handicap of reading the literature in translation. It is a truism that the nuances of one language can be rendered in another only imperfectly (and this problem is especially acute in fiction), but the fact that the works of European and Latin American writers are situated in a historical and cultural setting quite different from our own can be as great a hindrance to the understanding of these works as the linguistic barrier. For this reason theUMELLemphasizes the sociological and historical background of the series writers treated. The philosophical and cultural traditions peculiar to a given culture may be particularly important for an understanding of certain authors, and these are taken up in the introductory chapter and also in the discussion of those works to which this information is relevant. Beyond this the books treat the specifically literary aspects of the author under discussion and attempt to explain the complexities of contemporary literature lucidly. The books are conceived as introductions to the authors covered, not as comprehensive analyses. They do not provide detailed summaries of plot because they are meant to be used in conjunction with the books they treat, not as a substitute for study of the original works. The purpose of the books is to provide information and judicious literary assessment of the major works in the most compact, readable form. It is our hope that theUMELLwill help series increase knowledge and understanding of European and Latin American cultures and will serve to make the literature of those cultures more accessible. J.H.
I want first to thank the series editor, James Hardin, for his encouragement and for the work he has done for modern literature in general with this series, which he has edited through the years. That is the most recent help I have received. My thanks for the earliest help would go to Proust scholars who, as teachers, introduced me to Proust many years ago: first the late Roger Shattuck, with whom I read Proust as an undergraduate at the University of Texas, and then the late Germaine Brée, who allowed me to take her strictly limited Proust seminar for graduate students at the University of Wisconsin. Thanks also go to the indefatigable Proust scholar J. Theodore Johnson, with whom I had discussions of Proust many years ago at Madison and again more recently via e-mail as I have worked on this book. I can also give thanks to the many students and colleagues who through the years have interacted with me in reading Proust, especially at Middlebury College and at the University of Missouri. I thank again the University of Missouri Research Council for financing a stay at Cambridge University and Clare Hall, where some years ago I began to work toward publishing my views on Proust. Cambridge’s library facilities—with their unparalleled resources in French literature —and conversations with fellows at Clare Hall played their role in the genesis of this book. For a more recent stay at Cambridge, I also give thanks to the University of Missouri Research Board and the University of Missouri’s Arts and Humanities Center. Finally many thanks to Irma for help and patience.
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