Bloom’s Modern Critical Views
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Bloom’s Modern Critical Views
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Bloom’s Modern Critical Views


Edited and with an introduction by

Harold Bloom
Sterling Professor of the Humanities Yale University

©2004 by Chelsea House Publishers, a subsidiary of Haights Cross Communications.

Introduction © 2004 by Harold Bloom. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher. Printed and bound in the United States of America. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Applied For ISBN: 0-7910-7659-8

Chelsea House Publishers 1974 Sproul Road, Suite 400 Broomall, PA 19008-0914 Contributing Editor: Janyce Marson Cover designed by Terry Mallon Cover photo by Bettmann/CORBIS Layout by EJB Publishing Services

Editor’s Note Introduction Harold Bloom vii 1 17 37

Proust and Time Embodied Julia Kristeva

The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot Robert Fraser Zipporah: A Ruskinian Enigma Appropriated by Marcel Proust Cynthia J. Gamble Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics Jan Hokenson Proust’s Turn from Nostalgia Susan Stewart 105 63 83

Orpheus and the Machine: Proust as Theorist of Technological Change, and the Case of Joyce Sara Danius Introduction to Proustian Passions Ingrid Wassenaar The Vast Structure of Recollection: from Life to Literature 165 William C. Carter Albertine’s Bicycle, or: Women and French Identity during the Belle Epoque 185 Siân Reynolds 137


Ramsden Ethics. CONTENTS The Ending of Swann Revisited Anthony R. Pugh 201 Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte: A Case for an Extension of the Term? 221 Maureen A. and the Work of Beauty Gabrielle Starr Chronology Contributors Bibliography Acknowledgments Index 285 267 273 277 283 243 .

vii . rightfully gives us a Proust who is closer to Spinoza than to Heideger. is shown by Cynthia J.Editor’s Note This revised volume has only my Introduction in common with the earlier Marcel Proust: Modern Critical Views (1987). Gamble to have provided a model for Odette. Carter. William C. after which Proust’s biographer. Julia Kristeva. examines his subject’s grand edifice of recollection. John Ruskin. Siân Reynolds subtly presents the fear of women embedded in the French culture of Proust’s era. after which Jan Hokenson traces the limits of Japanese aestheticism in Proust’s vast saga. with authentic charm. while Gabrielle Starr concludes with a fresh vision of the Proustian aesthetics. while Sara Danius sets Joyce against Proust in their effort to absorb technological change. Maureen A. since all the essays included here date from 1993 on. and then centers upon the odysseys of sexual jealousy in Swann and in Marcel. For Ingrid Wassenaar. while Robert Fraser contrasts George Eliot’s powers of observation with Flaubert’s moral withdrawal. antithetical influences upon Proust. Ramsden finds Proust’s early Jean Santeuil a guide to the aesthetics of In Search of Lost Time. In Search of Lost Time joins itself to the history of self-justification. another crucial Proustian precursor. Pugh clarifies the ending of Swann’s Way. My Introduction compares Proust and Freud on the psychosexual origins of jealousy. Susan Stewart usefully sees Proust turning from a study of the nostalgias to the happiness of aesthetic apprehension. Swann’s provocation to selfdestruction. while Anthony R.


Projected jealousy attributes to the erotic partner one’s own actual unfaithfulness or repressed impulses. it also takes its origin in repressed impulses towards infidelity. But delusional jealousy proper is more serious. the tragic first loss. and Homosexuality. just as incest. but the object of those impulses is of one’s own sex. some self-blaming. As normal. Freud genially throws into the compound such delights as enmity against the successful rival. Paranoia. though both start with the realization that all of us are bisexual in nature. for Freud. projected. paranoia. Both are speculative thinkers. of the parent of the other sex to the parent of the same sex. and of the reactivation of the narcissistic scar. since even projected jealousy trades in repressed impulses. the year of Freud’s grim and splendid essay. since its almost delusional character is highly amenable to analytic exposure of unconscious fantasies. is the most poetical of circumstances. according to Shelley. due to the loss of the loved object. Proust is the novelist of our era. and homosexuality. moves one across the border into paranoia. is normal. The competitive or garden variety is compounded of grief. and this. tragic celebrants of the comic spirit. and is cheerfully regarded by Freud as being relatively innocuous. who divide between them the eminence of being the prime wisdom writers of the age. by the infant. Proust died in 1922. “Certain Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy. What the three stages of jealousy have in common is a bisexual component. self-criticism. delusional. and comes in three stages: competitive or normal. and a generous portion of bisexuality.HAROLD BLOOM Introduction exual jealousy is the most novelistic of circumstances. even as Freud is our moralist. Freud charmingly begins his essay by remarking that jealousy. like grief. Proust and Freud are not much in agreement on jealousy. competitive jealousy is really normal Hell. and S 1 .” Both of them great ironists.

as though in spite of herself. merely by recalling the pain. and ceased even to think of it himself. to suffer from it still. But in this case the mind. of tenderness for himself. the languishing looks she had given him as she lay in . he felt calm. Swann’s mind was powerless to alleviate it. preferred to call homosexuality “inversion. upon his lips. Inversion and jealousy. no writer has devoted himself so lovingly and brilliantly to expounding and illustrating the emotion. by his jealousy. except of course Shakespeare in Othello and Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter. become in Proust a dialectical pairing. partly because Proust’s ironies are both pervasive and cunning. Proust. above all Marcel himself—suffer so intensely that we sometimes need to make an effort not to empathize too closely. our other authority on jealousy. with the aesthetic sensibility linked to both as a third term in a complex series. he recalled her smiles. of gentle mockery when speaking of this or that other person. so intimately related in Freud. in the case of bodily pain. It is difficult to determine just what Proust’s stance towards their suffering is. Proust’s jealous lovers—Swann. he recalled the gravity of her head which she seemed to have lifted from its axis to let it droop and fall. the mind can dwell upon it. created it afresh. would startle it into life. To determine not to think of it was to think of it still. But now and then his thoughts in their wandering course would come upon this memory where it lay unobserved. suddenly a word casually uttered would make him change countenance like a wounded man when a clumsy hand has touched his aching limb. thrust it forward into his consciousness. Comedy hovers nearby. On the topos of jealousy. he forgot about it. deep-rooted pain. As though it were a bodily pain. that it has momentarily ceased. and leave him aching with a sharp. Proust is fecund and generous. can note that it has diminished. proved to Odette that he loves her too much. falls into the mouth of Hell: He never spoke to her of this misadventure. since it is independent of the mind.2 Harold Bloom these include homosexual desires.” and in a brilliant mythological fantasia traced the sons of Sodom and the daughters of Gomorrah to the surviving exiles from the Cities of the Plain. in conversation with his friends. after complimenting himself that he has not. as she had done on the first evening in the carriage. but at least. but even tragicomedy seems an inadequate term for the compulsive sorrows of Proust’s protagonists. Swann. When he came away from Odette he was happy. Saint-Loup. And when.

in which the supposed inevitability of the person is simply a mask for the inevitability of the lover’s death. jealousy resembles the shadow cast by the earth up into the heavens. presented him with the complement. on the frontier between psyche and body: “To determine not to think of it was to think of it still.” As the shadow of love. so to speak. quests beyond the pleasure/unpleasure principle. With the result that he came to regret every pleasure that he tasted in her company. they would go to enrich the collection of instruments in his secret torturechamber. a moment later. But then at once his jealousy. mocked Swann and shone with love for another—of that droop of the head. or our consciousness of our own mortality. since no thought can be emancipated from the sexual past of all thought (Freud). Instead. since what delighted us has delighted others. it darkens there. to suffer from it still. And all the voluptuous memories which he bore away from her house were. which she might adopt for others. Swann experiences the terrible conversion of the jealous lover into a parody of the scholar. with the converse of that new smile with which she had greeted him that very evening—and which now. aflame or faint with passion. as though it were the shadow of his love. where by tradition it ought to end at the sphere of Venus. a conversion to an intellectual pleasure that is more a deviation than an achievement. every new caress of which he had been so imprudent as to point out to her the delights. but so many sketches. rough plans like those which a decorator submits to one. Proust’s jealousy thus becomes peculiarly akin to Freud’s death drive. since it. nestling her head against her shoulder as though shrinking from the cold. if the search for truth is nothing but a search for the sexual past: .Introduction 3 his arms. Proust’s dreadfully persuasive irony is that jealousy exposes not only the arbitrariness of every erotic object-choice but also marks the passage of the loved person into a teleological overdetermination. perversely. for he knew that. and since the shadow is Freud’s reality principle. now sinking on to other lips. enabling Swann to form an idea of the various attitudes. Jealousy here is a pain experienced by Freud’s bodily ego. Our secret torture-chamber is furnished anew by every recollection of the beloved’s erotic prowess. every fresh charm that he found in her. too. of all the marks of affection (now given to another) that she had shown to him.

now it was he who saw them. in another minute. as he listened to that murmur which revealed the presence of the man who had crept in after his own departure. of which he had had. the little everyday activities of another person had always seemed meaningless to Swann. a private and personal truth the sole object of which (an infinitely precious object. her actions. but for a truth which. the torment which had forced him to leave his own house had become less acute now that it had become less vague. behind the closed sash. in whose golden atmosphere. was interposed between himself and his mistress. and one almost disinterested in its beauty) was Odette’s life. he would force his way to seize it unawares. when he chose. stirred the unseen and detested pair. that he had seen the light and had heard the voices. too. or rather he would knock on the shutters. in person. and by that signal Odette would at least learn that he knew. And perhaps the almost pleasurable sensation he felt at that moment was something more than the assuagement of a doubt. as he often did when he came very late. there with the knowledge that he was going. at that first moment. the passion for truth. now that Odette’s other life. and while he listened it was only the lowest. And yet he was not sorry he had come. But in this strange phase of love the personality . since he had fallen in love. tricked by none other than himself. If. receiving its light from her alone. the perfidy of Odette. her past. the most commonplace part of his mind that was engaged. her environment. if gossip about such things was repeated to him.4 Harold Bloom Certainly he suffered as he watched that light. confident in their error. almost within his grasp. At every other period in his life. whom they believed to be far away but who was there. who a moment ago had been picturing her as laughing with the other at his illusions. he would dismiss it as insignificant. these were the moments when he felt at his most inglorious. and he himself. in the full glare of the lamp-light. her plans. was definitely there. and of a pain: was an intellectual pleasure. there with a plan. things had recovered a little of the delightful interest that they had had for him long ago—though only in so far as they were illuminated by the thought or the memory of Odette—now it was another of the faculties of his studious youth that his jealousy revived. an unwitting prisoner in that room into which. to knock on the shutter. and the pleasures which she was at that moment enjoying with the stranger. a sudden helpless suspicion.

In fact. What Freud ironically called the overevaluation of the object. poor Swann is at the wrong window. seemed to him now to be precisely on a level with the deciphering of manuscripts. bribing servants. the fair Vanna or the Venus of Botticelli. twisting up the corners of his mouth and adding. if need be. And all manner of actions from which hitherto he would have recoiled in shame. was the same thirst for knowledge with which he had once studied history. who searches into lost time not for a person. he no longer asked himself what Odette might be about. the interpretation of old monuments—so many different methods of scientific investigation with a genuine intellectual value and legitimately employable in the search for truth. Swann plunges downwards and outwards. tried to read through its envelope a letter addressed by Odette to Forcheville. the enlargement or deepening of the beloved’s personality. or Walter Pater. At that point in the evening. when in the old days he used to feel so wretched. that the curiosity which he now felt stirring inside him with regard to the smallest details of a woman’s daily life. for all he knew. but for an epiphany or moment-of-moments. and rather than plumb the depths of shame that he felt in it he preferred to indulge in a little grimace. But this memory was not pleasing to him. and was hardly at all concerned to hear that she had people with her or had gone out. to-night. putting adroitly provocative questions to casual witnesses. dizzy anguish over the bottomless abyss” and reconstructs the petty details of Odette’s past life with “as much passion as the aesthete who ransacks the extant documents of fifteenth-century Florence in order to penetrate further into the soul of the Primavera. outside a window. years ago. blind. a shake of the head which . such as spying. John Ruskin say. the weighing of evidence. becomes the archetype of the jealous lover. begins to work not as one of the enlargements of life (like Proust’s own novel) but as the deepening of a personal Hell. and the entire passage is therefore as exquisitely painful as it is comic. He recalled at times that he had once. a privileged fiction of duration: When he had been paying social calls Swann would often come home with little time to spare before dinner. around six o’clock. to-morrow perhaps. so deepened. as he leans “in impotent.” The historicizing aesthete. listening at doors.Introduction 5 of another person becomes so enlarged.

that it was his jealousy that had seen things in the correct light. that hour in the irrevocable past when Swann had knocked at every entrance to her house in turn. that hour alone had caught and preserved a few last fragments of the amorous personality which had once been Swann’s. the memory of that day. less in certain persons than in certain places. that there alone could he now recapture them. had continued to torment him. which he was only waiting for his jealousy to subside before clearing up. at six o’clock. to such an extent had the painful curiosity persisted in him to know whether on that day. his abandoning his investigations. without. since. while his sufferings were still keen. he would give himself the satisfaction of elucidating with her. he considered now that the hypothesis on which he had often dwelt at that time. not dissimilar in that respect from those maladies which appear to have their seat. it had diminished his sufferings by making them seem imaginary) was not the correct one. however. had had for its object not so much Odette herself as that day. as though that day. . For a long time now it had been a matter of indifference to him whether Odette had been. unfaithful to him. whether or not Forcheville had been in bed with her that day when he had rung her bell and rapped on her window in vain. Long after he had ceased to feel any jealousy with regard to Odette. so long ago. And yet he had continued for some years to seek out old servants of hers. It was as though his jealousy. simply from his love of truth and as a point of historical interest. he had vowed that. she had also deceived him more. and she had written to Forcheville that it was an uncle of hers who had called. Then that curiosity itself had disappeared. so long as his amorous malady had lasted. or was being. that afternoon spent knocking vainly at the little house in the Rue La Pérouse. Not immediately. their centre of contagion. as soon as he had ceased to love Odette and was no longer afraid either of vexing her or of making her believe that he loved her too much. according to which it was his jealous imagination alone that blackened what was in reality the innocent life of Odette—that this hypothesis (which after all was beneficent.6 Harold Bloom signified “What do I care about it?” True. had precisely lost all interest in Swann’s eyes when he had ceased to be jealous. however. Formerly. But this so interesting problem. and that if Odette had loved him more than he supposed. Odette had been in bed with Forcheville. in certain houses.

he merely gave me a benign and affectionate smile which seemed to be a sort of apology. that hour in the irrevocable past. even after the object of desire has been literally buried. at the time of my grandmother’s illness. he had accused me of perfidy and treachery. jealousy renews itself like the moon. as will be shown later on in this story by a cruel corroboration. perpetually trying to discover what no longer interests it. in no way diminishes the sufferings caused by jealousy) seemed to him capable of smoothing the path of his life which then seemed impassably obstructed. summed up by Proust in one of his magnificently long. which meant that its truth or falsehood had become a matter of complete indifference to him.” and even that time was less an actual time than a temporal fiction. who liked to provoke his jealousy (she also had other causes for resentment against me). Jealousy dies with love. an episode in the evanescence of one’s own self. baroque paragraphs: Saint-Loup’s letter had come as no surprise to me. in accordance with preoccupations so utterly abandoned that Swann could not now succeed even in picturing to himself that anguish—so compelling once that he had been unable to imagine that he would ever be delivered from it. still acted mechanically. on meeting him again. and our friendship alone remained. but only with respect to the former beloved.Introduction 7 He went on trying to discover what no longer interested him. but he had ceased to be in love with her. and . had persuaded her lover that I had made sly attempts to have relations with her in his absence. I had grasped at once what must have happened. When. One can remember that even this deconstructive perspective is no more or less privileged than any other Proustian trope. I tried to talk to him about his accusations. It is probable that he continued to believe in the truth of this allegation. Rachel. The bridge between Swann’s jealousy and Marcel’s is Saint-Loup’s jealousy of Rachel. because his old self. even though I had had no news of him since. this permanent parabasis of meaning. that only the death of the woman he loved (though death. Its true object is “that day. Horribly a life-in-death. though it had shrivelled to extreme decrepitude. and so cannot give us a truth that Proust himself evades. Paul de Man’s perspective that Proust’s deepest insight is the nonexistence of the self founds itself upon this temporal irony of unweaving.

that the forsaken one or forsaker (whichever she be) cannot have found anything very remarkable in the way of rich protectors.8 Harold Bloom then changed the subject. for it reminded him how intimately. And so each demand is welcomed with the joy which a lull produces in the jealous one’s sufferings. for naturally one does not like to think of her being in want of anything except lovers (one of the three lovers one has in one’s mind’s eye). lying close to his familiar body. a little later. and answered with the immediate dispatch of money. when one starts on a journey. All this was not to say that he did not. of whom. one is jealous: all those whom one does not so picture count for nothing. one would be just as glad. Now frequent demands for money from a cast-off mistress no more give one a complete idea of her life than charts showing a high temperature would of her illness. or the Persian church shrouded in mist). that she should not become the property of three or four potential protectors whom one pictures in one’s mind’s eye. one’s trunk is already pretty full. This was a great comfort to Robert. which prolongs the course of love. simply to see that even if he took the greater part of the bed for himself it did not in the least interfere with her sleep. But the latter would at any rate be an indication that she was ill. until one had begun to forget her. three or four images which incidentally one is sure to lose on the way (such as the lilies and anemones heaped on the Ponte Vecchio. they had lived to-together. than she would have been elsewhere. Sometimes Rachel came in so late at night that she could ask her former lover’s permission to lie down beside him until the morning. If one takes with one. vague enough it is true. is not capable of containing many more ingredients than the other products of the imagination. after all. Jealousy. Those who have played a big part in one’s life very rarely disappear from it suddenly for good. that she felt herself by his side—even in an . Saint-Loup’s breach with Rachel had very soon become less painful to him. When one leaves a mistress. He realised that she was more comfortable. until time has enabled one to regain one’s composure and to learn one’s successor’s name without wilting. that is to say. thanks to the soothing pleasure that was given him by her incessant demands for money. They return to it at odd moments (so much so that people suspect a renewal of old love) before leaving it for ever. see Rachel occasionally when he was in Paris. and the former furnish a presumption.

and. to work back from one person to another and find out how the story arose. The heart of this comes in the grandly ironic sentence: “Jealousy. de Charlus. or anywhere. except when I was in love. Saint-Loup. is not capable of containing many more ingredients than the other products of the imagination. his limbs. or she for him. Outliving love. taking leave of Mme de Surgis and M. He burst out laughing: “There’s not a word of truth in it. has the obscure comfort of having become. so entirely usual that they could not disturb her and that the perception of them added still further to her sense of repose.Introduction 9 hotel—to be in a bedroom known of old in which one has one’s habits. and when I was jealous. for her. all of him. but it would be really interesting. which scarcely can hold on for long to even three or four images. He felt that his shoulders. were for her. were for her. for Rachel. in which one sleeps better. de Bréauté (whom I did not name) had reported to us. It’s really incredible. his limbs. what concern can it be of other people. Another grand link between magnificent jealousies is provided by Swann’s observations to Marcel. Anyhow. And a lot I ever . Marcel’s monumental search after lost time in the long aftermath of Albertine’s death. almost on the farthest shore of jealousy. the final basis for a continuity between two former lovers. which prolongs the course of love. even when he was unduly restless from insomnia or thinking of the things he had to do. about a little play by Bergotte.” That is hardly a compliment to the capaciousness of the imagination. jealousy has become love’s last stand. I went in search of my invalid in the card-room. Saint-Loup’s bittersweet evanescence as a lover contrasts both with Swann’s massive historicism and with the novel’s triumphant representation of jealousy. I asked him whether what he had said to the Prince in their conversation in the garden was really what M. I won’t ask who it was that told you. all of him. Moreover I did not wish to be too late in returning home because of Albertine. I’ve never been inquisitive. what the Prince said to me? People are very inquisitive. this spontaneous generation of falsehood. in a field as limited as this. it’s a complete fabrication and would have been an utterly stupid thing to say. not one.” even when he has ceased to be there. aesthetic reflections somewhat removed from the pain of earlier realities: It occurred to me that Swann must be getting tired of waiting for me. when “he felt that his shoulders. one of those images not quite faded away.

And of this collection. of not allowing her to go about by herself. A little jealousy is not too unpleasant. to come back to my conversation with the Prince. I must confess that I haven’t had much experience even of the two pleasures I’ve mentioned—the first because of my own nature. clearly we are living in a fiction. the second because of circumstances. rather as Mazarin said of his books. we must go back into ourselves to look at it. seem to me—it’s the mania of all collectors—very precious. the metaphor or transference that we call love. so personal and individual. And then it makes one feel the pleasure of possession. you can count yourself lucky. with his obsessions central to The . which is incapable of sustained reflexion. Well. it’s still something to have been attached to them. Even when one is no longer attached to things. because it was always for reasons which other people didn’t grasp. I open my heart to myself like a sort of showcase. ironically balanced between the death of jealousy in Swann and its birth in poor Marcel. When the vigor of an affirmation has more power than its probability. and might call jealousy. now that I’m a little too weary to live with other people. to which I’m now even more attached than to my others. but in fact without the least distress. But that makes no difference. that it will be very tiresome to have to leave it all. “Well. The memory of those feelings is something that’s to be found only in ourselves. those old feelings. But. I should say the women. it’s the most agonising torment. but what I mean to say is that I’ve been very fond of life and very fond of art. You mustn’t laugh at this idealistic jargon. of getting into a carriage with a woman. I say to myself. In between. Marcel moves like a sleepwalker. In the first place. Into that metaphor. that I did not even know what it was.” We are in the elegy season. for two reasons. it enables people who are not inquisitive to take an interest in the lives of others. of whom I’ve been jealous. who literally does not know that the descent into Avernus beckons. or of one other at any rate. or when the cure is almost complete. and examine one by one all those love affairs of which the rest of the world can have known nothing. I shall tell one person only. and that person is going to be you. that I had in the past. But that’s only in the very first stages of the disease.10 Harold Bloom learned! Are you jealous?” I told Swann that I had never experienced jealousy. However. because of the woman.

instead is a passionately ironic celebration of jealousy’s aesthetic victory over our merely temporal happiness: However. which seems a diatribe against jealousy. I was still at the first stage of enlightenment with regard to Léa. And so when. I must at all costs prevent her from renewing this acquaintance or making the acquaintance of this stranger at the Trocadéro. one’s jealousy. is rather a void from which at odd moments a chance resemblance enables one to resuscitate dead recollections. instead of being a duplicate. No matter. and seeks to ascertain whether or not it is mistaken. arrogant creature who is tormenting it and whom the crowd admire for his splendour and cunning. in due course. it dashes like an enraged bull to the spot where it will not find the dazzling. and her expression while she was saying it. One pays no attention to anything that one does not connect with the real life of the woman one loves. Memory. Jealousy thrashes around in the void. I say that I did not know whether she knew Léa or not. one’s jealousy is aroused by these same people. one forgets immediately what she has said to one about such and such an incident or such and such people one does not know. and her annoyance when one has prevented her from doing so by returning earlier than usual. A great passage in The Captive. of the various events of one’s life.Introduction 11 Captive and insanely pervasive in The Fugitive. ransacking the past in search of a clue. uncertain as we are in those dreams in which we are distressed because we cannot find in his empty house a person whom we have known well in life. and which will remain forever unverifiable. whether it is indeed they who are responsible for one’s mistress’s impatience to go out. can find nothing. but even then there are innumerable little details which have not fallen into that potential reservoir of memory. from Albertine herself. but who here perhaps is another person and has merely borrowed the features of our friend. always belated. yet I must in fact have learned this at Balbec. For amnesia obliterated from my mind as well as from Albertine’s a great many of the statements that she had made to me. it is like a historian who has to write the history of a period for which he has no documents. always present before one’s eyes. always retrospective. I was not even aware whether Albertine knew her. it came to the same thing. uncertain as we are even more after we awake when we .

one searches desperately among the unsubstantial fragments of a dream. a life that is oblivious of what may well be of importance to one. Sexual jealousy in Proust is accompanied by a singular obsessiveness in regard to questions of space and of time. Proust warily. vain anxieties. was she not actually whistling. that she knows or does not know such and such a person? One does not know. Thrashing about in the void of a dream in which a good friend perhaps is another person. as the jealous man has. is Marcel’s accomplishment. a life as illusory as a dream.” Yet making life “as illusory as a dream. who. The jealous lover. but with the sureness of a great beast descending upon its helpless prey. approaches the heart of his vision of jealousy. as Proust says. for the simple reason that we do not care about them. seeks in his inquiries every detail he can find as to the location and duration of each betrayal and infidelity. But as soon as we have a desire to know. a thing that she never does unless she has some amorous thought in her mind and finds one’s presence importunate and irritating? Did she not tell one something that is contradicted by what she now affirms. Had Albertine been .” hagridden by lapses and gaps. gaps. jealousy becomes Spenser’s Malbecco: “who quite/Forgot he was a man. conducts researches comparable to those of the scholar. Why? Proust has a marvelous passage in The Fugitive volume of Remembrance: It is one of the faculties of jealousy to reveal to us the extent to which the reality of external facts and the sentiments of the heart are an unknown element which lends itself to endless suppositions. What was one’s mistress’s expression when she told one that? Did she not look happy. and a dangerous present replaces all past and all future.12 Harold Bloom seek to identify this or that detail of our dream. One does not write an other-than-ironic diatribe against one’s own art. a life hagridden by people who have no real connexion with one. and jealousy is hight. and one will never know. We imagine that we know exactly what things are and what people think. and Proust’s art. then it becomes a dizzy kaleidoscope in which we can no longer distinguish anything. his sense that the emotion is akin to what Freud named as the defense of isolation. full of lapses of memory. in which all context is burned away. and all the time one’s life with one’s mistress goes on. and attentive to what is perhaps of none.

in my love for Albertine. What? To have so desperately desired that Albertine—who no longer existed—should know that I had heard the story of the baths! This again was one of the consequences of our inability. to hear her answering me kindly. and perhaps simply because she had made the acquaintance of some peasant girl who lived there. without having ever had the result of making her love me more. the need to know having always been exceeded. to picture to ourselves anything but life. her eyes shed their malice and assume an air of melancholy. who imagined that she had succeeded in keeping me in ignorance of them. to see her cheeks become plump again. for instance that Albertine had wished to go to Saint-Martin-le-Vêtu. far from it. And all of a sudden I remembered some trivial incident. to love her still and to forget the fury of my jealousy in the despair of my loneliness. When we try to consider what will happen to us after our own death. perhaps. saying that the name interested her. the second of these needs had been amalgamated with the effect of the first: the need to picture to myself the conversation in which I would have informed her of what I had learned. But it was useless that Aimé should have informed me of what he had learned from the woman at the baths. whether they were inspired by self-interest or by affection. The painful mystery of this impossibility of ever making known to her what I had learned and of establishing our relations upon the truth of what I had only just discovered (and would not have been able. since she was dead.Introduction 13 unfaithful to me? With whom? In what house? On what day? On the day when she had said this or that to me. is it not still our living self which we mistakenly project at that moment? And is it much . that is to say. to see her by my side. Albertine no longer existed. And now. to discover but for her death) substituted its sadness for the more painful mystery of her conduct. by the need to show her that I knew. but to me she was the person who had concealed from me that she had assignations with women at Balbec. as vividly as the conversation in which I would have asked her to tell me what I did not know. when we have to consider the fact of death. when I remembered that I had in the course of it said this or that? I could not tell. that is to say. Nor did I know what her feelings were for me. for this broke down the partition of different illusions that stood between us. since Albertine must remain eternally unaware that he had informed me.

like Freud. where will it be.14 Harold Bloom more absurd. if this impression of the solemn finality of my separation from Albertine had momentarily supplanted my idea of her misdeeds. Freud. though he is certainly not the god of jealousy. Proust has swerved away from Flaubert into a radical confession of error. that jealousy was nothing but a vision of two bodies on a bed. in whatever direction I might turn. yet this is one of those errors about life that are necessary for life. who will be dead. and jealousy joins the bodily ego and the drive as another frontier concept. where the hurt resided in the realization that one body ought to have been one’s own. at the very height of her own jealousy. when all is said. love is jealousy. The law is written upon our inward parts for Proust also. as Nietzsche remarked. Freud insisted. I saw myself astray in life as on an endless beach where I was alone and where. when will it not be? Our ego is always a bodily ego. because death is the reality of one’s life. and the law is justice. Flaubert and Baudelaire.” writing two years after Proust’s death. And yet. and is also one of those errors about art that is art. set forth a powerful speculation as to the difference . A friend once remarked to me. the regrets of my retrospective jealousy proceeded none the less from the same optical error as in other men the desire for posthumous fame. in “The Passing of the Oedipus Complex. but the god of law is a jealous god. goes back after all to the prophet Jeremiah. Bitter as the remark may have been. I would never meet her. it usefully reduces the trope of jealousy to literal fears: where was one’s body. jealousy is the terrible fear that there will not be enough space for oneself (including literary space). and Proust himself as well. and that there never can be enough time for oneself. “The regrets of my retrospective jealousy proceeded none the less from the same optical error as in other men the desire for posthumous fame”—is that not as much Proust’s negative credo as it is Marcel’s? Those “other men” include the indubitable precursors. it only succeeded in aggravating them by bestowing upon them an irremediable character. neither of which was one’s own. Proust. The aesthetic agon for immortality is an optical error. the novel is creative envy. another vertigo whirling between a desperate inwardness and the injustice of outwardness. the public shall still speak with approval a century hence? If there is more real foundation in the latter than in the former case. to regret that a woman who no longer exists is unaware that we have learned what she was doing six years ago than to desire that of ourselves. that uncomfortable sage who proclaimed a new inwardness for his mother’s people.

than that of the little possessor of a penis. The female child does not understand her actual loss as a sex characteristic. less equivocal. when she grows up. The result is an essential difference between her and the boy. Here the woman’s “masculine complex” branches off.” and takes this fact as illtreatment and as a reason for feeling inferior. May one ascribe to it also a phallic organization and a castration complex? The answer is in the affirmative. The Oedipus-complex in the girl is far simpler. whereas the boy dreads the possibility of its being performed. and yet illuminates. the feminine attitude towards the father. she will acquire just as big an appendage as a boy. a super-ego and a latency period. The feministic demand for equal rights between the sexes does not carry far here. Freud is properly tentative. The little girl’s clitoris behaves at first just like a penis. by working out of the world that Freud knows only in the pure good of theory. but by comparing herself with a boy play-fellow the child perceives that she has “come off short.” to vary a saying of Napoleon’s. “Anatomy is Destiny. Acceptance of the loss of a penis is not endured without some attempt at . but it cannot be the same as in the boy.Introduction 15 between the sexes. the morphological difference must express itself in differences in the development of the mind. She does not seem to extend this conclusion about herself to other grown women. of external intimidation threatening the loss of love. The female sex develops an Oedipus-complex. The castration-dread being thus excluded in her case. too. genitalia. that she accepts castration as an established fact. that is. in my experience it seldom goes beyond the wish to take the mother’s place. there falls away a powerful motive towards forming the super-ego and breaking up the infantile genital organization. but also adroitly forceful: Here our material—for some reason we do not understand— becomes far more shadowy and incomplete. but explains it by assuming that at some earlier date she had possessed a member which was just as big and which had later been lost by castration. namely. an operation already performed. These changes seem to be due in the girl far more than in the boy to the results of educative influences. a speculation that Proust neither evades nor supports. male. For a time she still consoles herself with the expectation that later. but in complete accordance with the phallic phase she ascribes to them large and complete.

The Oedipus complex never quite passes. Anatomy is destiny in Proust also. ultimately the dread of dying. remain powerfully charged with libido in the unconscious and help to prepare the woman’s nature for its subsequent sex rôle. shadowy and incomplete. The two desires. in the hopeless hope that the aesthetic recovery of illusion and of experience alike. which is long cherished. yet heroes and heroines of time also. but this is anatomy taken up into the mind. to possess a penis and to bear a child. her Oedipuscomplex culminates in the desire. more jealous even than other mortals. either in Proust or in his major figures. The jealous lover fears that he has been castrated. which may probably be related to the penis-deficiency. to be given a child by her father as a present. Freud’s castration complex. in Freud’s sense of passing. The comparative weakness of the sadistic component of the sexual instinct. one may say—from the penis to a child. . The exiles of Sodom and Gomorrah. however. become monsters of time. feelings of tenderness. that on the whole our insight into these processes of development in the girl is unsatisfying. One has the impression that the Oedipus-complex is later gradually abandoned because this wish is never fulfilled. that true time is over for him. will deceive him in a higher mode than he fears to have been deceived in already. The girl passes over—by way of a symbolic analogy. that his place in life has been taken. as it were. It must be confessed.16 Harold Bloom compensation. facilitates the transformation of directly sexual trends into those inhibited in aim. is a metaphor for the same shadowed desire that Proust represents by the complex metaphor of jealousy. to bear him a child. His only recourse is to search for lost time.

and make explicit. and established a completely new form of temporality. through creating a distinctively new type of Bildungsroman (the German genre which deals with the hero’s education and intellectual development). Yet it was this man of the nineteenth century who inaugurated the modern aesthetic. dandies and assorted decadents of the fin de siècle than to the sardonic and playful activities of the dadaists. the ambitions of all the novels that have gone before. 17 . in this case the learning process involves a return journey from the past to the present and back again. Its function is to sum up. TIME AND TIMELESSNESS arcel Proust (1871–1922) composed A la recherche du temps perdu between 1913 (the year of the publication of Du côté de chez Swann by Grasset) and 1922. The last volume. furthermore. surrealists and futurists propagated by the First World War. bringing to light its painful yet rapturous M From Proust and the Sense of Time. gives an X-ray image of memory. © 1993 by Julia Kristeva. English translation © 1993 by Stephen Bann. translated and with an introduction by Stephen Bann. was to appear in 1927. Proust is often seen as being closer in spirit to the symbolists.J U L I A K R I S T E VA Proust and Time Embodied 1. not to mention the nightmarish cult of the absurd which followed the Second. This new form of temporality. Le Temps retrouvé. published like its predecessors by Gallimard.

you might catch an impression of the medieval Inquisition from a nationalist dictator who soon finished spreading the message of integration. you witness the futurist breakthroughs of new musical forms like rap. and sensation implies a body. Newspapers and universities. But since bringing things together is a metaphor. Time is this bringing together of two sensations which gush out from the signs and signal themselves to me. the paving stones of the Guermantes courtyard and those at St Mark’s. tempered by an eighteenth-century regard for human rights. we live in a dislocated chronology. and consequently the factor which determines our bodily life. when people demonstrate their regression to infancy through civil violence. Venice). also belong to totally different time-scales. It offers modern readers the chance to identify the fragments of disparate time which are nowadays dragging them in every direction. So I would like to begin by putting a question to you.) Then you might be rejuvenated by 150 or 200 years by a Victorian president whose stiff. and to myself as well. Proust managed to put together the shattered fragments in the form of the life of his narrator. But you are also an onlooker. puritanical attitudes belong to the great age of the Protestant conquest of the New World. time is to be psychic time. as in the recent events in Los Angeles. .18 Julia Kristeva dependence on the senses. because of their polarized and discontinuous logic. which are always linked together in at least a series of two (as in the case of the madeleine offered to me by my mother and the one offered by Aunt Léonie. with a greater force and insistence than ever before. even if you are not a participant. continuing their role of transmitting and handing down knowledge. I will argue that time in fact persists as the only surviving imaginative value which can be used by the novel to appeal to the whole community of readers. but are in fact our very own. and there is as yet no concept that will make sense of this modern. PSYCHIC T I M E A S A S PA C E O F R E C O N C I L I AT I O N Living on the threshold of this disturbing epoch. who experiences love and society in accordance with a number of themes which we may think of as archaic. Yes. dislocated experience of temporality. For Proust. (I refer to the Gulf War. without for a moment forgetting the wise explanatory discourses with which the newspapers and the universities try to explain this sort of thing. by the way. What is the time-scale that you belong to? What is the time that you speak from? In the modern world. Things come to have meaning when the I of the writer rediscovers the sensations underlying them.

He is concerned to establish a world in which his readers can come and communicate as if they were in a sacred place: a world where they can discover a coherence between time and space and their dreams can be realized. indissociable. It is all too easy to rely on just one word of the title and conclude that this is a novel about time. glorious and at the same time ridiculous. but we can overtake it by a strategy that enables us to pass far beyond the social. I as writer. in all its different phases of sorrow. and managed to extract from its chosen area the idea of a time which is specific to the individual—this so-called modern individual whose inner life. Hence over the period from Rabelais and Shakespeare to Balzac. Man. . Proust in no way abandons the ambition of Balzac and Homer—which is sociological in an explicit way. which is the very definition of the sacred in literature. smells. His Faubourg Saint-Germain (which in fact corresponds more closely to the Faubourg Saint-Honoré) fulfils this aim of establishing a social space. this strategy consists in delving deep down into ourselves. society and being are. weaves its own form of continuity which is the thread of a destiny. for a space where words and their dark. But he tones it down by linking it with a project which traditionally belongs to ‘poetry’: this is the exploration of memory. fiction has blended the serious with the ridiculous. unconscious manifestations contribute to the weaving of the world’s unbroken flesh. joy or ridicule. for fiction. loving and dying. recalling flavours. is a metamorphosis. but conceals a transcendental aim at its basis. We must not take our eyes off it. sensations. resonances. in regaining the time of our inner lives. From the start. fiction creates and modifies its own destiny by offering those who receive it a special field of participation. which has been so subtly reordered that this time now comes to seem the only reality worth taking into account. Proust uses time as his intermediary in the search (A la recherche) for an embodied imagination: that is to say. I as reader. no less desirable in the first pages of the opening volumes than it will be perverted and intolerable by the final stage. a distinctive type of communion: it shows us human passions inextricably bound up with the unpredictability of nature and the harshnesses of society. which brings together the sensations imprinted in signs. So Proust does not relinquish the obsession of authors from Homer to Balzac. Here it is. I living.Proust and Time Embodied 19 Proustian time. touches. majestic as it approaches its demise. a place which is sadly lacking in modern reality. with the ‘I’ unfolding ideas and images. when we see the very impulse that brought it into being by claiming to draw inspiration from it come full circle in the concept of a Temps retrouvé ( Time Regained). of which I is a part. From Homer to Balzac. social life is offered as a spectacle.

Proust the dandy of the belle époque makes contact with us in our contemporary. he situates a person. he proposes a psychic universe of the maximum degree of complexity as the favourable location—the place of sacred communion—where lovers of reading can meet. bringing together opposites like idea. Proust is adopting an ethical position. that invisible temple. he is also adopting a moral position vis-àvis the cult of decadence. ours. we have enough in Proust to keep up with the official statistics. since Proust. But to the extent that he offers us the space of memory as a residual area of value leading beyond the spectacle of worldly life in its drama. seeks to understand Being by exploring the obscurities of Time. since he puts into words a category of felt time which cuts through the categories of metaphysics. which is the felt time of our subjective memories. there will rise the new cathedral.20 Julia Kristeva jealousies. from Bergson to Heidegger. In taking up his aesthetic stance. that is. plots and more plots. but also timeless. to ‘tear off its hundred masks’. the absolute. Read me. I invites you to do as I does. The felt time in which he invites us to participate is one of sensual excess and extravagant eroticism. griefs and joys—if it succeeds in articulating them. In creating this synthesis. And within this network of interminable social events. but yours as well. perception. to a great extent. but he is a moralist of outrage. Proust’s novel sets up a huge edifice which has instead a biblical and evangelical provenance. emerged from. on the other. emotion and desire. I can give you the Divine Comedy of the life of the psyche. Proust also aligns himself with a tendency of philosophy contemporary with him: one which. of endless plots. a subject whose memory cannot be impugned. There have been many people. But this is something quite different. exasperations. which he has passed through and. If you will only be so good as to open up your memories of felt time. obsessions. I. on the one hand. In bringing it to light with the delicate touches of a Saint-Simon or a Mme de Sévigné. not just mine. His sacredness is a sacredness of ill repute. and force. and you will be part of the world but without being taken in by it. Upon the plinth of a project which is by tradition secular and dates back to the Greeks. who have applied themselves to enlarging a fragment of felt time—writers of the nouveau roman have enhanced such fragments as if they were installing them in a stained-glass window. Proust goes further indeed. duration and space. of ruses and betrayals. Proust is a moralist therefore. in different ways but with significant points in common. He is contrasting the disarray of the world and of the self with the unending search for that lost temple. They may appear to be . who is there to bring out the convulsive truth of this seeming history. in using memory to construct A la recherche in this way. Do we want tales of passion? Of money? Of war? Of life and death? Without any doubt.

for it is too long and unsuitable to be published in its entirety. a whole book. and what will be its chief features—its outrageous contents and its disproportionate style. The First World War and his illness would delay and modify his original plan: Proust evidently could not have been aware in 1909 of the various changes that would be introduced in the course of time. but only part of it. PLANTS A N D S E E D S : T H E V O C AT I O N Proust’s notebooks. is also so difficult to reach in his intimate life. Unfortunately. In a letter dated 16 August 1908. But Proust remains the only one to keep the balance between the violence implicit in the marginal status of the main character (and the author) of A la recherche. Maybe part of it will appear in serial form in Le Figaro. but there is a lot to go over again. which dates from this stage. leaving for Cabourg has interrupted my work. he confesses to Mme Straus: I have just begun. I am just about to get back to it. But the central scheme—the approach and the ‘vision’. there begins the metamorphosis of Against Sainte-Beuve into that starting point of A la recherche which will be Du côté de chez Swann (Swann’s Way). In the cork-lined bedroom on the Boulevard Haussmann. our contemporary. more elliptical. in the month of July 1909. These had not yet been typed out at the time of Proust’s death in 1922. But I do want to finish it. tell us that the plan of A la recherche was fixed by 1908–9. to make an end.Proust and Time Embodied 21 more modern.1 ‘Unsuitable’. actually contains eight versions of the narrator’s famous awakening scene—his mind invaded by formless sensations seeming to come from an adjacent room. The eventual text proceeds through successive alterations and adjustments between 1909 and 1911. and his Against Sainte-Beuve (composed between 1905 and 1909). as he would later refer to it when speaking of his style—are already in place. Everything is written down. Notebook 3. then from 1916 onwards we see the final manuscript notebooks emerging. It is this fragile balance that we seem to have lost. provocative and ‘transgressive’. Perhaps that is another reason why Proust. and finished. ‘long’—Proust already knows how his work will begin and end. a place of communion in worldly time. just before the appearance of the . and the graceful capacity for creating a world.

considered as the Giorgione of a period of open-air painting: To me it seems more correct to say that the cruel law of art is that people die and we ourselves die after exhausting every form of suffering. but concludes with a light-hearted apologia for Manet. after bringing up yet again the way in which the narrator’s experience is structured by the alternation of love and death. from his mummy? And what if the child remained in existence only as long as .22 Julia Kristeva familiar sounds and lights will bring him to full consciousness. every bedtime which tears him away from his parents.2 ‘Involuntary memory’ is already there. THE DEAD MOTHER At the end of Time Regained. which child? Albertine? Or the narrator himself. every separation. Proust quotes a line from Victor Hugo: ‘The grass must grow and children have to die. A child’s death? And if so. and has entrenched him all the more securely within another reality: that of ‘my book’. it is Albertine who is the object of so much love and so much jealousy. So what has been happening between the commencement of Against Sainte-Beuve and the emergence of this fully fledged project—between 1905 and 1909? 2. however intense. 1095) In this context. causing the boiling lava of memories and desires from the past to coagulate around a present sensation. gaily and without a thought for those who are sleeping beneath them. who has died many times. so that over our heads may grow the grass not of oblivion but of eternal life. The vigorous and luxuriant grass of the work requires a death. the vigorous and luxuriant growth of a true work of art. and so that thither. however slight. It is her accidental and premature death which has detached the narrator from sexual desire in the same measure as it has made him indifferent to death.’3 And he describes the ‘cruel law of art’ which amounts in the first instance to the romantic notion that suffering and death are necessary for the gestation of works of art. so he believes. with death darkening love but love wiping out the fear of death. (III. since his childhood: dying at every parting. future generations may come to enjoy their déjeuner sur l’herbe.

an unreal and hallucinatory quality.Proust and Time Embodied 23 there was a mother there? In that event. Barrès and Maurice Duplay. Mme Proust. ’4 A collector of photographs. On her return to the Rue de Courcelles. that the note of black remorse.. not even the death of a woman like Mme Proust. and yet afraid that it would be too distressing . while staying at the Hôtel Splendide. that Proust makes the clearest allusion. How would he survive without her? She died while Proust stayed alone in his room. It is in this work. suffering and finally death agony of the narrator’s grandmother.. 1921) continually harps on the illness. finally strikes home. wishing to leave me one last image. but who has a chance of ultimate resurrection and maturity in the luxuriant grass of the book. in the course of which. a time regained. following a short visit to Evian with her son Marcel. as if intending to lend to salon life. the dying woman could think only of her elder son. perhaps. There is no event that can explain the genesis of a work. for him to turn it into a memory. ‘Since I lost my mother . published in 1921 and 1922. anticipated in the earlier works. no less distinct from the childhood memories of Swann’s Way than it is from the aesthetic theory of Time Regained.5 The second volume of Le Côté de Guermantes ( The Guermantes Way. and he does not attempt to hide his wounds in his letters to Montesquiou. This is the novel of sexual inversion. which has been called the most Balzacian of the series. dedicated to the ambiguous. hesitated. she suffered an attack of uraemia. unable to cope with the sight of his mother’s death agony. Were he finally to regain all his time. showing them around at the Le Cuziat brothel. in the form of allusions to the death of the . ’ Proust often refers to the event in his correspondence. The book had been maturing for ages. loving and vengeful memory of a mother who always loved excessively and not enough—and made you into a child who is still dying. which the young man finds attractive and empty by turns. and later called it off: ‘She wanted and she didn’t want to be photographed. Yet it is in Sodome et Gomorrhe (Sodom and Gomorrah). née Jeanne-Clemence Weil. The sudden illness and death agony of the narrator’s grandmother in A la recherche du temps perdu recall the remorse felt by Proust as a result of his feeble behaviour at this juncture.. Mme Proust first asked to be photographed.. then the book would indeed be a ‘déjeuner sur l’herbe’: it would transform the graveyard of the dead children into a pleasure garden. died on 26 September 1905. Proust would later put his family snapshots to blasphemous use. the mother would have to die in order for the child to break with his childhood. set out in the space of a book. yet it was mourning his mother that marked the start of a new time-scale and a new way of life.

‘in the entire existence of our bodies’. Albertine’s lesbianism is the major stimulus for the blend of jealousy and fascination which the narrator feels for this young woman. immediately after the first evening at Balbec . crystallizes. but also to discourse at length on two of the fundamental themes of A la recherche. the faculty of memory which reveals this exquisite duality to us is lodged in an ‘unknown domain’. The adventures of Charlus with Jupien and Morel reach a high point of moral and physical cruelty. of installing alone in us the self that originally lived them . they acquire in turn the same power of expelling everything that is incompatible with them. tender and listless. This homosexual. provided that the underlying sensations have the character of ‘intermittencies’: being both violent enough and null at the same time. sado-masochism is the very bond that brings society together.. not excluding the irreproachable Prince de Guermantes. with the effect that ‘a series of different and parallel’ states of the self are superimposed. the mortality and the foreign nature of the loved one. in a section entitled ‘The Intermittencies of the Heart’. A CRUCIAL EPISODE The inclusion. culminating in the flagellation scene in the brothel. turn out to have perverse habits.. its ‘albumen’ and ‘seed’. As the years go on. and the work progresses with them.24 Julia Kristeva narrator’s grandmother. of the (grand-)mother’s death gives the narrator the chance not only to recall childhood memories (his boots and his dressing-gown). the scenes of sexual inversion occupy a more and more important place. on a deeper level.. a combination which engenders delightful forms of suffering. and consequently the self of today can rediscover the previous self intact. But if the context of sensations in which they are preserved is recaptured. Society figures. On the other hand. and in it the vision which we can now appreciate to be the real kernel of Proust’s imaginary world.. without any solution of continuity. the joyful experience of passion is invariably accompanied by a sense of the nothingness. combining joy with grief and remorse: For with the perturbations of memory are linked the intermittencies of the heart . to the sense of guilt brought about by his mother’s death. explicitly erotic mise-en-scène becomes possible only in Sodom and Gomorrah. On the one hand. The sado-masochism of Sodom and Gomorrah is the truth underlying eroticism and feeling and.

This implies that the (grand-)mother’s death makes it possible for violence and remorse to be inserted into the very heart of the child-narrator’s sensibility. Nor has he connected this remarkable aspect of memory with the shock inflicted by his mother’s loss—with her death or her being put to death. has given generations of readers the image of a mother who is loved voraciously and selfishly. already told in Jean Santeuil and repeated in Swann’s Way. That which delights me and abandons me also kills me. The full intensity of his remorse has to wait for its expression until 1921. and gives itself away in the initial volumes through a number of characters who find their place there. before finally. was once again so close to me that I seemed still to hear the words that had just been spoken.. when Proust has already anticipated and indeed sketched out the theme of inversion (in Jean Santeuil. 784) [my italics] My commentary on this extract is that we are offered a foretaste of memory as comprising the successive states of the self. although they were now no more than a phantasm . The mother is at the heart of a primal sado-masochism. even in the purity of childhood. even to the very sensations: the narrator experiences grief. ANGUISH IS THE PUTTING T O D E AT H — O F W H O M ? The well-known scene of the kiss withheld at the little boy’s bedtime. 1905. the publication of Sodom and Gomorrah. Time will be truly regained only if he rediscovers the particular form of violence—the violence that is. that had disappeared for so long. and with a minimal attempt at disguise.. a struggle for power. And yet his sense of guilt echoes throughout his private correspondence.. LOVE IS ANGUISH. (II. right from the start. and Les Plaisirs et les jours).. but I am capable of putting to death that which is my delight. This was a love which involved.Proust and Time Embodied 25 long ago . one of archaic loss and vengeance. I clung to the minute in which my grandmother had stooped over me. ecstasy and even indifference in unison with the dramas of sexuality to be made manifest by the two biblical cities. The self that I then was. installing the figure of the mother at the heart of all the ‘intermittencies of the heart’. and of time regained. such as Mlle Vinteuil. and at the same time it is implied that cruelty is omnipresent. Yet in this crucial year. he has apparently not made a close connection between inversion and memory’s remarkable capacity of regaining sensations by way of signs. initially. a .

Proust sets up house at 102 Boulevard Haussmann. Proust’s notice had been drawn. The further commentary which he added from Shakespeare and Dostoevsky was hardly less cruel. and the tears and martyrdom of our good intentions and our guardian angels. From 1905 to 1909. but Proust the writer seems to be on the point of absolving him when he exclaims: ‘what was the religious atmosphere of moral beauty in which this explosion of madness and slaughter took place?’ (CSB. and the architect Louis Parent lines his bedroom walls with cork in 1909: his cell is ready at just the same time as his plan for the work which will necessitate breaking open this shell. He succeeds. After the death of Proust’s own mother. are better at turning the activity of mourning into literature. and dominating himself by a massive act of willpower which will be as delightful to experience as it is relentless in its effect on others. as cruel to the lovers themselves as it is to their mothers.6 As early as 1896. Proust publishes little. known in cruel detail from the Greek texts. 157). Proust writes: ‘Now I was beginning to realize in a confused way that every act which is both voluptuous and blameworthy involves in equal measure the ferocity of the body taking its pleasure. Social and literary life. so it would appear. Yet one thing that takes our attention is the article appearing in Le Figaro of 1 February 1907 under the title ‘Filial Sentiments of a Parricide’.26 Julia Kristeva mingling of violence and passivity. of desire and contrition. to an incident in which a person of his acquaintance. and suffering began to colour his pleasure in a foretaste of sado-masochism. a specialist in mental and nervous diseases. though remaining heterosexual.7 Sex is shown to be intrinsically sadistic. shortly after his mother’s death. in Les Plaisirs et les jours. we find him on 4 December 1905 at the clinic of Dr Sollier. Henri Van Blarenberghe. the narrator’s anticipated triumph turned to bitter regret. He seems tempted to include himself in this crime: ‘What have you made of me?’ he asks. Obviously the murdering son is a criminal. the moment the kiss was granted. and leaves the establishment after six weeks. with the firm intention of proving that medicine can do nothing in his particular case. had killed his mother and then committed suicide. Proust interpreted this as the aggressiveness of an Oedipus or an Orestes. ‘What have you made of me?’: .’8 It is through witnessing an erotic scene that the mother of the young girl who speaks these words is struck with apoplexy and dies. is the cause of her mother’s death. Proust had written the ‘Confession of a young girl’ whose ‘voluptuous and blameworthy’ eroticism. For the moment she yielded.

Here it is not just a matter of doing away with biography but. his reclusiveness increasingly takes him over.’12 ‘Everything . which society cannot comprehend. ‘Your young wife is bored without her mother. the day she died. as we grow old. and both through and in spite of his asthma. talent has its own rationale. In 1912 the first part of A la recherche reaches its completed form. Proust takes up the project of Jean Santeuil again and transposes it. Céleste Albaret enters Proust’s service and makes it possible for him to live in perfect retirement in spite of his very demanding social life: through this means. of going into mourning for it. Basically. Writing Against Sainte-Beuve. Proust the essayist explains that it is not through biography that the work of authors can be explained. Mother leaves on a journey’. But Mama.Proust and Time Embodied 27 If we put our minds to it.9 Céleste describes herself. there would perhaps be not one truly loving mother who was not able. Albaret. He searches for lost time in the innermost signs of his experience. and at others like his child. the word END at the conclusion of Time Regained. infusing the singularity of his own grief into the universal pattern of an intelligence which is accessible to all.10 Master and servant will combine together in joint homage to the maternal. and that of a mother for her daughter. that’s all. before taking her into his service. more exactly. He starts working hard. in the year 1913.’ he says to his chauffeur. and often long before. (CSB. a text which is now lost. on her last day. 158–9) In January 1908 Proust writes ‘Robert and the Kid. by that very restless tenderness which we breathe in and put ceaselessly on its guard. as ‘a child in spite of my 22 years [Proust was 32] above all because I had only just left my mother’s tender care behind’. the plan for a book on Sainte-Beuve turns into a genuine novel. to address this reproach to her son. THE GOVERNESS: A DAUGHTER AND A MOTHER Straight away. In 1913 Swann’s Way is published. with a sick but authoritative hand.’11 ‘The nice thing about him was that I sometimes felt like his mother. took her little Marcel with her. Proust is able to achieve the extraordinary ascetic life which will enable him to trace. Céleste’s husband. At this stage. we all kill those who love us by the preoccupation we cause in them. The metamorphosis is under way: in 1909. ‘I was very fond of Papa. the writer recognizes in his female servant the marks of motherly love: that of a daughter for her mother.

who. he watches her but does not see her.16 Proust leans on her. I have nothing to do with the person in his books whom he called ‘The Captive’. I lived exclusively for him. moreover. twentyfour hours out of twenty-four. there remains complicity and the benefit of mutual silence. But even with the best of men. in Céleste’s estimation. He would say to me: “It is easy to see that your father was a good man. what Proust had managed to realize in himself. but you could say that. ‘Monsieur. he forgets her. felt herself to be under the maternal care of her master. allows him not to marry her but to absorb her into a book: Not only did I live at his rhythm. and against her. in her maternal devotion to the most motherly of sons. with the sublimated love that binds a child to its mother. you would not be here. even if you knew nothing about it. does he. he speaks to her and his words rebound off her.’ And. making him behave in such a way that the housekeeper. With a charming naïveté.’15 Never can two beings more disparate in their background and level of education have been thus brought together in their devotion to the ‘good mother’. A man can never be the soul of kindness. however. who would fill them both. and no doubt the writer to his work.”’ 14 This kindness was. as your mother seems to have been. So Céleste and the cork lining of his apartment on the Boulevard Haussmann. as Proust explained to Céleste: ‘The thing is. This is not a dialogue. smelts. just the I that speaks across her. an ideal Albertine. by relaying and starting it up again. gudgeons and fumigating powder. and yet I really deserved the title. Céleste becomes the living relay between the female body and the book. The mother who brings desire and guilt is dead.28 Julia Kristeva affecting mothers and their experiences reminded him of his own and affected him deeply. between the turbulence of eroticism and the definitive form of the signed text. who was herself always taking infinite pains to seek out for him sole.’13 ‘It was particularly about my mother that he used to ask me questions. alternately. as. she admits to having taken the place of a possible Albertine. she simply activates the monologue. Otherwise. she vanishes. the bread of human kindness will never be what it can be with a woman. and seven days out of seven. guarantee the air-tightness of the protected environment in . he gathers her up. There is no longer any ‘self ’. there is always an outer shell of roughness. you were made for devotion like your mother. I find my mother again in you.

the sexual intoxication.17 This entire world expands and stages in the most grotesque fashion the sado-masochism which the narrator of A la recherche re-creates in a muted. responding only to the pleasure of seeing rats devour one another. Maurice Sachs mentions rats pierced with hatpins. and at the same time this project takes second place to the strictly narrative undertaking which is to be A la recherche. on the look-out for sounds. the family furniture which was carried to the Le Cuziat brothel. In Against . the masturbation sessions where the voyeur hid in bed. however. The physical stimulus of debauchery serves to excite the senses and the emotions. I speak to myself. or even greater than. in the course of which the loved person has become blurred in the memory. with their blend of exaltation and abasement. As early as 1908. Meanwhile. No one can state categorically.Proust and Time Embodied 29 which involuntary memory remakes and unmakes its tentacular sentences. the war will arrive to turn existing hierarchies upside down. my grief turns to remorse. in Notebook 1. the Proustian idea of profaning the mother takes root: Notebook 1 refers to ‘the mother’s face in a debauched grandson’. S U B L I M AT I O N / P R O FA N AT I O N So the mother is dead. I speak—and all is regained. A number of authors talk of Proust at this period as being curious to witness scenes of debauchery. eternity. sketches for the character of Charlus help to achieve the separation between essay and novel in the writing of Against Sainte-Beuve. I have killed her. that the pleasure of the childhood memory which has been given a name—and that of the scraps of paper which are mounting up all the time in his manuscript—is not as great as. the hero dreams that his grandmother is dead. with a naked young man before him.18 Profanation is seen as a condition of sublimation. colours and flavours. but the actual episode. and at the same time there is another stage on which the great world keeps up its pretence. over the years 1908 to 1912. soon enough. The way has been prepared for the profanation which becomes possible after two or three years of mourning. ‘Death of my grandmother’. is forecast only in the plan of the 1912 version of the novel. psychological colouring. Jouhandeau the photos of Proust’s mother which were profaned in front of gigolos. it unfolds as a kind of antithesis which works in conjunction with the writing laboratory where Céleste is the vestal virgin. M. sex spends its fury and. The theme of inversion becomes steadily more important from 1908 onwards. with no lessening in the mean time of the ambivalence of a guilt-ridden love. I speak of it before another.

placed all her faith. and on the other ambivalence towards the mother resulting in profanation— comes clearly into view. however. he believes himself to be responsible for profaning his mother in just the same way as Mlle Vinteuil profaned the memory of her father: the young girl makes him die of sorrow. Like Mlle Vinteuil. the narrator feels himself to be ‘soiled with a double assassination’. the narrator feels that he ‘makes his mother’s soul weep’. now dead. which opens with ‘M. 300) The interweaving of the two themes—inversion on the one hand. for example in Notebook 47. and just a few days later. of the sorrows experienced by the narrator’s mother in the face of Albertine (or Albert) coming on the scene: he saw himself and his daughter in the lowest depths. but will never receive. At times when pleasure overtakes him. Charlus and the Verdurins’ and continues with the grandmother’s illness. he .. while still in mourning. who is an artist in sadism. 162) In a similar way. was it possible to separate M. as Georges Bataille has pointed out. is like the profanation of a sacred memory.’ In Sodom and Gomorrah. at least. like a monstrance in which a sublime mother. who is shocked by his daughter’s sexuality. enjoys the embraces of a lesbian lover who spits on the dead man’s photograph. even when they are not inverts and go after women. they consummate in their faces the profanation of their mothers? But let us leave at this point what would be worth a chapter on its own: ‘profanation of the mother’.30 Julia Kristeva Sainte-Beuve we read: ‘The face of a son who lives on. that tendency to search for some means of rising again to their level. and his manners had of late been tinged with that humility. finally. the narrator’s mother is said to be so aware of the sufferings of the old piano teacher that she seems to share them from the inside. are presented to us in place of the description which the reader expects. which is an almost mechanical result of any human downfall. de Charlus’s appearance completely from the fact that. (III. as sons do not always bear a likeness to their fathers. (1. The sufferings of Vinteuil. that respect for persons who ranked above him and to whom he now looked up . When he later draws the connection between the death of his grandmother and that of Albertine.. there is this late addition to the text: Moreover.

A G E I N G A N D WA R In the last volume of A la recherche. you have to profane it. the transformation itself. Thanks to these two. by the same token. lose some part of their power to injure our heart. she appears in the novel only around 1913. to escape from it. Suffering sets them in motion. is so scrupulous and coercive that. The complicity which Proust discovers between the requirements of an ideal tenderness and the depths of transgression which it imposes is what renders the pervert miserable and. And then at least the woman who poses for us as grief favours us with an abundance of sittings. deserving of love. the ageing of the main characters. and griefs. the reflective faculty may be admirable machines in themselves but they may also be inert. can now break out in joy: Ideas come to us as the successors to griefs.’19 As for Albertine. for an instant. we are presented with three different forms of death: Albertine’s accident. Albertine and Céleste. Georges Bataille recognizes the kinship with his own inner experience of the ecstasies of sin and profanation when he writes: ‘This wish for limitless horror reveals itself in the end for what it is: the true measure of love. even. in that studio which we enter only in these periods and which lies deep within us. and the upheaval caused in society by the First World War. (III. which is uncompromisingly maternal. (III. almost exactly at the same time as Céleste is becoming established in the apartment on the Boulevard Haussmann.Proust and Time Embodied 31 even comes to believe that sensual pleasure is a form of wickedness in which he can engulf himself and bury his ideal. For the ideal. Without pausing to . the inversion can be concealed—there is a woman to embody the passion of the narrator. transposing the feeling that Proust reserves for men—and the element of profanation gets toned down. which has been filtered through mourning and trapped by the cork-lined wall of the motherly Céleste. Certainly the narrator’s mother would have no time for Albertine—but surely it is inflicting on her no more than a polite and conventional form of cruelty that he should desire a woman in this completely natural way? Everything conspires in favour of sublimation: the grievous experience of passion. at the moment when they change into ideas. and drag it down into the bestial world of pleasure. 946) A C C I D E N T. releases suddenly a little joy. 944) The imagination.

is waiting to be spoken. as they tie the knot between subjectivity and the external world and recover once again the sounds that lie beneath the masks of appearance: This notion of Time embodied. unmistakably I heard these very sounds. And as I cast my mind over all the events . always beckoning to us. This will impel the narrator (it already has impelled him) to create a world as vast as a cathedral. In order to take account of this assembly of ‘revolutions’. And at this very moment. What the narrator calls an ‘enhanced’ place in time—perceived by the senses.32 Julia Kristeva look at the aspects of this concern in detail. inaccessible no doubt but. interminable. As it restores my various. different. plots and digressions which made up the earlier volumes of A la recherche. We can follow in Time Regained the successive stages through which he imposes his logic upon the innumerable flashbacks. Swann to the door and the peal—resilient. and outlines the way in which linear time can be transformed into the timelessness of literature. incapable of placing them in succession to one another. its alchemical key. fresh and shrill—of the bell on the garden gate which informed me that at last he had gone and that Mamma would presently come upstairs. The process of reasoning now reaches its fulfilment. yes. these sounds rang again in my ears. 1087). we can certainly show how Proust turns didactic. the noise of my parents’ footsteps as they accompanied M. the book would have to use ‘not the two-dimensional psychology which we normally use but a quite different sort of three-dimensional psychology’ (III. ferruginous. The time in which all of our sensations are reflected upon. as though to strengthen me in my resolve. remaining open and disposable as the self revolves around it—is the notion of embodied time. 1090). an Odette and a Gilberte—Proust discovers what will be (and indeed already has been) the ‘spur’ of the book. in the house of the Prince de Guermantes. it was now my intention to emphasize as strongly as possible in my work. situated though they were in a remote past. of years past but not separated from us. as the prepositional form ‘à la’ indicates. and the formula of A la recherche. But. relationships with people and things. it sets up ‘revolutions’ around me as it does around them. or on a more modest scale to arrange the pieces of material among themselves as if making a dress (III. my memory fastens upon particular ‘sites’ and ‘places’. the ‘masterpiece’ which combines the features of a Swann and a Guermantes. So through juxtaposing the ‘opposing facets’—as in the face of Mlle de Saint-Loup. condensations.

whom I saw sleeping and who was dead. like giants plunged into the years. I was obliged to block my ears to the conversations which were proceeding between the masked figures all round me . so jealous that he may even wish for its destruction . the time for the construction of the work now takes over.21 Yet desire. having forgotten the exact manner in which they faded away and wanting to relearn this. On the contrary. many days—in the dimension of Time.. on the extreme boundaries of cruelty.. appearing like a confession a few lines before the word ‘END’ is inserted. 1105) Then. 1107) The End. The End. of love and hate: the avowal that desire is in essence a perverse desire is what makes time regained come full circle: And it is because they contain thus within themselves the hours of the past that human bodies have the power to hurt so terribly those who love them. Over and beyond the time of jealousy. the temporality of understanding. it is formal language that passes on the message of the perversity at the root of all desire: the ‘monsters’ which take up their places within us come to form a kind of polytopia—‘a place . after this avowal of cruelty.. There is the sense of something coming into view and then being annihilated. (III. 1106) [my italics] And yet... because they contain the memories of so many joys and desires already effaced for them. in so far as the book is itself the direct replacement for the loved person—could we therefore refer to this Proustian time (of cruelty. I was terrified to think that it was indeed this same bell which rang within me and that nothing that I could do would alter its jangling notes. . Albertine deep down. they touch epochs that are immensely far apart. the temporality of state of mind and the temporality of falling.. sensation and writing) as a temporality of concern? Heidegger’s ‘temporality of concern’ incorporates several different stages: the temporality of disclosedness. prolonged past measure—for simultaneously.Proust and Time Embodied 33 which were ranged in an unbroken series between the moment of my childhood when I had first heard its sound and the Guermantes party. and nothing less than the desire to destroy. to hear them properly again. but still cruel for the lover who contemplates and prolongs in the dimension of Time the beloved body of which he is jealous. separated by the slow accretion of many. there comes into play once again the notion of desire.20 (III.’ (III. without warning.

vol. Proust’s fiction reveals fundamental features of the human psyche. in undermining her judgment. vol. 133. 14. beyond it. touch and other forms of experience. 12. 19. X. Jean Santeuil précédé de Les Plaisirs et les jours (Paris. But it goes beyond it. Proust. Personally. p. Ibid. p. 1971). p 204. whilst a distinctive type of writing which transgresses all bounds in its richness of metaphor and its embedding of clauses one within one another at the same time destroys and reconstructs the world. p. p. 1971). 1985). 3. would remain a black date in the calendar. Poésie II (Paris. p. Victor Hugo. Laffont. 8. Marcel Proust. Closer in this sense to Spinoza than to Heidegger. and that this evening opened a new era. Correspondance. 4. I. Ibid. ed. 2. Monsieur Proust (Paris. in relaxing her will. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. goes beyond the temporality of concern. vol. Plon. 1991). p. M. Perrin. . 1973). Céleste Albaret. 13. Cf. 30. 163. in a search for joy. The writer is no philosopher: memory regained bears the imprint of colour. p. Ibid. Ibid. Cf. 117. Philip Kolb (Paris. Les Sept Couleurs (Paris.. 215. 139. IX. Ibid. In the Proustian text the non-temporal nature of the unconscious (as Freud would have it) goes side by side with an overpowering awareness of Being. 10. 9. 238. Ibid. I enjoy this revelation. So imaginary experience is not unaware of the temporality of concern. Ibid. as sickness or sorrow or age might have succeeded. 5.34 Julia Kristeva in its cruelty... Marcel Proust romancier. The psychic absorbs the cosmic and. Being itself is diluted in style. vol. p. 91–2. p. It struck me that if I had just won a victory it was over her. de Diesbach. 32. V.. p. Proust. 95. pp. Oeuvres complètes.’ 7. 1. p. Bardèche. that it was a first abdication on her part from the ideal she had formed for me. Laffont.. Proust to Mme Catusse. Gallimard. vol VI. that I had succeeded.. NOTES 1. 1970–83).41: ‘It struck me that my mother had just made a first concession which must have been painful to her. I hope that you do too. and opens up a place in which signs can develop a spatial dimension by building up sensations. p. taste. 412: ‘A Villequier’. 11. Correspondance. 28: letters to Maurice Duplay cited in Q.. 6. Marcel Proust (Paris. and that for the first time she who was so brave had to confess herself beaten.

16. pp. Being and Time. 282. 19. Cf. 140. 21. Bonnett. The last sentence of this quotation is not to be found in the Penguin Classics edition. Macquarie and Edward Robinson (London. Cf.. 1954). p. . trans J. B. 47 (1946). 18. 64. ‘Marcel Proust et la mère profanée’. Martin Heidegger. Ibid. which relies on the earlier Pléiade text. 1962).. H. no. 80. in Critique. SCM Press. Ibid. Nizet. p. p. p. p. de Fallois (Paris. 609. Contre Sainte-Beuve. Georges Bataille. 17.Proust and Time Embodied 35 15. Proust (Paris. 1985). 20. ed. 383ff. Les Amours et la sexualité de M. Quoted in Proust.


skips on to the edge of the bandstand. who at first sight. executes a leap that carries her within a few inches of his ears. As these illusions or perceptions peel back. an almost callous confidence. he creeps closer to the truth. It is not long before the boy begins to suspect in her the inverse of the happy physicality she has adopted principally for the From Proust and the Victorians: The Lamp of Memory. © 1994 by Robert Fraser. 37 . is Andrée. or rather to a stable perception of that which confounds the successive masks which concealed it. One of more perplexing of these illusions concerns the ‘jeunes filles’ themselves.R O B E RT F R A S E R The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot I O n holiday with his grandmother in Balbec the adolescent boy of A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs is prey to sundry appearances. to the abject terror of the octogenarian judge but the explosive delight of her companions. appear to possess a certain uniformity of manner: a devilmay-care athleticism. he later learns. and discovering in her path the head of an elderly man of the law settled in a deckchair beneath. the successive projections of which disguise its reality: a rather ordinary upper-middle-class resort on the coast of Normandy. Balbec itself is an appearance. a careless and concerted cruelty. But Andrée is an enigma: at once the most popular and the most introverted of the band. swanning along the promenade in happy abandon. At one point one of the girls whose name.

she will herself be drawn to her opposite. be the cause of much suffering. II. too similar to me. And even at that very moment we were attached less exclusively to what the book said than we were to the texture of the pages we were turning. founded on a misunderstanding as to her nature. intense and self-enclosed. If Albertine now struck me as empty. something too closely akin to himself—febrile. so closely resemble her own? The ambit of those tastes. but not on her own behalf. the very Albertine—shallow and self-serving—that he must learn to love. if unrecognized and uncorrected. In a later volume. ( JS. in a journal supplement. she will accordingly occasion the pangs of jealously. Andrée on the other hand was replete with something I recognized only too well. But when we were young the book itself was never distinct in our minds from that which it was saying. II. La Prisonnière.38 Robert Fraser approbation of others. enclosed: But for me truly to be able to love Andrée she was too intellectual. and which we perused with that extra special love which no other love has ever since been able to supplant. Today in a manuscript. 295) Thus the only kind of suffering Andrée is capable of causing him is one founded on a categorical mistake. His spiritual alter persona. recalls a parallel passage in Jean Santeuil: Already when we were tiny there was always some particular book which we took with us when going to the park. My deception. I had thought the first day to have met some cyclist’s mistress on the beach. The attraction she possesses for him is thus that of an opposite and is of short duration. But it was the sort of blunder which can cause love to be born and. too delicate. 190) . neurotic. (NP. for how could she who beguiles the afternoon hours translating the novels of George Eliot sustain a threat to one whose self-immersion. but that her finest hours were those she devoted to translating the novels of George Eliot. since at the heart of her lies a personality at odds with the demonstrativeness that first drew him. too nervous. eaten up with a love of sport which Andrée now informed me that she had taken up on the advice of her doctor to ease her neurasthenia and gastric complaints. we will be delighted to discover a few additional pages of George Eliot or Emerson. whose tastes in reading. had little importance.

1 If the adolescent of A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs shared the young Proust’s incapacities as well as his enthusiasms. just after Jean is described striding on to the sand dunes bearing a volume of Carlyle’s French Revolution. D’Albert plays and sings. I particularly wish my books to be translated into French. leaving her in Geneva for the winter. this is a form of fictionalised autobiography. I think that I am in just the right place. . but her correspondent on this occasion. she had been anticipated by fifty years. It is not for nothing that in A la recherche de Marcel Proust André Maurois cites George Eliot among the passions of Proust’s childhood. But in October she wrote to them describing the family with whom she had found lodgings: M. stricken with grief after the death of her father. was French Swiss and exempt from the contagion.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 39 The passage occurs in the Begmeil chapter. at least her offices as translator. long before English was one of his accomplishments. he might well have appreciated. however.. Ten years earlier. and in the winter he tells me they have parties . Unlike the Balbec sections of A la recherche. if not Andrée’s love.2 The suspicion of Gallic impurity was one that she constantly expressed (‘half poisoned by the French theatre’ is how she once described herself to her publisher John Blackwood). ‘We are very anxious to get an accomplished translator for Adam Bede’ Eliot wrote to Geneva in December 1859: Hitherto I have rejected propositions of translators. D’Albert are really clever people—people worth sitting up an hour longer to talk to . and it was with some foreboding that the Brays turned homeward. she had arrived in Geneva in the company of Charles Bray and his wife Cara... Proust’s own holiday reading at the time. François D’Albert-Durade. M.. and if there is any healthy truth in my art. II In that capacity. In fact. and Mme. because the French read so little English. The stay was only partially successful in allaying her loss. and the enthusiasms adduced are very much the author’s own.. for a dread of having one’s sentences metamorphosed into an expression of somebody else’s meaning instead of one’s own.. surely they need it to purify their literary air.

hangs now in Coventry Library (Plate 5). François D’Albert in particular. but all the lines and the wavy grey hair indicate the temperament of an artist. His portrait of her in oils. its portrayal of English Nonconformism. an artist of no mean accomplishment and later conservateur of the Athenée. newly released from the constraints of her family and an unwelcome friction with her father. and of The Mill on the Floss: . The large chin softened and dimpled. which she was later to parody in the Dodson aunts in The Mill on the Floss. You must know that he is no more than 4 feet high with a deformed spine—the result of an accident in his boyhood—but on this little body is placed a finely formed head. Silas Marner and Romola— something of the same softening was apparent. heir to an Evangelical faith free of the mental narrowness she had come to associate with the superstitious Evangelicalism of the English Midlands. the nose tapered and aquiline. For the D’Alberts were Calvinists. thought him a model for Philip Wakeham. I have not heard a word or seen a gesture from him yet that was not perfectly in harmony with an exquisite moral refinement. Scenes from Clerical Life. lover of the exceptional in the ordinary. For M. D’Albert. she looks out from eyes that are both calm and knowing. I love him already as if he were father and brother both. with whom her newfound emancipation of views had brought her at times into open conflict. with its Warwickshire dialect. from a sketch made in Geneva shortly before her departure. The Brays. ‘an Evangelicalism unknown to Bossuet’. possessed a generosity of culture she was never to forget. the D’Alberts possessed for Marian Evans a combination she had seldom before encountered. Slender and tranquil. When in time D’Albert came to translate five of her books—Adam Bede. was never going to be easy. ‘As simple.3 Stolidly bourgeois in a respectable Genevan mould. The Mill on the Floss. biblical French as possible will be the best vehicle’ she advised. and rather haggard-looking. The face is plain with small features. whose bodily affliction he shared along with a certain fawn-like capacity for devotion. with none of the magisterial grandeur of the novelist she was later to become. she has a patient and delicate homeliness that might have recommended itself to Proust. the wayside flower. who met him on his one brief visit to the Midlands.40 Robert Fraser Again. Adam Bede in particular. and of much use to her at this stage of her life. full in every direction.

he quotes Eliot’s description of the curate Mr Gilfil from Scenes of Clerical Life. those ‘intermédiaires entre le style commun et le style élégant’ to which you refer? It seems to me that I have discerned such shades very strikingly rendered in Balzac and occasionally in George Sand. In a footnote appended to La Bible d’Amiens he speaks of this frankness. some culled from Eliot’s narrative..4 III This vernacular robustness of Eliot—‘accents of living men’—proved very appealing to Marcel Proust. But would it be inadmissible to represent in French.. Even in his loftiest tragedies—in Hamlet for example—Shakespeare is intensely colloquial. le forgeron .. one ‘living man’. all in D’Albert’s translations.5 Then. Fielding. ‘le rire de Luther’ (‘Luther’s laugh’) as a peculiarly Ruskinian trait. dares to be thoroughly colloquial in spite of French strait-lacing. The Mill on the Floss (Le Moulin sur la Floss) and Silas Marner. others from Adam in old age. To him it spoke of a certain healthy levity of spirit akin to that which Carlyle had discerned among spokesmen of reformed religions: Cromwell. Mahommet. ni oublieux de . Scott (where he is expressing the popular life with which he is familiar) and indeed every other writer of fiction of the first class. But it is characteristic of the softening effect of D’Albert’s translation on Midlands speech that in French it is hard to distinguish the accents of Adam. at least to some degree.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 41 I can well imagine that you find ‘the Mill’ more difficult to render than ‘Adam’. Irwine n’avait effectivement ni tendances élevées. from those of the author: M. this healthy and life-accepting wholeness. Even in English this daring is far from being general. the vicar of Hayslope from Adam Bede. followed by a collage of phrases descriptive of Mr Irwine. One hears the accents of living men. Adam Bede. Luther. with a keen manoeuvre of the sensibility. the very quality that led his master to direct Amiens pilgrims to call in at the patisserie in the high street before paying their respects to the cathedral of St Firmin. who fifty years later read Scenes from Clerical Life (Scenes de la vie du Clergé). Knox. ni enthousiasme religieux et regardait comme une vraie perte de temps de parler doctrine et réveil chrétien au vieux père Taft ou à Cranage. but in seeming logical irrelevance. Balzac. The writers who dare to be thoroughly familiar are Shakespeare. Il n’était ni laborieux. I think.

42 Robert Fraser lui-même... I must believe that Mr Irwine’s influence in his parish was a more wholesome one than that of the zealous Mr Ryde who . as quick!—he understood what you meant in a minute... or even to Chad Cranage the blacksmith . he had that charity which has sometimes been lacking to the very illustrious virtue—he was tender to other men’s failings... nor very copious in alms-giving. Il était indulgent pour les fautes du prochain et peu enclin à supposer le mal .’ He really had neither lofty aims.. Irwine était aussi différent de cela que possible. nothing but what was good and what you’d be the wiser for remembering...’6 .. He was neither laborious. His mental palate. L’influence de M. Mais il avait cette charité chrétienne qui a souvent manqué à d’illustres vertus. ses chiens courant à ses côtés. I would be obliged to confess that he felt no serious alarms about the souls of his parishioners... insisted strongly on the doctrines of the Reformation ... mais ne disait rien qui ne fût propre à vous rendre plus sage si vous vous en souveniez. indeed.. and unwilling to impute evil . nobody has ever heard me say that Mr Irwine was much of a preacher . was lax.. Ses goûts intellectuels étaient plutôt païens .. no theological enthusiasm: if I were closely questioned... Si vous l’aviez rencontré monté sur sa jument grise. Il n’était pas un fameux prédicateur . Ryde qui insistait fortement sur les doctrines de la Réformation.. condamnait sévèrement les convoitiscs de la chair ..... il se conduisait en gentilhomme avec les fermiers . qui était très savant... ‘Now Mester Irwine was as different as could be. And he behaved as much like a gentleman to the farmers .. and his theology you perceive.. ni très abondant en aumônes et sa croyance même était assez large. and was severe in rebuking the aberrations of the flesh .. with his dogs running beside him—with a good-natured smile on his finely turned lips ... nor obviously self-denying. But if you had met him that June afternoon riding on his grey cob. mais il était si pénétrant. Irwine dans sa paroisse fut plus utile que celle de M. ‘M.. avec un sourire de bonne humeur . was rather pagan .. il comprenait ce qu’on voulait dire à la minute... and would have thought it a mere loss of time to talk in a doctrinal and awakening manner to old ‘Feyther Taft’....

which regularly contained observations on the literary world in which an author’s public demeanour was wilfully. and indeed most of those whom we meet on social occasions. the last one more so than the others. A literary Sainte-Beuviste is one who confounds an author with his or her work. In an essay on literary fallacies. the fact that a book is ‘untrue’ or ‘depressing’ is like some personal fault in the writer.’ (CS-B. he mocks fashionable readers who call themselves ‘intelligent’ while mistaking the very nature of the books that they read: But for so-called ‘intelligent readers’. perceiving it as her essence. Proust seems to have regarded this worldly tolerance of Eliot’s clergymen as intrinsic to AngloSaxon Protestantism: something rounded. 285) The blunder into which the putative ‘intelligent’ reader has fallen here is one that Proust thought intrinsic to nineteenth-century culture. just as we come to expect a certain temperamental consistency in our friends and acquaintances. The ‘intelligent’ reader here is one informed by this perspective. In his mind it was epitomised by Sainte-Beuve’s weekly literary column Causerie de Lundi. and a vicious one at that. It’s always untrue or morose [sombre]. I don’t want any more. wholesome. for example.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 43 Regarding England and the English from afar. confused with the nature of his work. which they are as astonished as gratified to encounter again. to which Proust was quick to respond. For whatever else of her he had sacrificed. and perversely. integrity combined with an avoidance of extremes. For Proust. Eliot’s work was no more ‘sombre’ than were her clerics. ‘Sainte-Beuve et Balzac’. Indeed. every time we open the cover of a book by a particular writer. the spiritual sensations to be discovered will recognisable and very much the same. with the result that each time the bookseller hands them a Balzac or an Eliot they reject it saying ‘Oh no. D’Albert had kept the life-accepting humour. few authors illustrated the futility of this point of view more poignantly than Eliot. even exacerbated in each succeeding work as if it is something he has been unable to rectify in himself and which finally lends him in their eyes the unsavoury character of a person without judgement who cultivates gloomy ideas and whom it is inadvisable to meet. assuming that the experience of reading a work of fiction is very much the same as a meeting with its author: that. fleshy. assuming from the Puritanical reputation attached to the name of Eliot. what Proust seems first to have responded to in it was a . that her works must consistently be morose.

Naturalist Idealism. in which the unworthy is portrayed in a ratio harmonious with the worthy. and devising her own theory of fiction. suggestive’. at least at one stage of his work. though it came to seem to Ruskin as if tenderness were the greater and more durable of these qualities. Affectionate and frank in their social relations. she expounded her own doctrine of realism as. even if the enthusiasm was not always reciprocated. In a passage from The Two Paths translated by Proust. amongst other things. published in the Westminster Review in 1856 where. They were the very qualities found by Ruskin in the later phases of medieval art as exemplified by the Vierge Dorée of Amiens: ‘truthful. Should he not have been rendered more perfect. more stringent in teaching and in . ‘I venerate him as one of the chief teachers of the day’. she wrote. IV This kinship between Ruskin and herself. in the great seventeenth chapter of Adam Bede. praising Ruskin’s ‘realism’—‘the doctrine that all truth and beauty are to be attained by a humble and faithful study of nature’—she goes on to paraphrase his distinction between versions of the True Ideal: Purist Idealism. the inspiration of a Hebrew prophet. was one to which Eliot was herself alive. And. 281). short on exhortation and the exposition of doctrine. so essential to Proust’s appreciation of her. the avoidance of a certain kind of selectivity in art. XVI.44 Robert Fraser gentleness and lightness of touch common to subject and narrator. no more than moderately learned. playing the Sainte-Beuviste card in his turn—since none of us is consistent—these were the very range of sensations that he seems. Two years later. and second since in the eyes of a compassionate but fallible artist. preaching no more than maxims. Eliot and Ruskin. he plays with these notions and with a certain ambiguity latent in the word Truth: ‘I find this more and more every day: an infinitude of tenderness is the chief gift and inheritance of all truly great men’ (C&W.8 She was working on Scenes from Clerical Life at the time. tender. first since tenderness was a precondition of the perception of truth. in which only the noble is portrayed.’7 This ‘doctrine of truth’ was the subject of her review of the third volume of Modern Painters. must be stirring up young minds in a promising way. truth could never be anything but partial. seemed to share them. to have seen as being part and parcel of English culture in general. for example. This is the chapter from which Proust culls those phrases of Adam’s concerning Mr Irwine: an imperfect cleric perhaps. Irwine and Adam are portrayed with both tenderness and truth. to which her appreciation of Ruskin has no little relevance. ‘The grand doctrine of truth and sincerity in art.

9 Like much of the early portions of Adam Bede. in spite of one’s best efforts. dreading nothing. These are the ‘many Dutch paintings’ whose ‘precious quality of truthfulness’ she praises in Adam Bede. indeed. One remembers too. whose essay on Rembrandt emphasises his solidity. his discovery of beauty in ordinary circumstances. whose ‘breathing men and women’ she appreciates in a letter to Sara Hennell. he found too in Chardin. the better. and the larger the wings. even about your immediate feelings—much harder than to say something fine about them which is not the exact truth. full of homely subjects. without trying to make things seem better than they were. and seemly to be represented in fiction: So I am content to tell my simple story. an almost religious duty and one full of charm’ (CSB. In 1954 a set of manuscript notes on her work was published. the objects in whose rooms seemed to him to conspire in mutual acts of affinity. full of gleaming objects. Metsu. The pencil is conscious of a delightful facility in drawing a griffin—the longer the claws. minute. but beforehand the narrator makes another point: that human imperfection is itself a comely thing. and you will find that even when you have no motive to be false.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 45 life? Adam’s rejoinder is that he is fitted to both time and place. his respect for the physical world. Teniers. this tactility in transcendence. plainness and grossness of the flesh. but falsity. They are also qualities he thought essential to Eliot. truth so difficult. respectful and sympathetic—of the humblest. calmness and industrious peace. offered as something to be appreciated ‘because it exists’: . Examine your words well. The taste for Dutch seventeenth-century painting is something she shared with Proust. Falsehood is easy. this was written in Munich in 1858 where Eliot spent the mornings at her desk and the afternoons in the art galleries viewing Rubens. there is reason to dread. They open: ‘What strikes me in Adam Bede is the painting—attentive. 656). but that marvellous facility which we forsake for genius. van Ostade. which. left behind by Proust at his death. Breughel. is apt to forsake us when we want to draw a real unexaggerated lion. To keep one’s kitchen clean is an essential duty.10 but also the minor Dutch masters—Gerard Dou. a poetry of the domestic. most industrious life. in Jean Santeuil. This sublime ordinariness. One remembers the kitchen grange at Combray. rendering the mundane timeless. the night-time range over which the maid Ernestine presides. it is very hard to say the exact truth. domestic humility.

It was the heightened use of such chiaroscuro. French literature offered others. a sort of ethical cum aesthetic wholesomeness. improbably. of wooden vessels perpetually bathed in pure water’. a stout but jocund homeliness. opening on tip-toes the kitchen door at the end of a dingy corridor. Ruskin and the Dutch school: joined. in Proust’s manuscript essay on Rembrandt. like a balcony at the corner of already dark street lit up by the fading sun. seen by it though invisible to Jean. Ernestine stood at her post. and. moving the casserole hither and thither. Proust sensed between Eliot. like sea ripples made diaphanous in the sunset. Her eye steady in the night which with its red constellations had already engulfed her kitchen.46 Robert Fraser Often at such a moment. ( JS. of firm butter. replacing the lid of the stove. momentarily prodding with her wooden spoon. sagely ruling the fire with her rod of iron. the quivering exhalation of a simmering casserole was as though shot through with flame. Just above it drifted a pink vaporous cloud. Ruskin is falsely portrayed as an admirer. On its broad and shining chest the pot bore a bright impression of the fiery realms beneath. Yet where Eliot’s talents are tactile. Proust’s drive us towards the chiaroscuro of light as a starting point for the conversion of the mundane into magic. such purity. that in the first volume of Modern Painters Ruskin decried as a vice particular to the Dutch painting. If. 187–8) For sumptuousness of physical detail. sustained to all appearances over a pan by an invisible bed of steam. one remembers. this rivals the passage in chapter 7 of Adam Bede that describes the Poysers’ dairy where Arthur Donnithorne meets Hetty Sorrel: ‘such coolness. If for Proust the tender truth of Ruskin and of Eliot represented one kind of realism. seeing that all was well. Jean was rewarded by a vision of the night unexpectedly raised at the far end. All the signs are that for much of . in the pantheon of his esteem. V But realism is a difficult term. the explanation may well lie in Eliot’s praise of Dutch painters. as if mysteriously supported by the darkness and the gleaming tiles of the range. and a certain communality of attitude. such fresh fragrance of new-pressed cheese. and there is more than one version of it. I.

almost contemporary though products of different linguistic cultures. leaving the onus of interpretation upon reader. though Eliot was insistent. the res. The characteristic Flaubertian sentence is thus one in which the physical object. The Flaubertian realism he interprets as consisting in stylistic elimination from the sentence of any taint of subjectivity. For if truth was an attribute of character as much as of judgement. Madame Bovary wishes to warm herself at the fire. and both dependent as much on what they rejected as what they proposed: in Eliot. a more austere and self-denying kind of realism is explored by Proust in his essays on Flaubert. a certain pollen of subjectivity was left on the facts—the result was none the less a discipline of truthfulness without comment. as with meticulous excision the author’s sensibility edited itself out. was one that called attention to its own judgements. in Flaubert. And. 300) For the apprentice Proust there were thus two alternative varieties of literary realism. along with .. we get a picture the various parts of which no more betray an intention than if he was describing a sunset. its reduction to the status of observed fact. an ethereality that lost contact with the gritty essence of things. for example. Arthur Donnithorne and Godfrey Cass were not. whose actions are observed without their wishes being stated.. which in Flaubert was held in reserve. Falling short of the impersonal—as the bee-mouth sipped. Here is how it is described: ‘Madame Bovary (nowhere has it been mentioned that she was cold) approached the fireplace . The tender realism of Eliot. a subjectivity that proposed the artist as unique observer. If Eliot exemplified the realist as ethical commentator. turpitude in others was the absence of that truth. like that of Ruskin. The single largest difference between them lay in their articulation of ethical judgement. ’ (CSB. Both were attractive. the coil of motive and the maze of the soul. There was even for Proust a certain delicious barbarity in this reticence. by contrast. the neutral imposition of the actual. what Flaubert thinks of the adultery of Emma Bovary—and the volition of the characters.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 47 the period of his literary gestation Proust was preoccupied by these alternatives. seen with the lidless impersonality with which Flaubert viewed Emma Bovary. could never be. and the externally observed pattern of behaviour assume the status of subjects: Where an action occurs whose various phases of which another writer would extrude from the motive behind them. What specifically are eliminated are the personality and views of the author—we never discover directly.

and that ‘C’.11 One may go further: that which C. To some extent Jean Santeuil is offered as a novel in the English manner. that the unworthy was matter for art as long as it existed in harmonious equipoise with the worthy. move from one to the other. the spirit of Flaubert is never far absent. the putative narrator of the book. seem to hover over the text: Jean Santeuil is a work that is doubly begotten. 53). Hardy and Eliot. At times. Many paragraphs. How else then was the world to be viewed except with judgement. the ethical candour. especially in the early chapters. the manner I would suggest pre-eminently of Eliot. they say. C is diffident enough concerning his abilities to consider such digressiveness a weakness. we can only assume that the digressiveness. trying out his hand at this apprentice novel. one English and one French. the great strength of C’s work. I. external description. it is quite evidently one of its charms. a film that drifted before the eyes. In the preamble that the two friends who have supposedly rescued the manuscript of the novel after C’s death append at the beginning. These observations may help us to make sense of two different claims of André Maurois: that the Proust of Jean Santeuil was still captive to the influence of Flaubert with his passages of measured. immediately before that evocation of the cooking range: . a constant reaching out from the particular case to the general maxim. both in his work and in his life.48 Robert Fraser Ruskin. as in the description of Jean’s evening in the kitchen at Etreuilles. And yet. It was a tendency they say ‘in the manner of certain English novelists which he had previously loved’ ( JS. indeed. they speak of this discursiveness as something intrinsic to C’s bearing. stylistically. and a noticeable element in the recitations from passages of the book which he gives for their benefit. was an aspect of that truth. Nor does the discursiveness Proust clearly considers intrinsic to this style represent for the writers of its putative preface any faltering of narrative focus. For the young Proust. Two ghosts. is its ability to portray events just as they happened: ‘the things that he wrote were rigorously true’. the inclusion was dependent upon the unworthy being viewed as such. seems to share with Eliot is a willingness to dilate upon the facts. the two manners—Flaubertian and Eliotic—flourish side by side. an ethical varnish on the fictive canvas? In Eliot the objectivity of the fact is embarrassed less because the conditions of viewing are themselves unstable—as in the later aesthetic of Monet and Elstir—than because a certain moral partiality is a qualification of seeing as much as of judging. derives another aspect of his manner from a reading of the great nineteenth-century English novelists: Dickens. though for the friends who publish his work posthumously.

where delectable operations are being executed suggested only by the creaking of casserole under the fall of spent charcoal. and where. For example when just before dinner Jean went to warm his feet in the cook’s room. in the mellow light bleaching the bed’s foot. and existence a calm beauty spread about them. in the tic-toc of the clock. At such moments the voice of the cook droning ‘How damp your shoes are!’ affects you agreeably because the sound of her voice is something that exists. Things are beautiful for being just what they are. The unceasing babble of the stove is even more pleasant than the cook’s voice since there is no need to reply to it—but there is hardly any need to pay attention to what the cook is saying. she wrote in 1851. For ‘the master key to the understanding of human history’. the charm of which resides within the shadow crowding the far end of the room where the younger children’s bed is. It is even delightful to be able to talk to her when one has had too much of the silence and feels like letting fall a few desultory words. in the face of the cook as she gossips in the lamplight. I.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 49 Plenty of other moments besides were enjoyable at Etreuilles. ( JS. a sort of auxiliary kitchen adjoining the first. It was one of those peaceful moments when everything seems robed in such beauty as mere being affords. and in the sprightliness of her look lies something no less soothing than the warmth of the fire. in the mysterious depths of the kitchen. is pleasing since he too exists. lit up by the red glow from the unseen brazier. or the sound of frying food sizzling in the pan. preoccupied with making up some compound. 185–6) VI In Eliot such reaching for the philosophical or reflective is invariably connected with an another tendency: an interest in laws of moral causality which might serve as equivalents of scientific cause and effect. worn out with reading. just as the sight of the old pharmacist standing at his window in the glare of the lamp. is the recognition of the presence of undeviating law in the material and spiritual world—of that invariability of sequence which is . he listened to her coming and going while she brushed the boots.

‘Compensation’ and ‘Man proposes but God disposes’. Silas loses the gold. the seal of prohibition and sanction. which was necessary if he was to find Dinah.50 Robert Fraser acknowledged to be the basis of physical science. but by that inexorable law of consequences. but an interest in law in the wider sense is deeply textured into her later work. not by means of Greek and Hebrew. The divine yea and nay.. Towards the Law of Compensation itself her feelings. wary as she became of its debasement into some kind of secular barter and exchange whereby all forms of renunciation were automatically made up by some kind of celestial but anonymous accountant. whose search for a secularised equivalent for Christian morality closely mirrored her own. however. Silas Marner). were ultimately more mixed. or at one stage on Eliot.. a sort of superior order of a omnipotent providence which converts our evil incomprehensibly into the implement of our wellbeing (cf. Adam loses Hetty. which was necessary if he was to be open to the love of the child (cf. of which he seems to have thought her a supreme exponent. Eliot had met Emerson during one of his rare visits to England in July 1848. Emerson. not so much compensation as consolation.) (CS-B. discerning in it the . Proust’s manuscript notes on Eliot recognise this preoccupation with spiritual law. but which is still perversely ignored in our social organization. the mature Eliot would have no truck. For Proust. severe yet well disposed: above the chain of our vices and mishaps. she inhabited a universe of patent moral meaning ruled over by a Protestant providence.12 Eliot’s ‘yea’ and ‘nay’ here are from Carlyle and Sartor Resartus. 656) Few notions of spiritual law had a stronger influence on literature of the mid-Victorian period. our ethics and religion .. It is against this soothing notion of compensation with its feeble reaching out for comfort at all costs that the ethical severity of the closing chapters of Adam Bede is to some extent aimed. where it emerges as a constant reaching for analogy and example within which the tergiversations of individual conduct may be enclosed. than Emerson’s ‘Law of Compensation’. are effectually impressed on human deeds and aspirations. With this feckless and irresponsible version of Emerson’s law. whose evidence is confirmed instead of weakened as the ages advance. when she seems to have felt some kind of kinship for this former Unitarian minister.

(CS-B. Yet Proust is right in finding in her work a version of the law perhaps closer to the spirit of Emerson: a series of equivalences stretching from one plane to another. Thus. itself a distortion of the need to love. 657) X is Arthur Donnithorne. refractions of an energy that for him will find itself fulfilment only through the imagination. H. it remains true. A third is . The true spiritual laws are for Proust thus variants of the psychological. Donnithorne is one of Eliot’s great studies of the dilatory conscience. There are many instances of such compensation through elevation in A la recherche. it remains true that Eppie is rather a translation of his avarice.. It is not true to say that Mme Vinteuil loses her father in order that she may learn to love him. and is later found by Adam with Hetty in his arms. however. Yet instincts that are starved in Adam by his early attachment to Hetty are to some extent realised in Dinah.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 51 shadow of a false hope stemming from the Christianity she had abandoned. but at the crucial moment baulks his confession. Compensation of this subtler sort is frequent in A la recherche and deeply built into the structure of the work. Nor does Adam Bede lose Hetty in order that he may gain Dinah. who in chapter sixteen of Adam Bede wends his way to Hayslope parsonage to make a clean breast of his affair with Hetty Sorrel. stops short of the providential or judicial. though Silas Marner cannot be said to lose his gold in order that he may find Eppie. This solution to the plot was suggested to Eliot by G. Lewes after she had begun work on the novel13 and. however. suggesting affinities within the physical and spiritual world. resolved never again to see Hetty. This applies equally to the second of his manuscript observations on Eliot: Progressive nature of capitulations of the will: we leave the mother of the child in Silas resolved never again to take opium. X . yet his death propels her into an excess of sadistic hatred. temporarily expressed through her desecration of his photograph but ultimately rarefied into the devotion that causes her to edit his manuscripts and thus to bring the Vinteuil septet into being. on to a higher plane where she may serve as his redemption. The narrator of Albertine disparue does not lose Albertine so that he should learn to write.. a psychological gain that. and next see her with the bottle empty. immediately afterwards in her arms. the death of Hetty and the unexpectedly blossoming love between Adam and Dinah are in fact quite separate strands. though from that moment she worked with this resolution constantly in view. that through losing her he learns of the fragile nature of the human affections. another is Godfrey Cass in Silas Marner.

she finished by believing that what she was saying was the plain unvarnished truth. Such nemesis. is an aspect too of ‘the inexorable law of consequences’ of which Eliot speaks. she henceforth quite unnecessarily excused. ( JS. . Both men suffer the kind of nemesis that Mr Irwine indicates to Arthur as the destiny of those who too energetically delude themselves as to the nature of their own motivations. Bulstrode is unmasked.52 Robert Fraser Bulstrode in Middlemarch who sets himself up as a paragon of virtue and good deeds while hiding the dreadful secrets of his exploitative past. and the loyal and heartfelt manner in which she referred to him always took precedence in her soul when she thought about her deeds. nor flighty for sleeping with Monsieur de Ribeaumont. only to wake up the following morning and find to her chagrin that the typesetter has misread her handwriting and attributed the honour to another. determined to attract to herself the cachet of having hosted the illustrious artist Bergotte to dinner. So she felt quite at ease with her feelings. her species of fidelity. Like Donnithorne. possesses a ferocious reputation as a snob to which she has blinded herself through a systematic deprecation of snobbery in others: Bit by bit. previously so glaring. a negative variant of Compensation. In this variety of psychological nemesis Jean Santeuil in particular abounds. She did not think of herself as doing wrong by Monsieur Lawrence because she invariably spoke well of him. III. putting it at peace and spurring her on to fresh indiscretions. The consequences may be material or they may be temperamental. under the impossibility of passing in her own eyes for a liar. 58–9) A more frivolous punishment for snobbery occurs to the vainglorious Madame Cresmeyer who. whom Jean and Henri visit in book eight. The substantive conduct of her life continued to carry the mark of these two vices. her way of carrying on. Madame Lawrence. and in public. submits her own guest list to Le Figaro. And the words which she so frequently reiterated were like the tiny dose of morphine which anaesthetizing her conscience. the harsher aspects of which. But when she thought about them they took on the same colours as her conversation: lively and engaging. but terrifyingly. She did not think herself a snob for pursuing duchesses. the surrender to weakness being its own castigation.

Marie is an old family friend of the Santeuils who. their collective. Both are spared the worst extremes of that remorse which Mr Irwine describes to Arthur as the sharpest punishment reserved for sinners. 87) . as bad as a man who never struggles a tall. II. And since for some time he had listed under the vague words sin or trespass his own particular sins and trespasses—handling shady money. since he had only to feel that he shared their common lot. ( JS. Like Bulstrode he has to live to see his deeds denounced in public. his feeble efforts to justify himself before which are compared by the novelist to an unconvincing performance in front of the Convention by Carlyle’s Saint-Just. I pity him. and in the way in which he employs his piety as a way of dulling to himself the consequences of his acts: Confronted with himself and the full force of his conscience. while building for himself a position of honour as a pillar of the community and mainstay of the parliamentary Chamber. in his case in the Chamber. But it is in the peculiar quality of his hypocrisy that he most resembles Bulstrode. And since the conditions which separate us more and more from the rest of our kind never eradicate from our hearts the desire to be at one with them.’ ‘No.’) The most extreme example of such inner torment in Jean Santeuil is the Marie scandal in book five. I am nought but a miserable sinner’.—the words ‘touching shady money’. embezzlement etc. original sin. for they foreshadow that inward suffering which is the worst form of Nemesis. ‘embezzlement’ were more and more replaced in his mind by the words sin and trespass. in proportion to his struggles. the words sin and trespass had in his mind the immense advantage of reconciling him to the rest of the human race. has for years been associating with dubious business acquaintances and indulging in shady speculations. followed by an abrupt arrest. words with a more emollient effect.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 53 The nemesis inflicted on Madame Lawrence is softened by her unconsciousness of it—she is ridiculous merely in the eyes of others—while Madame Cressmayer’s is confined to a mild social embarrassment. but rather ‘God. Marie’s nemesis arrives in the form of a summons to the Ministry of Justice. words which would have been very painful to hear and would have diminished him in his own eyes. to be accounted of equal worth. (‘But surely you don’t think a man who struggles against a temptation into which he falls at last. a hypocrisy probed before it is judged. he no longer said ‘I have stolen twenty five thousand francs’. my boy.

54 Robert Fraser VI In the way in which it gravitates from the particular to the general. but I reconcile these two foes in the Pantheon of my imagination. In January 1910 after heavy rains the Seine rose and burst its banks. ‘we are all to some extent like Mr Casaubon in Middlemarch who devoted the whole of his life to labours the results of which were merely trivial or absurd. the Marie episode is perhaps the most Eliotic moment in Jean Santeuil. Fair and Foul he would have found Ruskin’s . Perched in his second-floor flat at 102. 42) George Eliot’s tale of a brother and sister growing up in a rural paradise ruined by mutual dissension and financial crisis would have appealed strongly to Proust. (Cor. I implore you: read it’ (Cor. whose Combray sequence evokes its own land of lost content. But two pages of The Mill on the Floss have made me cry. at one point the narrator compares the stupendous wasted effort of writing Jean Santeuil to the gigantic and abortive effort of Mr Casaubon in Middlemarch to produce a comprehensive ‘Key to All Mythologies’. I know that Ruskin detested this particular novel. but seems to have re-read it. who probably knew the novel since his boyhood days. X. in its uncomfortable evocation of a sort of inner writhing. remarks the novel’s narrator ruefully. ‘Especially in matters of work’. or at least to have it constantly in mind. Boulevard Haussmann. exposing the misuse of Catholic doctrine as mercilessly as Eliot unstrips Bulstrode’s specious Evangelicalism. Indeed. 55) He had been reading volume 34 of the giant Library Edition of Ruskin’s Works. writing to his diplomat friend Robert de Billy about various English writers in whom he was interested. but there is an important sequel. Italian and very often French literature leaves me indifferent. Nervously he wrote to Simone de Caillavet: ‘I will write to your mother acknowledging her adorable letter when I feel a little better. X.’14 Jean Santeuil indeed marks the high point of Proust’s involvement with the work of George Eliot. he concluded German. flooding the wide boulevards of the Right Bank. By then I shall doubtless have been drowned. threatening to engulf him. Proust watched apprehensively as the waters poured across la Place Saint Augustin. in 1910 when he was working on Du côté de chez Swann. ‘a mosaic wrought from crushed ruins’. In May of that year. In this connection have you read The Mill on the Floss? If not. where in Fiction. in its pitiless moralism.

half educated. ‘used to be in his power of saying what he meant. Tom is a cruel and clumsy lout.’ For Proust this passage was not simply admirable. while the rest of the characters are simply sweepings out of a Pentonville omnibus. Of much pertinence to Proust is the sensation of an authorial presence revisiting its own past. There is no girl alive. embody this sense— ‘I remember those large dipping willows . and unluckily related. a . The page was exemplary.. or the effervescence of a chemical mixture. 94). XXXIV. the territory around the eponymous mill is. The pictorial tactility of the opening. I remember the stone bridge. 377) Ruskin’s ire had been drawn by the scene in which Maggie Tulliver and Stephen Guest ‘forget themselves on a boat’ which carries them further and further from familiar loyalties’—Stephen from his fiancée Lucy Deane. First. is a fragmentary anticipation of Proust’s own method. and being silent when he ought . with its feeling of a disembodied memorial presence that is at once congruent with the protagonist yet evidently distinct from her.. I would suggest. Ruskin spoke truer than he knew. There is in The Mill on the Floss a peculiar congruency between the themes of memory and of identity since. supremely in Eliot’s work. whose life has not at least as much in it as Maggie’s. like the Combray that Proust’s narrator evokes in Du côté de chez Swann.. for two reasons. or whose qualities deserved so much as a line of printer’s ink in their description. At one point in his notebook of 1908 he simply scrawls himself a curt reminder: ‘First page of The Mill on the Floss’ (Carnet. as it were.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 55 stout defence of Scott and equally savage attack on Eliot. with the making of better things in him (and the same may be said of nearly every Englishman at present smoking and elbowing his way through the ugly world his blunders have contributed to the making of). which is composed. it was also a model to be followed. he spluttered. (C&W. but the automatic amours and involuntary proposals of recent romance acknowledged little further law of morality than the instinct of an insect. to be described and pitied.. memory here assumes a moral dimension. Eliot’s use of the present tense. out of a picture thrown on some inner retina. and Maggie from her senses: ‘The pride of a gentleman of the old school’. Eliot’s writing here. and The Mill on the Floss in particular: There is not a single person in the book of the smallest importance to anybody in the world but themselves. fairly clever.’ In speaking of Maggie forgetting herself. Secondly.

The little path you loved so dearly and that we called the hawthorn track and where you pretended to have fallen in love with me during your childhood . and the Germans have thrown up others... Each biological organism possessed a memory. Towards the beginning of Le Temps retrouvé the narrator receives a letter from Gilberte recounting the changes that have engulfed Combray. attempts to fix a past that has gone for ever. moral truth is loyalty to this essence.. The theme of The Mill on the Floss is the creation of Maggie Tulliver. Yet this is not all. undertaken in full knowledge of these facts. like the painstaking reconstruction of a bygone way of life throughout ‘Combray’. the constant half quotations from Wordsworth’s ‘Immorality Ode’. is thus an attempt to restore the self through a reconstruction of a sense of place. The hill of wheat on which it comess out is the celebrated Hill 307 so often mentioned in despatches. When Maggie ‘forgets herself in a boat’ she is doubly untrue to herself. in it Germans lost more than six hundred thousand men. now occupied by the Germans and scene of a battle in the Great War which has since devastated the environment so painstakingly evoked in Du côté de chez Swann: The battle of Méséglise lasted more than eight months. the existential but also ethical traits that made each person him or herself. In both works an ability to reconstitute the past is viewed as a test of moral essence. which existence alone precedes. are thus. IV. she forgets who she is. nostalgia and a necessary renunciation march hand in hand. The meticulous iteration of particulars at the beginning. in a strong and literal sense. but because. The French blew up the little bridge over the Vivonne . not merely because in a prim Victorian sense she forgets her higher nature. For a year and a half they held one half of Combray and the French held the other.. In Eliot. 335) The loving re-creation of Combray in the Swann volume. once created.... they destroyed Méséglise but they didn’t take it. (NP. . the flood recounted at the end of the book having swept much away. In both. In both Eliot and Proust this attempt to reconstruct with painstaking physicality what is no longer there is part of a larger scheme: the fixing of the self.56 Robert Fraser landscape since radically altered by circumstance.. I cannot convey to you the significance that it has taken on . Since for Eliot. personal identity was none other than this: a cluster of mental associations produced by the influence of early environment. which in turn delineated its identity. tutored by the psychologism of George Henry Lewes. she is essence what she has been.

For the identity reestablished by the narrator at the end of A la recherche is no self-justifying phenomenon. she has no possibility of fulfilling herself. she eventually turns back to face certain moral obloquy in Dorcotte. even his friendships—come gradually to wear the aspect of distractions. reworking within himself the mental associations that make him what he is. Only by restoring the past. The narrator experiences several such moments of revelation. but implicitly shrugging off something else that been of greater importance to him in his own writing. the thematic rather than dramatic climax of the novel.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 57 In ‘The Great Temptation’. in which Stephen asserts the ‘natural law’ of inclination: that she is. the narrator is confirmed by the contemplation of . The stress on recollection as essence is something Eliot shares with Proust. namely the sense. finally. From this destiny his successive fads—involvement with the aristocratic principle through the Guermantes. the successive nature of which is explored during her temporary elopement with Stephen Guest. the life exists so that the art may exist. among other things. the product of her past. whose own psychologism is derived from Bergson with his emphasis on sudden involuntary influxes of the memory. since she is simply ceasing to be her. will be break from the cycle and assume the stature of the artist he is capable of becoming. more especially those that erect fidelity to everyday fact as the criterion of truth. where can duty lie?’ By acting differently. In Proust. with his political interpretation of reality. which acts. common to both Flaubert and of Eliot. each of which bring him closer to himself. it is this desire to restore identity through reconnection with her past that she stresses: ‘If the past is not to bind us. The supremacy of this project—its ascendancy over any mediocre or intermediary element of realism—is a major component in the argument of Le Temps retrouvé. with what Ruskin saw as untutored instinct (a mode of unhistoric and hence pre-moral freedom). the self that must write the book. In thus refining his own philosophy of art as truth to some inner vision. what she has been. Yet no sooner is this congruity stated than the immense gap between Proust’s project and Eliot’s make themselves felt. of everyday life as the focus and touchstone of art. as a final and conclusive renunciation of all forms of realism. and could only ever be. his love for successive women. This is the substance of the debate between her and Stephen at Coleport. In explaining her decision to Stephen. The recognition that they are so comes to the narrator at the final soirée at the hôtel de Guermantes with the force of a complete revelation. The narrator only remembers his past so that he may rearrange it in the dimensions of art. Here Proust is shrugging off not simply Zola.

in A la recherché the narrator (who is. ‘having no need for such declarations of intent. It is the final paradox of Le Temps retrouvé that it is through his very reimmersion in the details of his own past. (NP. 459–60) ‘True art’. The culminating aesthetic of Le Temps retrouvé is. The resulting closeness to his subject matter confers upon the narrator a peculiar mastery. fulfils itself in silence. The paradoxical result of this is to turn the narrator’s past into a self-generated subject that he himself controls. not Proust) and his subject are one. There are no secrets in this house’. the narrator of A la recherche is also trying to break into the past. which would not be half so mendacious did we not adopt the custom in life of giving to our feelings a turn of expression quite other that that of reality. and detachment is achieved through the most revolutionary of means. Both ideals are. reworked. but with committed intellectuals or heros. Besides. or failing the mass at least to deal no longer with literary idlers as in the past (‘I must confess that the portrayal of these useless types makes me yawn’. I felt that I should have no need to embrace the various literary theories which at one time had distracted me—notably those which criticism had evolved at the time of the Dreyfus Scandal and had been taken up again during the war. a renunciation neither of truth nor of detachment. Thus while the narrator of The Mill on the Floss is attempting to re-enter a past from which she (or he—the identity of the teller is left indefinite) is now excluded. even before discussing their logical content. but only that he may then subdue it and . In The Mill on the Floss the narrator and Maggie are separate. that the narrator achieves the detachment—both from his surroundings and from the pressures of the self—that he needs. which tended to ‘drive the artist from his ivory tower’ and to avoid frivolous or sentimental themes in favour of great industrial movements. he continues. for truth becomes truth to an inner vision. which nonetheless we eventually take for reality itself. which must be reworked into material for art. however.’ Such statements are a self-evident attempt to separate out the notion of ‘truth’ from that of the ‘real’. IV. these theories seemed to me proof positive of the mental inferiority of those who espoused them—like a well brought-up child who hears some people at whose house he has been sent to dine declare: ‘we are straightforward people. therefore. needless to say.58 Robert Fraser the very falsity of pretending realist art. Bloch used to remark). and feels that the this denotes a moral quality inferior to good deeds which do not speak their name.

from feudal tortures. than does Monsieur de Charlus. he is enabled to compose. from the particular to the general. de Charlus all his dream of virility. the narrator intercepts a grotesquely camp invert waddling down the street: it is M. IV. it is when in Sodome et Gomorrhe he joins the little band of the Verdurin faithful that minute mannerisms betray his inversion. 419) . in all their ugliness. to be beaten. (NP. being beaten in chains by soldiers hired for the purpose in a brothel run and maintained by the ex-tailor Jupien. to be realized if necessary in acts of brutality. something else very odd and seemingly perverse occurs. the largest single innovation separating A la recherche from Jean Santeuil is its subjugation of the ethical to the psychological. Apart from the new narrative perspective. much of which moves. all that interior illumination. Few individuals in literature surrender their wills more absolutely to the demands of temperament.. a more searching interest than earlier in the ‘successive nature of surrenders of the will’. from the fictive to the normative. through this unlooked for access to the privileges of memory. and waxes Eliot-like on the depravity that causes a man of sense to ‘chain himself to the rock of pure matter’. The effeminacy of his temperament is at first heavily masked by an assumed virility. In short his desires to be bound in chains. But this reflection. more marked in A la recherche. as in Jean Santeuil. the narrator observes the same M. for example. betrayed a dream as poetic as the desire in other men to visit Venice or maintain ballet-dancers. where it is responsible for a highly distinctive structure of interpolation and parenthesis. On his return to Paris at the beginning of Le Temps retrouvé. if anything. Again there is. de Charlus.. And in a sorry episode several pages later. is immediately overlaid by another: at the bottom of it all there lingered in M. precisely here does he stay his hand. disclosed by the ‘chemistry’ of his body or perhaps by heredity. de Charlus.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 59 turn it into something that transcends itself: the book which. every scrap of shame gone. lit up by his medieval imagination . Yet at the very point when the whole field of human conduct is opened up to the narrator for judgement. But as in A la recherche the consciousness of the narrator swells to fill the whole foreground of the canvas. religious in its gravity. but reflecting certain beams from the cross of judgement. An interest in the laws governing behaviour is. some remote memory of the mother. invisible to us.. its preference for implicit over explicit moral comment. to be sure.

or pause for anticipatory condolence? She sweeps on. The Duchesse pauses. watches each surrender of the will with loaded indictment and regret. or even verbally hinted at. schooled perhaps by Eliot. says the narrator in connection with the Marie scandal in Jean Santeuil. The disapproval of the members of the Rouen bourgeoisie who first take advantage of and then dismiss the prostitute in the story ‘Une Boule de Suif ’ is something that hangs heavy in the air. ultimately just watches. Among such. don’t get into a flap over these idiots of doctors. At the very end of Le côté de Guermantes there is an episode profoundly revealing of this difference. 884). Eliot and Flaubert. Swann announces in his off-hand manner the diagnosis of his imminent death. yet not once is it stated. The difference between the younger and the older Proust is this: where the narrator of Jean Santeuil. the narrator of A la recherche. 92). All is delayed so that she should go upstairs to change them. | Boule de Suif and Flaubert | [say] as much as preacherly tones (preface to Middlemarch)’ (Carnet. II. two tribes. no writer exemplified the starkness of his self-denying ordinance more emphatically than his disciple and rumoured son: Guy de Maupassant. yet as she enters her carriage the Duc notices that she is wearing black shoes at variance with her dress. you. remembering Flaubert. You’re built like the Pont Neuf. The Duc and Duchesse are entertaining Swann immediately prior to their departure for a soirée at the salon of the Prince. were those who imbibed his method. They’re a pack of donkeys. As they sweep out of the door towards an appointment for which they are already late. But as. The characteristic mode in which the narrator comments upon the external social world is thus one of fastidious observation.’ There is. Of equal weight with Flaubert. the Duke shouts back at Swann ‘And you now.60 Robert Fraser ‘Tout comprendre est tout pardoner. This lesson was one that Proust ultimately took to heart. damn it. There are. the prime exemplars of the moralistic and the impartial methods were. the couple and their retinue sweep out of the gates of the Hôtel de Guermantes. however. It is indeed difficult to resist the impression that the narrator of A la recherche regards the foibles of his human comedy with something approaching relish. no less of a sense of moral consequences than in Proust’s earlier work. correctly attired. to one of which each of us by temperament and . For Proust. but this sense is everywhere subordinate to a fascination with the workings of the mind. forever and inalienably. in this systematic narration of the decline of a great man. You’ll live to bury us all!’ (NP. In the 1908 notebook he writes himself another curt reminder: ‘Objections to maxims. Should she continue onwards to her appointment.

75–6. 11. JS. 1968) p. cited Byatt. II. 7. pp. p. Middx. . 332. 1. ed. Poems and Other Writings. however. pp. in his later work. in the delicacy of its moral discretion. The George Eliot Letters.: Penguin. III. which. 1859) vol. S. 1954-5) vol. April 1856. Thus even as. yet on its import the author is silent. 451. Adam Bede (London: Blackwood. citing The George Eliot Letters. Haight. 271. 230. 3. 226. 1949) p. Life of George Eliot. Clarendon. vol. Proust assumes an Eliotic amplitude of observation. 128). 10. NOTES 1. 228. xxxiii. pp. 227. p. pp. George Eliot. CS-B. George Eliot. Cross. 13–14. a pupil of Flaubert. 84. 13. vol. so as to get into a cheerful temper. 374. CS-B. The quotations from Eliot are from Albert Durade’s translation of Adam Bede. 14. 4. 74. A la recherche de Marcel Proust (Paris: Hachette. 9. Gordon S. January 1851. 252. II. precisely here does the austerity of his method prove him. 316–17. J. I. citing Ruskin in The Bible of Amiens: ‘stopping as you go. 1. has ‘M. 72–3. p. 68. 1990) p. 2. Westminster Review. W. ed. Life of George Eliot (1885) vol. 8. Finally. Byatt (Harmondsworth. Preface to JS. 4–5. 16. II. Westminster Review. II. André Maurois. p. 368. 85. 5. The George Eliot Letters. II. or in her work as a whole. Gordon S. 7. p. George Eliot: A Biography (Oxford. 12. 6. cited in Selected Essays. quoted in Haight. p. For nothing in Felix Holt the Radical. vol. citing JS. 53–4.The Lamp of Truth: Proust and George Eliot 61 inclination belongs: those who wear their morality on their sleeve and those who do not. Cross. their failure of the most basic kind of empathy. 259. nothing in the work of Proust more effectively discriminates between the nature of his genius and that of Eliot than his authorial restraint in the closing moments of Le côté de Guermantes. Selected Essays. George Eliot. Cabusson’. shouts more loudly of the callousness of the aristocratic code than that momentary oversight of the Duc and Duchesse. Review of Robert Mackay’s Progress of the Intellect. and buying some bonbons or tarts for the children in one of the charming patissier’s shops to the left’ (C&W. Haight. A. Haight (Yale University Press and Oxford University Press.


CYNTHIA J.3 Indeed. and the Sistine Chapel in particular. Moses in Egypt and Midian. From Word & Image 15. in English. The fresco is entitled Le Prove di Mosè. 4 (October–December 1999). measuring 348. However.2 His pleasure on that occasion was due to his appreciation of Michelangelo’s use of colour. 63 . and in some degree of shade.5 metres from the ground. The Temptation of Moses: Bearer of the Written Law. it is variously denominated: The Temptation of Moses. and received real pleasure from it’. Youth of Moses. Z I P P O R A H IN CONTEXT Ruskin’s Zipporah4 (figure 1) is a copy of a fragment of a large fresco by Botticelli. about 5. That visit was almost a valediction to Rome: ‘there is something about it which will make me dread to return’. © 1999 by Taylor & Francis Limited. Botticelli painted this scene at the request of Sixtus IV. no. Ruskin was not to return to Rome. literally ‘The Trials of Moses’. who summoned him to Rome in 1481. J I. GAMBLE Zipporah: A Ruskinian Enigma Appropriated by Marcel Proust1 ohn Ruskin first visited the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican in April 1841 and noted in his diary: ‘Our last day in Rome I devoted to Sistine Chapel.5 by 558 cm on the South Wall of the Sistine Chapel. until 1872. but no mention is made of Sandro Botticelli. The Life of Moses. Scenes from the Life of Moses. some 31 years later. he also wrote.

with lots of movement and activities in contrast to the solid piece of architecture on the right (is it a synagogue. or is this a scene of two frightened spectators. It is also a story related in eight episodes of the life of Moses. encompassing human and animal life. and hid him in the sand’. or a loggia?) which might provide some degree of protection. It is a busy canvas. Scenes from the lives of Moses and Christ were executed on the long walls of the chapel. such as a mother and son. to the right. The scenes contain typological references to one another. as a Hebrew script. agony and horror: ‘And it came to pass in those days. and they provide a frame for the activities. where the young. that he went out unto his brethren. . a woman in a blue garment puts her arms protectively around a man: is he the Hebrew youth who the Egyptian was smiting. beyond the trees. In the background. whose head has hit the ground and whose face is convulsed with pain. Walking away. hatred.64 Cynthia J.5 Contrary to the Biblical story. compassion. and when he saw that there was no man. Gamble along with Domenico Ghirlandaio. (Exodus 2:11–15). brandishing a sword. in the Arabian desert near the Gulf of Akabah): it is a mosaic of the spiritual and the profane. contrasting emotions of terror. for example. is murdering the Egyptian taskmaster. the hilly landscape of Biblical Egypt and the wilderness of Midian are visible. and contrary to the flow of movement of the painting. tenderness. The Trials of Moses is to be read from right to left. as a circular narrative moving around the well in the centre. commencing in the bottom right-hand corner. he slew the Egyptian. And he looked this way and that way. angry and impetuous Moses. The story begins in the right foreground of the fresco. murder. or a husband and wife? 2. It conveys different points in time and in two places (Egypt and Midian. with. IN EGYPT 1. Botticelli depicts two witnesses who are retreating from the murder. and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew. when Moses was grown. one of his brethren. Moses appearing as the prefiguration of Christ. Cosimo Rosselli and Pietro Perugino to decorate the walls of the papal electoral chapel with frescoes.

6. sat down by a well. On the left of Moses in the wilderness. but the girls had obviously complained to their father. Not recorded in the fresco are several important events in the life of Moses. and he called his name Gershom: for he said. In the centre foreground. and business and other deals concluded.. and watered their flock’ (Exodus 2: 15–17). 5. with the water of the well symbolizing life and re-birth. Moses flees into the wilderness in Midian for his safety. turning to the left and thereby re-establishing the flow of the movement of the painting. in the left half of the fresco.. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water. And she bare him a son. It was also the scene of revelations and announcements. the priest . and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.. such as Jethro welcoming him to his home.. He is hauling water from a deep well with a silvery coloured bucket or pitcher on a rope and filling a trough for the sheep of the two girls who stand watching: Zipporah is on the left facing the reader and her sister is on the right. Moses’ marriage to Zipporah and the birth of a son named Gershom. We do not know exactly what happened. the focal point of the fresco or the pivot of the composition. meaning foreigner or exile in Hebrew: ‘And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. Moses can be seen driving away from the well the Midianite shepherds who had been a nuisance to Jethro’s daughters. dwelt in the land of Midian’ (Exodus 2:15). And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them. The meeting place is portrayed as idyllic and symbolic. He is depicted by Botticelli almost suspended in flight. better known today as Mount Sinai: ‘Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law.A Ruskinian Enigma Approppriated by Marcel Proust 65 IN MIDIAN 3. I have been a stranger in a strange land’ (Exodus 2:21–2). the youthful Moses is assisting two of Jethro’s seven daughters. ‘Moses . Moses is guarding Jethro’s sheep on Mount Horeb.6 4. The black sheep among the flock is perhaps an omen of trials to come. and the well being the place at which marriages were arranged. Upwards. The Biblical story continues as follows: ‘Moses .

and jewels of gold. in obedience to the Lord’s command from the Burning Bush. now ‘fourscore years old’ (Exodus 7:7). even to Horeb’ (Exodus 3:1). Gershom. and of her that sojourneth in her house.7 for he is on Holy Ground. behold. Moses. holding a little dog. Botticelli’s fresco depicts an older. 12:35–6). which burned but was not consumed. and herds. 8. the younger son. now barefoot. is kneeling before the Lord who appears above a burning bush. of Midian. rather matronly Zipporah in a blue dress. ‘Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet. and he led the flock to the backside of the desert. beside him. Sheep (RF 879). Eliezer. The Lord told Moses that he was destined to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt into the promised land of milk and honey. the bush burned with fire. and came to the mountain of God. In the bottom left-hand corner. accompanied by her two sons. and. and the bush was not consumed’ (Exodus 3:2). Charles Fairfax Murray also copied two scenes: Gershom and His Dog (private collection) and Moses and His Family Leaving Midian (Sheffield R 312). Gamble 7. ‘And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked. even very much cattle’ (Exodus 12:38).8 Sheep (RF 1167) and Gershom’s Little Dog (whereabouts unknown). Among this departing crowd. In the top left-hand corner.66 Cynthia J. . leads the Exodus of the Jews carrying their various belongings and the spoils of the Egyptians as they had been instructed by God: ‘Every woman shall borrow of her neighbour. not a long robe. He is dressed in a short. and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons. for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground’ (Exodus 3:5). From Botticelli’s Le Prove di Mosè. yellow tunic. The Bible story details other possessions they took: ‘flocks. mentioned in Exodus 18:4. and upon your daughters: and ye shall spoil the Egyptians’ (Exodus 3:22 and cf. jewels of silver. with its variety of characters. and. Ruskin copied four scenes: Zipporah (RF 880). and is removing his shoes. Moses.

If only I can keep myself in good temper and health . of which 6 months were spent in Italy.. ’. Thursday 14 May: ‘Finished Zipporah down to her feet yesterday’. one festa.’ Saturday 9 May: ‘A good day y[esterday] on Zipporah. Thursday 7 May: ‘Y[esterday] good work in Sistine. my work prospering. the Slade Professor of Art at Oxford. So that... She has taken me altogether 15 days. well prepared and under ordinarily favourable circumstances. and all despondent and wrong minded in evening’. unfortunately. Tuesday 12 May: ‘An utterly dark day. though I shall retouch here and there. The paper added to the difficulty not a little. followed by ‘Still pleasanter day of work on Botticelli’ on 18 April.9 Ruskin seemed well satisfied with his fortnight’s work for he wrote to Charles Eliot Norton on 19 June 1874: ‘I’ve done Botticelli’s Zipporah successfully’.. His entries for May record his progress. and a lost Monday intervening. successfully’. I walked up Monte Mario’.10 Details of particular artistic problems Ruskin encountered during the copying of Zipporah are. in finishing Zipporah.. He started work in 1874 and on 17 April wrote: ‘A delightful day yesterday at Sistine . and to a lesser extent his method of work: Tuesday 5 May 1874: ‘Y[esterday] began sheep in Sistine Chapel.. begun on the 6th and three Sundays. and not being quite near enough for measurement—and at least a week of dark days. tired me dreadfully yesterday. deciphered her pretty hem of dress’. and main difficulties in Zipporah.A Ruskinian Enigma Approppriated by Marcel Proust 67 II.. Friday 22 May: ‘ . Saturday 23 May: ‘Y[esterday] a singularly good day—on Zipporah’. Wednesday 6 May: ‘Y[esterday] began Zipporah in pencil’. Y[esterday] after standing from ten to two at work on Zipporah. Sunday 10 May: ‘Up in good time. Whit-Sunday 24 May: ‘Y[esterday] practically finished Zipporah. I must not let this happen again’. I sadly tired. after sound sleep. necessarily. records his progress on painting Zipporah in his Diary of 1874. W H E N AND HOW DID RUSKIN PA I N T ZIPPORAH? Ruskin. during a 7-month tour of the Continent. and single-mindedness. singularly lacking: but one special . I can assuredly do such a figure in a fortnight’.

14 a figure from Greek mythology and from a Biblical story: she is Ruskin’s ‘Etruscan Athena. but which could not be read: ‘In copying Botticelli’s Zipporah this spring. and the lettering resembles Etruscan to some extent. the Gooddess-shepherdess or ‘shepherd maiden’.. and in Botticelli’s work: ‘There’s no gap and scarcely any difference between these garlands of golden olive of Etruria before Christ and the utmost beauty of leaf drawing of . co-existed in Botticelli’s Zipporah. He did not want to see the message on the border of her robe which may have destroyed his reconstruction of Zipporah-Athena. which a young painter. assures me are letters—and letters of a language hitherto undeciphered’. therefore. I have examined closely Ruskin’s copy of Zipporah.. Italian and French: his unwillingness to decipher the characters or even to attempt to identify them is.13 This conjunction of two seemingly disparate elements. Later in that same year Ruskin drew particular attention to Zipporah’s dress and to what he considered as Botticelli’s ‘ill done’ lettering around the border.11 Ruskin was a talented linguist who could read Greek. that Botticelli was a pivotal link between the civilization of pre-Christian Greek-influenced Etruria and Christianity: Ruskin had observed the striking similarity between the olive leaves on a cornice of the church of the Badia of Fiesole.15 Ruskin lent his facsimile of Zipporah to an exhibition in Brighton in 1876.12 revealed an important discovery he had made earlier that year. on Botticelli. the Etruscan and Christian traditions. J O H N R U S K I N ’ S Z I P P O R A H -AT H E N A Ruskin’s lecture on 4 December 1874. already referred to in his diary of 9 May. together with his woodcut of Athena copied from a Neck Amphora in . the old capital of Etruria and birthplace of Botticelli. who already knows the minor secrets of Italian art better that I [Ruskin is referring to Charles Fairfax Murray]. Ruskin would have had no difficulty in deciphering the lettering. thus reinforcing the Etruscan tradition and presence in Italian art. Since the Etruscan alphabet is based on Greek. all the more surprising. His uncharacteristically casual approach to the problem suggests that he did not wish to decipher the message and preferred to maintain the aura of mystery and ambivalence around Zipporah. Latin. Gamble difficulty seems to have been that of deciphering the hem of her dress. a characteristic he had observed in several of Botticelli’s pen drawings with so-called inscriptions. working with me. beautifully drawn. becoming queen of a household in Christian humility’. Botticelli’. I found the border of her robe wrought with characters of the same kind.68 Cynthia J. III.

in his Brighton catalogue entry of 1876. Botticelli’s Zipporah is a closer representation of Athena as Goddess of Weaving and Domestic Arts. fearless woman. however. carrying a shield and a spear as Goddess of War (or a distaff as the Goddess of Weaving and the Domestic Arts). retains in his ideal of the future wife of Moses every essential character of the Etrurian Pallas. states clearly t importance to him of Zipporah: ‘Botticelli. Zipporah being a priest’s daughter.19 Ruskin’s transposition and his detection of what Jeanne Clegg calls ‘iconographical resonances’20 continue as he compares Athena’s aegis. and these being of warm crimson complete the sacred chord of colour (blue. with Zipporah’s goatskin satchel. This may appear at first sight to be in stark contrast with Zipporah’s timid nature as witnessed at the well when Zipporah. For Ruskin. but fitting closer. War and Weaving. the fringes of the aegis are. the Greek virgin Goddess of Wisdom. focused exposé of the interconnectedness of Zipporah and Athena. also crocus coloured. is usually depicted in classical Greco-Roman art as an imposing and physically strong. transposed to the peplus. trained in the great Etruscan Classic School. embroidered with blue and purple. yet changing the attributes of the goddess into such as become a shepherd maiden’. her lance to Zipporah’s reed. a warrior ready and dressed to fight with her breastplate.16 His explanatory note for the catalogue is a particularly pertinent. The powerful masculinity of Athena. London (figure 2). with mystic golden letters on the blue ground. Ruskin.18 About the chiton or linen robe with the peplus or mantle. very nearly our shawl. .A Ruskinian Enigma Approppriated by Marcel Proust 69 the British Museum. the protectress of eternal virginity and the embodiment of chastity. Ruskin writes: There is first the sleeved chiton or linen robe. helmet. then the peplus or covering mantle. regarding her as the Heavenly Wisdom given by inspiration to the Lawgiver for his helpmate. Athena’s. was unable to cope with some troublesome shepherds. purple.17 He then examines in considerable detail the dresses of Athena and of Zipporah and shows that ‘every piece of the dress [of Athena] will be found to have its corresponding piece in that of Zipporah’. falling to the feet. often represented in mythology as a goatskin fringed with snakes. Zipporah’s. crocus coloured. embroidered by herself with the battle against the giants. together with her sisters. and scarlet). almost dark golden. looped up a little by the shepherdess.

and to a lesser extent Athena. meaning soft dew instead of storm. L’Arrivo degli Ambasciatori inglesi presso il Re di Bretagna. is an act of Ruskinian idolatry that prefigures Swann’s idolatry of Zipporah-Odette in Proust’s A la Recherche du Temps perdu. the tresses of her hair are merely softened from the long black falling tresses of Athena. This interpretation. Venice.23 He then compared Zipporah with Ursula. while] going on with her needlework all the time’24 depicted by the Venetian artist Vittore Carpaccio in his triptych of 1490–95. A close reading of Ruskin’s text. the industrious princess ‘in a plain house-wifely dress [who] talks quietly [to her father. has been sublimated by Ruskin who has given pre-eminence to nobility and domesticity. is to redefine her as her uncertain identity begins to emerge. and consequent lesbian proclivities.70 Cynthia J. in the Pallas. her lance becomes a reed. Gamble The aegis of Pallas becomes for Zipporah a goatskin satchel. Ruskin’s interpretation of Ursula is in terms not . His initial interest in Zipporah during his 1872 visit to Rome was as a model of his ideal woman combining the noble qualities of a princess with those of a ‘workwoman’. Ruskin projects onto Zipporah what he wants to see. the androgynous nature of the women is suggeste by the phallic symbolism of the lance-reed. this overwhelming desire to see Athena in Zipporah. The scarcely traceable thin muslin veil over her breast represents the part of the aegis which. is Zipporah really carrying a ‘goatskin satchel’? Or is it a wreath? Is Zipporah wearing a chiton? Her lower garment looks more like Oriental trousers. as the red figure of Athena on the amphora becomes a blaze of colour. which opens the Saint Ursula cycle in the Accademia. with its echoes of Queen of the Air. The fusion of these two virgins results in the charged and heightened sexuality of Zipporah-Athena. of the hawthorn at Amiens Cathedral. so prominent on the amphora. A detailed examination of Zipporah’s feet in Ruskin’s copy reveals a heavy masculine shape and form. is drawn with dots.21 The effect of this deconstruction and reconstruction of Zipporah. raises some questions and doubts. reminiscent of his and Proust’s misreading. and vice-versa. and her lower legs appear hirsute: characteristics not apparent in Zipporah’s sister. juxtaposed in his moral interpretation of Zipporah. a leaf of myrtle replaces the olive [leaf]. in which she carries apples and oak (for pleasure and strength).22 The warrior aspect of Athena. in which she carries her wool and spindle. Simultaneously. For example. Is Zipporah at the well carrying ‘apples and oak’? In this partial misreading of Zipporah’s garments.

translated by Terence Kilmartin as In Search of Lost Time.26 In a note to this letter. tracing the rise and fall of his love culminating in his marriage to Odette at a point when he realises he no longer loves her and about whom he exclaims: ‘To think that I’ve wasted years of my life. consciously and unconsciously. M A R C E L P R O U S T ’ S Z I P P O R A H -O D E T T E Botticelli’s Zipporah was. Only when he realises that he has ceased to be in love with Odette is he able to see her. she has golden sandals. in love is in part due to his manner of conducting his artificially created love-affair. The fruit is a branch of apples. that I’ve experienced my greatest love. in Fors Clavigera. play a not unimportant role in his life.25 Ruskin had focused on Zipporah’s housewifely qualities in letter 20. Works of art. IV. a hedonist who prefers High Society to High Art. her defects to which he had been blind. The unreal bride that Ruskin was seeking and idealising was always inaccessible. while her father listens wearily. and a wreath of myrtle round her hair’. a fascinating subject for Ruskin. in a transparent and rational way. as he had done at the very beginning of their acquaintance. and so holding the wool. but a distaff in her right’. become . Her true features. The focus of Swann in Love is the analysis of Swann’s relationship with Odette de Crécy. or which he had assigned to oblivion during his passionate pursuit.27 The evergreen myrtle was a symbol of love and peace in the classical Greco-Roman period. with her duality at different levels and heightened tension due to these juxtaposed elements. 5 July 1872.A Ruskinian Enigma Approppriated by Marcel Proust 71 dissimilar to those used for Zipporah: but other art historians have understood Ursula to be ticking off on her fingers the conditions for her marriage. an art collector who nevertheless has a sensitive appreciation of art and who is writing a book on Ver Meer but who lacks the application to complete it. For Proust. Ruskin modified this initial observation and commented: ‘More accurately a rod cloven into three at the top. when he first sees her at the desert-well. for a woman who didn’t appeal to me. that I’ve longed to die. has fruit in her left hand. and in the Renaissance it represented conjugal love and fidelity: it was often part of a bridal headpiece. in a Carpaccio or a Botticelli painting. this very same Zipporah played an important role in A la Recherche du Temps perdu. Charles Swann is a rich dilettante.28 It is also the story of the selfdestruction of Swann. therefore. also. therefore. indeed agony. Swann’s disappointment. who wasn’t even my type’. when he remarked that ‘the girl who is to be the wife of Moses.

. due to the fact that Proust was basing his observations on the black-and-white reproduction? Proust never visited Rome: neither did he see Ruskin’s original watercolour copy.33 There are distinct echoes of Zipporah in this portrait of Odette. and the tilt of the head. drawing its richly embroidered material over her bosom like a cloak.30 Julia Kristeva maintains that Swann’s imagined love for Odette starts the moment he dissociates her from her real body. Odette. her too thin cheeks. on his second visit to her apartment. which is to be seen in one of the Sistine frescoes’. edited by Cook and Wedderburn.. receives him in a dressing-gown of mauve crêpe de Chine. Standing there beside him. of The Complete Works of John Ruskin. developed and regulated uniquely through the intermediary of art and especially Botticelli’s Zipporah. apart from the reference to the mauve dressing-gown. in black and white. Proust had on several occasions praised the magnificent pictures in these volumes. the pose and the eyes. a reproduction of Jethro’s daughter’. Gamble apparent: ‘Odette’s pallid complexion. published in 1906. Swann’s feelings for Odette are. as if it were a photograph of Odette. as a frontispiece to Volume XXIII. in the depiction of the hair. her tired eyes. without a family or a past) and which was reproduced. He had created an artificial woman. he is ‘struck by her resemblance to the figure of Zipporah.32 On that occasion. her loosened hair flowing down her cheeks. ‘not very well’. her head on one side.31 Swann begins to construct an artificial Odette when. Jethro’s daughter. her drawn features. bending one knee in a slightly balletic pose in order to be able to lean without effort over the picture at which she was gazing. isolated from the rest of the Biblical story (as Odette is presented out of context. and which Proust owned. with those great eyes of hers which seemed so tired and sullen when there was nothing to animate her’. all the things which . he had ceased to notice since the early days of their intimacy’.72 Cynthia J.35 Was the absence of colour in the Odette-Zipporah metaphor. .. with its many defects. and replaces it with the virgin Zipporah: the ‘chair abîmée’ becomes a ‘museum piece’ with which he has a sexual relationship. sometimes mottled with little red spots’ that ‘distressed him as proving that the ideal is unattainable and happiness mediocre’. ‘He placed on his study table. from that moment. the richly embroidered cloaklike garment. Proust’s mother had already given him the Cook and Wedderburn set so far published for his New Year’s present in January 1905.29 Other features of Odette’s that Swann had repressed were ‘her cheeks .34 This must be a reproduction of Ruskin’s copy of Zipporah..

following their curves and convolutions. Swann’s desire for Odette is realised and a kind of compensatory mechanism is released: ‘The vague feeling of sympathy which attracts one to a work of art. the marvellous locks of hair that fell along the tired cheeks’. but regarded it rather as a skein of beautiful. Odette’s entire body is imbued with Botticelli’s Zipporah. traces of the old fresco . clearly evident in his letters to Joan Severn in which Zipporah is an ‘enchantress’.36 In this extreme form of iconolatry. Botticelli .. the more he remarked Odette’s resemblance to the Zipporah of .37 The more Swann looks at the black-and-white reproduction of Botticelli’s Zipporah. as perfection incarnate: ‘[Swann] stood gazing at her. he would think of his own living Botticelli.. who seemed even lovelier still. and beneath this surface mask can be substituted the name and personage of Rose La Touche. In this moment of illusionary physical possession.. the more he believes he is in love with Odette: ‘When he had sat for a long time gazing at the Botticelli. He no longer based his estimate of the merit of Odette’s face on the doubtful quality of her cheeks and the purely fleshy softness which he supposed would greet his lips there should he ever hazard a kiss. relating the rhythm of the neck to the effusion of the hair and the droop of the eyelids. became a desire which more than compensated. thenceforward.. delicate lines which his eyes unravelled.40 And vice versa. For Zipporah had certainly been an object of desire or at least flirtation for Ruskin. as though in a portrait of her in which her type was made clearly intelligible.41 After the face. and as he drew towards him the photograph of Zipporah he would imagine that he was holding Odette against his heart’.A Ruskinian Enigma Approppriated by Marcel Proust 73 Swann reconstructs Odette à la Zéphora and gazes ‘in admiration at the large eyes. a ‘pretty Zipporah’ who should ‘make some people jealous’. and viceversa. the more Swann looks at Odette’s face. for the desire which Odette’s physical charms had at first failed to inspire in him’. Swann is overcome by fetishism as Zipporah becomes both a visual representation and a reincarnation of Odette as Swann takes hold of Zipporah-Odette and grasps her close to his heart. the delicate features in which the imperfection of the skin might be surmised.38 This is not dissimilar to Ruskin’s absolute desire to read Athena in Zipporah.39 Ruskin writes in a sexually explicit way revealing his repressed sexual desires: he confesses that he has ‘nearly driven [himself] quite wild today with drawing little Zipporah’s chemisette’ with his urge to see Zipporah’s breasts. now that he knew the original in flesh and blood of Jethro’s daughter.

in the fifteenth century. with eyes starting from his head and jaws tensed as though to devour her. .42 Odette is becoming more and more unreal.43 The magic contained in the words ‘Florentine masterpiece’ enabled Swann ‘like a title. her brilliant eyes. and. as all their necks may be seen to bend. mythical unicorn. and when he had finished her portrait in tempera. both when he was with Odette and when he was only thinking of her in her absence.46 On other occasions. and made her more precious’. the similarity enhanced her beauty also. in what Richard Bales described as a ‘rush for substitutes’.74 Cynthia J. she gazed at him fixedly. the idea that she was none the less in the room with him still. she had been debarred from entering. metaphorically transformed by Proust as a blind. as it rumbles along a Paris street. the idea of her material existence. is also conducted through the metaphor of Botticelli’s paintings of women: [Swann] ran his other hand upwards along Odette’s cheek. at that very moment. and where she assumed a new and nobler form’. ‘vilely’48 on the piano by Odette. wide and slender like theirs. Swann’s first physical contact with this ‘tart [and] a kept woman’45 who feigns coyness and virginity. in the pagan scenes as well as in the religious pictures. she would look at him sulkily. and these he tried incessantly to recapture thereafter. on the wall of the Sistine. by the piano. swimming at the brink of the eyelids. although his admiration for the Florentine masterpiece was doubtless based upon his discovery that it had been reproduced in her. seemed on the verge of welling out like two great tears. She bent her neck. and he would see once again a face worthy to figure in Botticelli’s Life of Moses. when Swann. ready to be kissed and enjoyed.44 In the confines of Odette’s carriage. to introduce the image of Odette into a world of dreams and fancies which. would sweep over him with so violent an intoxication that. until then.47 is listening with enhanced hearing to Vinteuil’s sonata with its little phrase being played over and over again. with that languishing and solemn air which marks the women of the Florentine master in whose faces he had found a resemblance with hers. giving to Odette’s neck the necessary inclination. as she is transformed from cocotte into a Botticelli maiden. Gamble were apparent in her face and her body. he would place it there.

so that it becomes ‘with its neutral and colourless background. the charm that he had found when. Swann has failed because he is a diletante and aesthete. Swann felt many misgivings about Odette at the beginning of their relationship. at every corner and at various angles. The fact that Swann. the whole of her beauty’. It is a fragile delusion destined to lead to disappointment. which for Swann ‘would have seemed natural and but moderately attractive’. on the other hand his carnal appetite. her body. with a fine knowledge of art which he squanders. regarding ‘the quality of her face. there..49 Odette-Zipporah creates a dialectical tension in Swann: on the one hand he wants to treat her as a virgin. like those sheets of sketches by Watteau upon which one sees here. however.52 So Swann weaves a fantasy world of his ‘love’ for Odette. To cope with Odette’s secret life when she is not with Swann. Similarly. Although Swann has found erotic. he has failed to plumb the meaning of the original painting—in fact he has not even tried. he suppresses its very existence by means of painting. an especially delectable metal’. Proust is severely critical of Swann for debasing a work of art to elevate both the idea of love and a woman with a dubious past and present. ‘those misgivings were swept away and that love confirmed now that he could re-erect his estimate of her on the sure foundations of aesthetic principle’.53 Swann enjoys the romantic idea of being in love. cast for once in a new. [became] supernaturally delicious’51 in the supreme act of consummation like the Perpetual Adoration in the Mass.54 By being in love. traced in three colours upon the buff paper. this . built solely on his imagination and the superimposition of Zipporah onto Odette and substitution of Odette for Zipporah. that the charm that lay in them now was conferred by Odette alone’. yet ephemeral excitement via Zipporah. with this difference. which were constantly revived at ‘the mere sight of her in the flesh’. since he had fallen in love. . for he ‘was once more finding in things. his desire to rape and violate her as an object (the museum piece to which I have already referred) are overwhelming. innumerable smiles’.. he has failed to comprehend the layers of personality that comprise Odette. The metamorphosed Odette is imbued with qualities that she does not and can never possess: ‘an inestimably precious work of art. he had fancied himself an artist. a different. in his adolescence. now takes on a different dimension and as if ‘to crown his adoration of a masterpiece in a gallery. Swann feels that he acquires an identity.A Ruskinian Enigma Approppriated by Marcel Proust 75 he would fling himself upon this Botticelli maiden and kiss and bite her cheeks.50 So making love to Odette.

not Zipporah. Elstir. Within a Budding Grove. his doubts grow and he wonders whether ‘the strange attire of a female model is her costume for a fancy-dress ball..57 As the young narrator looks.. or whether. Swann too deliberately conceals his identity from Odette—he wears a mask. V.. On a table by her side. a tall vase filled with pink carnations’. thus paralleling life itself and the problems of identity and communication.55 is condemned to a sterile life and early death from cancer serves to emphasize his wasted and artistically barren life. but Miss Sacripant. Odette is an amalgam of contradictory and contrasting tendencies. her ugliness and charm which coexist and create tension. while the other held at knee-level a sort of broadbrimmed garden hat . in one of her mittened hands was a lighted cigarette.. by inciting and inflaming Swann’s desires. visits Elstir’s studio for the first time. as he does on so many other occasions such as during his visits to the narrator’s family in Combray. entitled Miss Sacripant and dated October 1872. . It is a painting of a young woman ‘in a close-fitting hat not unlike a bowler. such as her bisexuality and unclear sexual orientation. M I S S S A C R I PA N T —O D E T T E To what extent does Swann know Odette through the mediation of Zipporah? Swann marries an imagined Odette–Zipporah without a known past that he can reconstruct. His attention is caught by one painting in particular. yet at the same time creating a screen which concealed the true nature of the woman. of Odette. Like Zipporah. and when at the Verdurins’. trimmed with a ribbon of cerise silk. As George Stambolian commented: ‘By comparing Odette with Zipporah Swann attempts to hide her different reality’. Botticelli’s Zipporah and Ruskin’s copy of Zipporah had a crucial role in the development of Swann’s love affair with Odette. Gamble ‘célibataire de l’art’.56 This also confuses the reader’s perception of his character. as an adolescent. a woman without a past.76 Cynthia J. The events take place many years before Swann in Love when Proust’s polymorphous/polytemporal narrator. like the façade of a building without foundations and rooms. and through the vision of the fictitious artist. This fantasy world serves to conceal the true identity. In a later volume of Proust’s novel. the scarlet cloak which an elderly man looks as though he had put on in response to some . There is a chilling analogy with Proust’s early life. Odette’s hidden past will be revealed through the medium of another painting.. to Swann.

. without lapels.58 The sexuality of the person oscillates. if so desired. from the fact that it was a young actress of an earlier generation half dressed up as a man’. is confused by the fact that ‘the bowler beneath which the hair was fluffy but short.60 The contemplation is abruptly and unexpectedly interrupted by Mme Elstir. vicious and pensive youth. so that I did not know exactly what I had before my eyes. without the constraints of marriage. vanished. Baron de Charlus. except that it was a most luminous piece of painting’. but hidden owing to its connotations with the world of fashion and the Music Hall. Miss Sacripant was also the stage character that Odette played in Paris when she was introduced to Swann by the homosexual.. for ‘the portrait was indeed that of Odette de Crécy’. It is some time later before the moment of revelation when the young narrator utters: ‘It couldn’t be Mme Swann before she was married?’61 Elstir’s stunning silence spoke loudly.A Ruskinian Enigma Approppriated by Marcel Proust 77 whim of the painter’s is his professor’s or alderman’s gown or his cardinal’s cape’. But the younger narrator. and previously married. The name Sacripant is derived from the Italian male character Sacripante in Boiardo’s Orlando innamorato and has now acquired the meaning in French of a ‘rogue’ or ‘good for nothing’. and reappeared further on with a suggestion rather of an effeminate.63 The Miss also suggests the unmarried status of the subject. and enables the subject sexual freedom of choice. then fled once more and remained elusive’. opening over a white shirt-front. Through the choice of name. The older narrator posits an explanation for the uncertainty: ‘The ambiguous character of the person whose portrait now confronted me arose. made me hesitate as to the period of the clothes and sex of the model. . standing in front of the watercolour.62 The very title of the painting suggests the sitter’s connections with the world of the Music Hall where it was fashionable to use the title Miss. revealing the androgynous nature of Odette: her sexuality does not have fixed boundaries. without my understanding it. the bisexuality is very explicit. the velvet jacket. with ‘the lines of the face [along which] the latent sex seemed to be on the point of confessing itself to be that of a somewhat boyish girl. at which moment Elstir hastily and furtively hides this painting of a woman with whom he had had a relationship.59 The contrast between ‘the dreamy sadness in the expression of the eyes’ and the provocative costume ‘belonging to the world of debauchery and the stage’ disturbed the young narrator who could only interpret the facial expression as ‘feigned’ in order ‘to enhance the provocation’. or at least the implied status in this case for Odette de Crécy was the estranged wife of the Comte de Crécy. This transvestite costume is worn by a young actress. implying a degree of titillating erotica. as in many of Elstir’s seascapes. .

Whereas Ruskin. he identifies Miss Sacripant as Odette de Crécy. What is lacking is the event that will make them suddenly appear different from the way we know them’. . It is the adolescent narrator in Proust’s novel who experiences a moment of revelation when. yet at the same time expressing continuity. the Etruscan olive branch on the Badia in Fiesole and in Botticelli’s paintings. where the unsuspected aspects of a person suddenly reveal themselves to our eyes. the truth about Odette and her dubious past would gradually unfold and would reveal that Swann’s doubts were well-founded. religions. Yet the truth about Odette’s inner self had been captured by the artist Elstir. he uses this painting solely to obtain ephemeral satisfaction in love. and read and understood correctly by the narrator–writer of In Search of Lost Time who had deciphered the portrait of Miss Sacripant. yet his instincts were correct. Swann’s is a fruitless act of idolatry and one which will be severely reprimanded and condemned by Proust. through his critical abilities.64 to reveal her multiple layers and the harsh truth she wished to dissimulate. Proust revealed in an interview with André Arnyvelde in 1913: ‘I have tried to imitate life. After the publication of Du Côté de chez Swann. provides an in-depth analysis and interpretation through Athena.78 Cynthia J. Both counts he found impossible to prove. We live next to beings whom we think we know. Gamble It was Odette’s unclear and ill-defined sexuality that tortured Swann during his pursuit and courtship: he suspected her of lesbian proclivities and he also suspected her of relationships with other men. In the course of Proust’s novel.65 The event that revealed to the narrator unsuspected facets of Odette was seeing Elstir’s painting of Miss Sacripant. The event that revealed to Ruskin the critical role of Botticelli was the conjunction of two unexpected things. EPILOGUE Botticelli’s Zipporah was enigmatic for Ruskin and for Proust’s Swann. bringing out the tension of the dialectical nature of the painting. superficial appearance of Odette. Elstir had succeeded in discomposing the contrived. Swann is unable to delve deeply and to interpret Zipporah as a Renaissance masterpiece. its conjunction of two civilizations. the real-life art critic. what Proust calls the ‘artificial harmony’.

A Ruskinian Enigma Approppriated by Marcel Proust


1. This is an extended version of a lecture given to the Ruskin Programme, University of Lancaster on 12 February 1998. I am grateful to Professor Robert Hewison for the initial invitation and to all members of the Ruskin Programme who contributed to the stimulating and challenging discussion that followed the seminar. 2. Joan Evans and John Howard Whitehouse (eds), The Diaries of John Ruskin, 1835–1889 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1956), p. 175. 3. Ibid., p. 173. 4. The Ruskin Foundation, (The Ruskin Library, University of Lancaster) [hereafter RF ], 880. 5. The Biblical quotations throughout are from the authorised King James version of The Holy Bible. 6. For a discussion of the role of the well, see A. Abécassis, La Pensée Juive, vol. 1. Du Désert au Désir (Paris: Librairie Générale Française, 1987), pp. 78–82. 7. It is interesting to note that his shoes appear more comtemporaneous with the time of Botticelli than with that of Moses. 8. For a discussion of Ruskin’s copying of sheep, see Cynthia Gamble, ‘Ruskin’s sheep’, in The Ruskin Programme Bulletin, no. 16 (University of Lancaster, April 1998), pp. 13–15. 9. I am grateful to The Ruskin Foundation for permission to consult the manuscripts in The Ruskin Library, and to compare the manuscript with the Diaries edited by Evans and Whitehouse. The only obvious small change in the diary quoted above is the fact that Ruskin does not underline Zipporah, italicized in Evans and Whitehouse. 10. E. T. Cook and A. Wedderburn (eds), The Complete Works of John Ruskin, in 39 vols (London: George Allen, 1903–12). This edition will, henceforth, be referred to as cw, followed by the volume number and the page(s); ibid., XXXVII, p. 112. 11. CW, XXII, p. 427. 12. Ibid., XXIII, pp. 265–79. 13. Ibid., pp. 269–70. 14. Ibid., p. 479. 15. Ibid., p. 275. 16. Reproduced, in reverse, in CW, XX, p. 242, pl. IV. The woodcut was produced by Burgess, who no doubt cut it from a drawing Ruskin made, hence Ruskin’s reference to ‘my woodcut of the Attic Pallas’ (ibid., XXIII, p. 479). The Neck Amphora, reference GR 1837.6–9.28 (E268), is in the Canino Collection, in Room 11, at the British Museum. It is about 2 feet high, and has been dated as c. 480 BC. It is from Nola in Southern Italy. 17. Ibid., pp. 478–9. 18. Ibid., p. 479. 19. Ibid. 20. Jeanne Clegg and Paul Tucker, Ruskin and Tuscany (Sheffield: Ruskin Gallery, Collection of The Guild of St George in association with Lund Humphries, 1993), p. 112. 21. CW, XXIII, p. 479.


Cynthia J. Gamble

22. Cynthia Gamble, ‘Proust–Ruskin perspective on La Vierge Dorée at Amiens Cathedral’, Word & Image, IX/3 (1993), pp. 270–86. 23. CW, XXVII, p. 347; Fors Clavigera, letter 20, August 1872. 24. CW, XXVII, p. 347. 25. For example, Frederick Hartt, History of Italian Renaissance Art, 4th edn (London: Thames & Hudson, 1994 [1970]), p. 407. 26. CW, XXVII, p. 347. 27. Ibid. 28. Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, vol. I. Swann’s Way, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D. J. Enright (London: Chatto & Windus, 1992), p. 460. 29. Ibid., 1, pp. 459–60. 30. Ibid., p. 267. 31. Julia Kristeva, Le Temps sensible, Proust et l’expérience littéraire (Paris: Gallimard, 1994), p. 42. 32. Moncrieff and Kilmartin, In Search of Lost Time, 1, p. 267. 33. Ibid., p. 267. 34. Ibid., p. 270. 35. Correspondance de Marcel Proust, 21 vols, vol. 5, ed. Philip Kolb (Paris: Plon, 1970–93, vol. 5 1979), p. 42; IV, p. 326, n.3: VI, pp. 75–6. 36. Moncrieff and Kilmartin, In Search of Lost Time, 1, p. 270. 37. Ibid. 38. Ibid. 39. Manuscripts quoted in Clegg and Tucker, Ruskin and Tuscany, p. 94. 40. Ibid. 41. Moncrieff and Kilmartin, In Search of Lost Time, 1, pp. 268–9. 42. Ibid., p. 269. 43. Richard Bales, Proust: A la Recherche du Temps perdu. Critical Guides to French Texts (London: Grant & Cutler, 1995), p. 57. 44. Moncrieff and Kilmartin, In Search of Lost Time, 1, p. 269. 45. Ibid., p. 288. 46. Ibid., p. 280. 47. Juliette Hassine, Esotérisme et Ecriture dans l’æuvre de Proust (Paris: Minard, 1990), pp. 143–55. 48. Moncrieff and Kilmartin, In Search of Lost Time, 1, p. 284. 49. Ibid., p. 286. 50. Ibid., p. 269. 51. Ibid., pp. 269–70. 52. Ibid., p. 289. 53. Ibid., p. 270. 54. Ibid., p. 287. 55. Marcel Proust, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu [edition publiée sous la direction de Jean-Yves Tadié, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade] (Paris: Gallimard, 1989), p. 470. 56. George Stambolian, Marcel Proust and the Creative Encounter (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), p. 128. 57. Moncrieff and Kilmartin, In Search of Lost Time, II, p. 494.

A Ruskinian Enigma Approppriated by Marcel Proust


58. Ibid. 59. Ibid., p. 495. 60. Ibid. 61. Ibid., p. 508. 62. Ibid., p. 509. 63. Jean-Yves Tadié, Marcel Proust (Paris: NRF Gallimard, 1996), p. 496, n.2. 64. Moncrieff and Kilmartin, In Search of Lost Time, II, p. 509. 65. Quoted by Stambolian, Marcel Proust, p. 245. The text of the interview is in Philip Kolb and Larkin B. Price (eds), Marcel Proust: Textes Retrouvés (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1968), p. 222.


Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics

o detail is single in Proust’s A la Recherche du temps perdu, that “stately cycle of repetition,” as Henry Sussman termed the novel. Large motifs and minute details recur, in patterns that establish a duologue of particular and general, layering thematic constructs and interweaving such rhetorics of stratification as those of law, science, ethnicity (Sussman 213–3). The particular is freighted with thematics and, since Proust’s protagonist is also an apprentice learning his art, the largest aesthetic themes inform the least detail. As Sussman suggests, aspects of an orchid or a brothel, for instance, fit into the intertwined narratives of heterosexual and homosexual romances. These in turn interrelate to “comprise entire counter-systems of thought and structuration operational throughout the text,” and produce, among other things, parables of reproduction and autofecundity, or models of writing (222). To read the Recherche as counter-systems of thought in this way is particularly useful when considering one pattern of details that has rarely been noted in the Recherche: Proust’s many references to Japanese arts. Jean Rousset has shown how the allusions to the Mille et une nuits, those childhood tales fantastically free of the time-space constraints of canonical French fiction, provide Marcel with a literary model, first encountered on the dinner plates at Combray and only much later understood as a prose alternative to


From Modern Language Studies 29, no. 1 (Spring 1999). © 1999 by Northeast Modern Language Association.



Jan Hokenson

realist fiction. However, to assume that every reference to “orient” indicates “Proche-Orient” is to miss the parallel pattern of allusions to the “ExtrêmeOrient” of Japanese visual arts. Proust’s larger, overarching structure combines both sets of Oriental arts, the Arab tales and the Japanese arts, into a counter-system of non-European aesthetics active throughout the text. The Japanese allusions in particular function contrastively to highlight the impasse in canonical Western aesthetics (thus replicating the Impressionists’ experience in discovering ukiyo-é, the Japanese prints) and to reveal to Marcel new possibilities for writing. Klaus Berger describes a moment of stylistic crisis in Western painting at the end of the illusionist or mimetic tradition (with Renoir, for example, admitting, “I had come to the end of Impressionism .... I was in a blind alley,” 2). Like Gabriel Weisberg and Siegfried Wichmann, Berger depicts japonisme as a sudden visual influx of completely new and original form, prompting “the recognition, admiration, adoption, and reinterpretation of an Eastern way of seeing” (3). When the first woodblock prints arrived in Paris in about 1862 they set off a wave of enthusiasm for Japanese art that crested decades later, moving out from the ateliers to sweep across Europe like a craze in the fin-de-siècle. Impressionism, the poster movement, art nouveau, were currents in the widening stream of japonisme.1 The first prints were dazzling: the strange discordant compositions, the brilliant reds and yellows, the simple stylized figures, the odd cropping and silhouetting, the indifference to frame, the decentered perspective, the bold overlays and transparences. Edmond de Goncourt was the first to realize that the phenomenon known as japonisme was far more than a fashion. Contemporaries described it as the discovery of a new aesthetic continent, and Goncourt pronounced it a revolution in European aesthetics. Today art historians echo Klaus Berger’s judgment that japonisme was a shift of Copernican proportions, marking the end of European illusionism and the beginning of the modern.2 Like the painters, whom they often defended in art reviews and criticism, writers also exulted at the “new” Japanese art. Huysmans extols things Japanese in A Rebours. Zola praises the woodblock as “naturaliste” in “Le Naturalisme au Salon,” and incorporates Japanese prints into Au Bonheur des dames and L’Oeuvre. The Goncourts’ painter-protagonist in Manette Salomon tries and fails to equal the art of the prints, and Les Frères Zemganno among other texts contains pointed reference to Japanese artworks.3 But Proust overshadows all such precedents in his magisterially reflexive use of the Japanese aesthetic. Through the three thousand pages of the Recherche, the monumental dimensions of Proust’s novel are so vast and complex that they often seem to

des personnages consistants et reconnais sables. genre—remains to be worked out. de ma tasse de thé. (I. deviennent des fleurs. and writers. wondering whether the past would ever reach the clear surface of his consciousness.. As figure for the man’s art. preface in metaphor for a French childhood resurrected from time and given living reality in art. s’étirent. The Japanese porcelain bowl is homologue to the modernist’s cup of linden tea. from a single cup of tea. imagistic. until at the final Matinée he discovers unconscious memory. As becomes clear in the course of the novel. then metaphor. Proust weaves the vast tapestry of the Recherche with such japoniste allusions. in the equally fluid elements of consciousness and language. Readers have usually levelled the orientalisms together as historical markers of the era 1880–1915. se contournent.47–48) The narrator had been struggling in vain to pinpoint his memories. beneath the brilliant details of French social comedy. à peine y sont-ils plongés. l’église et tout Combray et ses environs. learning the lessons of the traditional and the new French painters. But it is here. des maisons. It is not surprising that Proust invokes Japanese arts at perhaps the single most crucial moment in the novel. tout cela qui prend forme et solidité. Marcel despairs of ever finding a subject for a unique literary creation of his own. at the gateway to the “recherche. to show that Proust accurately chronicles the popular fancies of his age. By that point most readers have forgotten that in “Combray” the entire verbal edifice emerged. Thereafter the whole relationship—memory. aside from the initiatory invocation of the Japanese aesthetic. de même maintenant .” in the first full operation of involuntary memory. at once imaginative. composers. is the sudden transformation of banal matter (paper bits) magically metamorphosed into a new order of reality.4 With both Odette and Albertine slinking in .Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics 85 conceal. what matters most in this scene. then a method for rendering this text as his book of human subjectivity in Time. Marcel’s purpose of aesthetic innovation. de petits morceaux de papier jusque-là indistincts qui. ville et jardins. that Proust constructs a japoniste metaphor for the bringing to consciousness. est sorti. and that the only analogy for the process—and the implied aesthetic—was Japanese: comme dans ce jeu où les Japonais s’amusent à tremper dans un bol de porcelaine rempli d’eau. in metaphor.. and in fluid motion. this is a Japanese child’s game. During the fictional years of apprenticeship. se colorent. se différencient. metaphor.

And indeed it would have been difficult for Proust not to have encountered Japanese art. trite and faintly racist. in the Belle-Epoque craze and casting his engagement into a proto-japoniste quatrain. La Revue Blanche. His good friend Marie Nordlinger. worked on Japanese cloisonné and enamels in Bing’s atelier (Cahier Marcel Proust 191n). meaning esthetes” (I.” even Monsieur de Norpois ranting about Bergotte’s “chinoiseries de forme.149). divin Chrysanthème” (Cahier Marcel Proust 120).5 in the concerns of Le Mensuel. of Proust. makes occasional use of similes which depend for their effect upon an acquaintance with Japanese art” (106). Japanese artistic interests were so strong among these groups circulating around Montesquiou. and Vuillard made a drawing. William Leonard Schwartz included the Recherche in his survey of Far-Eastern similes by French writers. as more than passive spectator. He too saw Proust as primarily a social chronicler and complimented his historical accuracy (in 1879 Odette’s apartment teems with Oriental bric-à-brac. the Englishwoman who helped him translate Ruskin. and other reviews he wrote for.” one can easily dismiss it all as yet another modernist’s Orientalism. friends he used as models for his own characters. Madame Verdurin crowing about her “salade à la japonaise. Painter reports.’ he said. and by the end of the Dreyfus affair she has only French eighteenth-century décor). As a young man Proust was surrounded by things Japanese.25). It was she who . “‘They’re a lot of Japs. composers. including the more somber “Ton esprit. It was pervasive in a variety of forms in the salons he visited. Previously. like Goncourt and Huysmans. But Schwartz added that “Proust. The Imaginative Interpretation of the Far East in Modern French Literature: 1800–1925 (1927). learned to discern basic principles of the aesthetic. quoting two examples without further comment. She often sent Proust Japanese gifts from the gallery when he was feeling particularly ill. however. and Delafosse at dinner in the Bois in 1903. that the Comte de Gruffulhe’s patriotism (and probably homophobia) was outraged. in 1887 she mixes Japanese lanterns and silks with Chinese procelains and French eighteenth-century furniture. now lost. and he was fascinated by them. from the evidence of his novel. in the 1920’s when japonisme was still prevalent in Paris arts and literature.6 in the lives and the work of painters. and. Montesquiou.86 Jan Hokenson kimonos. Proust personally went to at least one japoniste painter’s studio. Vuillard’s atelier in Cabourg (the original of Elstir’s “laboratoire”).7 Young Proust in 1890 sent japoniste comic verses to his friends.8 Proust was devastated when Nordlinger left France for America in 1905 to arrange exhibits of Japanese prints for Bing (Painter II. which is a noteworthy bit of japonaiserie only because it shows Proust engaging.

these miraculous and hidden flowers’ touched him profoundly.’ he wrote. “Proust was suffering from asthma. l’étendue et la majesté d’une vaste campagne ou de la rive de quelque grand fleuve.10 Among the leading Impressionists who were fervent japonistes. les jours de soleil. amid the desolation of the season he dared not see. in . Moreau. The art of bonsai. he alludes to the bonsai as emblems of the immensity that can be held within a single line of poetry. Proust concisely and accurately identifies their chief aesthetic property when he replies to Nordlinger. the provenance of the ceramic container? What matters to him is the conjunction of nature and art. dans le monde des proportions. set in art to invite the imagination to recreate the centuries-old cypress in the mind. shaped to resemble the giant cypress. The small tree.Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics 87 gave him the cut-paper pellets to immerse in water. à ces sophoras roses que l’art du jardinier japonais fait tenir.9 Why does Proust even mention Hizen (the Kyushu region famous for Japanese procelain). He was so impressed with the bonsai that in 1907 he ordered three more from Bing’s when struggling to write a review of Anna de Noailles’s Les Éblouissements. induces in Proust in 1907 a “rêverie” which he will continue to develop in his contrastive aesthetics in the Recherche. Mais l’imagination qui les contemple en même temps que les yeux. Proust singled out Whistler. ‘my dark electric room has had its Far-Eastern spring’” (qtd Painter II. de natte. is set or based in the finest example of Japanese porcelain artistry.” being an iconic representation of the other. And even as nature the bonsai is less than “real. ‘Thanks to you. c’est-à-dire des arbres immenses.3). Mais bien souvent les moindres vers des Éblouissements me firent penser à ces cyprès géants. les voit. and this ‘fluvatile and inoffensive spring.15). Et leur ombre grande comme la main donne à l’étroit carré de terre. ses songes plus que centenaires. As art the bonsai is greater than nature because free of time (in “ses songes plus que centenaires”). In that review and later in his novel (III. In the review he wrote: Je ne sais si vous me comprendrez et si le poète sera indulgeant à ma rêverie. with a memory of seasons buried in childhood. and especially Monet. In the 1890s. particularly its dual essence as art-nature. ou de cailloux où elle promène lentement. hauts de quelques centimètres. ce qu’ils sont en réalité. dans un godet de porcelaine de Hizen. “the Japanese dwarf trees at Bing’s are trees for the imagination” (qtd Painter I.130). greater reality of the giant tree.

Racine. and is more connected to other arts.11 In the Recherche Proust uses Monet’s work as model for Elstir’s studies of cathedrals and Normandy cliffs and for his own descriptions of water-lilies on the Vivonne. to use Emile Benveniste’s terms. is not as overt as the structured allusions to Saint-Simon. Marcel’s japoniste initiation into a new aesthetic. that is. It is rather an affiliation with an entire aesthetic. which evokes presence by a shadow and the whole by a part . the prints and paintings in particular. and I like the suggestive quality of their aesthetic. indicates the aesthetic perspective that Proust shared and developed in the novel: “If you insist on forcing me into an affiliation with anyone else for the good of the cause.. and as late as 1907. and the subtlety and complexity of his allusions reflect Marcel’s progress as the proto-artist. For it is less exclusively literary. during Monet’s period of water-lily paintings (and in the same year as the visit to Vuillard’s studio). and it is rendered as such in the novel. the rendering of fugitive impressions. Proust was quite ill but he made an effort to attend the Monet exhibit at the Durand-Ruel gallery. made to La Revue Blanche’s art critic Roger Marx about the water-lily studies. and the rest of Marcels’ pantheon of French writers. Proust embraces particularly the evocative power of suggestion. The vague and indeterminate are expressive resources that have a raison d’être and qualities of their own. Proust’s japonisme proceeds not from specific artworks or even art forms. through them. thus less intimately webbed with Marcel’s specifically literary ambitions. Like Monet’s. as an inter-arts phenomenon. the crucial blanks or incompleteness— indeterminacies opening imaginative possibilties (for narrator and reader). beginning with Giotto and the gothic cathedrals and proceding through the centuries to Anatole France and the Impressionists. in discourse and in story. their exquisite taste has always delighted me. the sensation is prolonged. the deft japonisme in the narrator’s own discourse is reflexive of the text’s large .. Proust is astute at mining the comparative possibilities of Japanese arts. Marcel is something of a pilgrim through his European heritage. and the sensory appeal in swift delicate strokes of line and color. probably mirroring Proust’s own experience. One of Monet’s rare explanatory comments on his work. Proust still hoped to visit Monet and his garden at Giverny. working like a counter-system to clarify the limitations of Marcel’s inherited Occidental aesthetics. and they form the symbol of continuity” (qtd Berger 312). Proust positions the Recherche as the acme of European arts and Marcel as the literary innovator.88 Jan Hokenson Monet’s period of serial paintings. Proust’s japonisme operates at two levels in the Recherche. then compare me with the old Japanese masters. an aesthetic. in cumulative allusions and reflexive import. As in the scene of the madeleine. The Japanese aesthetic appears intermittently..

costumes. A similar set of satiric allusions proceeds from the Verdurins’ salon. and its relation to light. in the origins and in the apotheosis of the text. paintings. language. and form a counterdiscourse to the narrator’s own aesthetic judgment and practice. At the level of story. the comic targets are indexes of value. always attracted to corrupt women and decadent men. “ce qui me décida fut une dernière découverte philologique” (II. As lover. again. The whole scene burlesques Loti’s colonialist erotics. Proust satirizes the socialites’ frivolous abuses of japonisme. superior to its degradations. on a par with the Japanese porcelains jostling among the . including her silk cushions and her “grande lanterne japonaise suspendue à une cordelette de soie (mais qui. and Marcel is titillated despite himself: “Mais devant ‘mousmé’ ces raisons tombèrent .357). He is both aghast and excited by her corrupt speech.Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics 89 goals as artwork in its own right.. can be sorted into three types. Like a code within a code. the most recurrent travesty concerns the running joke about “la salade japonaise. remaining. elle a l’air d’une petite mousmé”). as he always derides the mere social uses of art. s’éclairait au gaz. First. when the characters comically repeat the worst abuses of the Japanese aesthetic. me répondit Albertine. Swann particpates in this travesty of the Japanese object. pour ne pas priver les visiteurs des derniers conforts de la civilisation occidentale. gardens. including the worst gibberish from Pierre Loti’s Madame Chrysanthème (“Oui. is invoked at the decisive origin of the affair. he thinks.” I. as the narrator suggests by casting into japoniste allusion his refrain that comfort and art are incompatible.” which begins as a silly in-joke.. It is another aesthetic hash. the dozens of allusions to Japanese woodcut prints. To Marcel the proto-japoniste writer. and occurs chiefly in Combray and Le Temps retrouvé. the characters’ coy way of letting others know they have been to see Dumas fils’ play Francillon. he ultimately lets himself be inveigled by her Orientalisms. the linguistic hybrid mousmé is like ice in the mouth (“nul [mot] n’est plus horripilant”). toys and games. Marcel is more self-aware than Swann. as in the Verdurins’ mawkish jokes about “la salade japonaise.220).12 But soon we learn that the Verdurin salad contains western potatoes. Also. Aside from predictably garbled judgments on such japonistes as Whistler. Marcel replicates Swann in dithering over the beloved’s inane enactments of the worst abuses of the Japanese aesthetic which. Marcel has scruples but. ” The affair begins on a distinct note of japoniaiserie.” the narrator mocks mercilessly. and he does not participate in Orientalist fakery so much as manipulate it. Swann is appalled at Odette’s craze for chrysanthemums but. chiefly in the boudoirs and the salons. on his first visit to her apartments.

712). Monet.” in Berger’s phrase. lying in bed and musing on the images of the sea reflected in the glass on the bookcases. this tiresome salad13 had become so hyperbolically Japanese that even the Verdurins’ potatoes are (in Proust’s satire of Edmond de Goncourt’s dilettantish japonisme) “des pommes de terre ayant la fermeté de boutons d’ivoire japonais” (III. Such comic japonisme is clever. By the time of the Goncourt pastiche. The second type of japoniste allusion at the level of story occurs among the artistocrats. But he miscontrues the relationship between the world reflected and the reflections that shift with the light like changing exhibits of paintings: . In the culinary as in the erotic realms (always subtended by literary targets. mindlessly making counter-systems inter changeable. chiefly Whistler. appears in the subtext of Marcel’s artistic aprenticeship. At her soirée in Le Côté des Guermantes Madame de Villeparisis is painting a japoniste view. which Marcel studies in their library. just before his first visit to Elstir’s studio. Almost everyone but Marcel’s mother. paints a fan for the Duchesse. in a rare creative endeavor that associates him with the artistic sensibility if not with true painting. Manet. Moreau. the petit clan degrade both. his grandmother. Marcel considers the natural beauty of the sunset over the sea and ponders various artistic analogues. which no one can identify until the Duchesse de Guermantes points out that it resembles the apple blossoms on a Japanese screen. Unschooled in the integrity of French traditions and following Orientalist fashions. that Marcel is only slowly acquiring. and consistently aimed at stupidity or ignorance. notably a japoniste scene of black and yellow irises. such witless abuses of japonisme produce contemptible hybrids and deformations. for instance. he makes a (retrospectively) significant association with the prints but foolishly does not pursue it. The Guermantes characters are just as prey to fashion. although they are associated with its creative aspects that will engage Marcel. The third set of allusions. In his room at Balbec. Degas. and of course Elstir. They enable amusing satire while contrasting with others’ more serious uses of things Japanese. forms of the idolatry of art which entices Swann and which Marcel learns to disavow. Later even Charlus. These concern the japonisme of the finest painters of the period. The Duc and Duchesse de Guermantes collect paintings from Elstir’s japoniste period. They have attained the Japanese “way of seeing. On one occasion. In such ways they exhibit more aesthetic discrimination in things Japanese than the Verdurins and the lovers. still at the level of story. and the artists Elstir and Vinteuil are guilty of japonisant folly at some point in the Recherche.90 Jan Hokenson Verdurins’ Louis XIII vases. chiefly Loti and Goncourt).

835). even noting the butterfly signature that Whistler developed to mime the Japanese hanka (or seal). In the Japanese model. but then (“dédaigneux. ennuyé et frivole d’un amateur ou d’une femme parcourant. this is the famous lesson of the Elstir seascapes. then developing a mature style. when he was unable to isolate the metaphoric land-water relations from his own reality.804–5) Wisely. Elstir’s fictional career repeats those of Whistler and other Impressionists. His momentary delight at the japoniste sunset. une galerie. but Marcel cannot apprehend the importance of what he is seeing nor of the Japanese association. mais enfin j’en ai déjà vu d’aussi délicats. He sees it clearly in Elstir’s painting of the Port of Carquethuit which . beginning in historical or mythological studies and moving into an extended period of japonisme. He discerns analogies in the seascapes with Monet and Whistler. that Marcel can assimilate Japanese analogies to his own aesthetic development. But it is only thirty pages later. Marcel regrets that none of the paintings in Elstir’s studio reflect his Japanese period. une barre d’un rose tendre que je n’avais jamais revu depuis ma première boîte de couleurs s’enflait comme un fleuve sur les deux rives duquel des bateaux semblaient attendre à sec qu’on vint les tirer pour les mettre à flot. and primitively of Art). Marcel has just seen for himself that cloud and lake lack a line of demarcation. Marcel recognizes the link between the Japanese “couleurs si vives” and his childhood. Et avec le regard dédaigneux. d’aussi étonnants que celui-ci.Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics 91 Une fois c’était une exposition d’estampes japonaises: à côté de la mince découpure du soleil rouge et rond comme la lune. on the “vitrines de la bibilothèque.” in interreflections of literature and painting that he alone can make real. c’est différent. that water and sky lack a line of demarcation like the two interchangeable halves of literary metaphor. anticipated this aesthetic discovery in the studio. after his visit to Elstir’s studio. “celle où il avait subi l’influence du Japon. entre deux visites mondaines. ennuyé et frivole”) he dismisses the thought. The structure of this visual perception in his hotel room continues to structure Marcel’s nascent japonisme: vaguely associated with the purity of childhood impressions and artistic beginnings (of Marcel.” (I. je me disais: “C’est curieux. in ultimately writing this book. un nuage jaune paraissait un lac contre lequel des glaives noirs se profilaient ainsi que les arbres de sa rive. it is reflected against books.” which Marcel had read about in an English art review and which he knows is represented in the Guermantes’ collection (II. ce coucher de soleil.

At the level of discourse. while rendering the literal impressions Marcel is receiving as those of a generic “goût japonais. Initially the narrator carries the burden of both Orientalisms. d’apparence cloisonné et d’un goût japonais” (I.169). These scenes and sites so impress the child Marcel as to constitute his “moi essentiel. and the bridge between them is again Japanese: .” and in their description Japanese references evoke (a) a nonEuropean relation to nature. But this profound aesthetic joy is inextricably associated with the single most painful loss in the novel. his mother’s goodnight kiss.” and forms are so visible in the clear water they seem midway between fluidity and fixity in permanent form.” in the long passages describing the water-lilies on the Vivonne. and (c) evanescence and fugitive impressions in art. Thus for instance in “Combray. form. “d’un bleu clair et cru.” begins to merge with Marcel’s own artistic reflections. He notes that in late evening the bed of the stream seems no longer green but blue. initiated in “Combray.” Crucial moments in the narrator’s discursive passages on Marcel’s aesthetic apprenticeship often contain such japoniste allusions. In “Combray. grotesque in the worst salons or dilletantish in the best.” after ending his prologue on the japoniste magic of the madeleine. but always a fashionable contrast to its concurrent role as formative apprenticeship in art. In such ways.92 Jan Hokenson “comparant la terre à la mer. In the moment when Marcel is still joyous at having experienced the spires at Martinville dancing free of time-space constraints. the narrator then moves immediately into evocations of Combray and its environs. the narrator notes the boy’s sudden pleasure at a japoniste vision of apple blossoms silhouetted against the sunset. and glint of light in the floating flower-beds. as such terms as “jardin céleste” and the japoniste allusions suggest. The narrator is practising a literary impressionism that transposes Monet’s “nénuphars” into text. it is after this point in A l’Ombre des jeunes filles en fleur that the narrator’s japoniste practice. the narrator lingers over each color.” Proust positions Japanese art as a new way of seeing. Elsewhere pinks and whites are so clear they seen “lavées comme de la porcelaine. and has just initiated his literary career with his first composition. as remembered. Proust portrays Belle Epoque japonisme as a social amusement. (b) imaginative activity in the mind. sowing the text with allusions that the child is too young to understand. which Elstir has already assimilated in painting and which Marcel intermittently experiences. the Near-Eastern and Far-Eastern. tirant sur le violet. supprimait entre elles toute démarcation.

As though to underscore the association. (II. il touche presque au noir.781).. brusquement mon coeur se mettait à battre. le dessin japonais de leurs ombres... Proust practises a literary japonisme for its imagery of indeterminate demarcations. a focal aesthetic midpoint between these two “zones” that will constitute the dual worlds of the novel. However deeply interior the truths to which they point him.. on m’enverrait me coucher sitôt ma soupe prise. Marcel learns in A l’Ombre des jeunes filles en fleur to use the familiar spears of apple blossoms in the Japanese manner. the japoniste analogues remain pictural and exterior.. and the associated sense of pain remains: “Mais elle [cette beauté] touchait jusqu’aux larmes . La zone de tristesse où je venais d’entrer était aussi distincte de la zone où je m’élançais avec joie. il n’y avait plus qu’à prendre une allée de chênes bordée d’un côté de prés appartenant chacun à un petit clos et plantés à intervalles égaux de pommiers qui y portaient. By the end of Sodome et Gomorrhe he can instantly perceive how “l’horizon lointain de la mer fournissait aux pommiers comme un arrière plan d’estampe japonaise” (II.182–3) The narrator depicts the familiar japoniste view of silhouetted blossoms at sunset as signal for the child’s greatest fear and loss. The iconography of japoniste blossoms and silhouetted light has acquired considerable force by the time of Marcel’s visit to Elstir’s studio. keeping a branch in his Paris room so that he may imagine the trees at Combray. quand ils étaient éclairées par le soleil couchant.. In exaltation at such natural beauty summoning associations with Japanese art.Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics 93 Mais quand sur le chemin de retour .. retenue à table comme s’il y avait du monde à dîner. using a well-known motif from the woodblocks by Hokusai and Hiroshige:14 “On voit un oiseau voler dans le rose. je savais qu’avant une demi-heure nous serions rentrés et que . il y avait un moment encore. integral with the natural scene. que dans certains ciels une bande rose est séparée comme par une ligne d’une bande verte ou d’une bande noire. The “dessin japonais de leurs ombres” is the hinge between artistic joy and emotional pain. il va en atteindre la fin.. ” It is first in japoniste imagery and terms of description that Marcel learns the essential reality—what he will later term the “vérité profonde”—of his successive selves. he continues to elaborate this visual “goût japonais” in the balance of the passage. de sorte que ma mère. Et de la sorte c’est du côté de Guermantes que j’ai appris à distinguer ces états qui se succèdent en moi . the aesthetic role of the “estampe japonaise” is now overt. puis il y est entré .. ne monterait pas me dire bonsoir dans mon lit.

which cultivates representations of absence rather than entrammelling realities. ce clocher lui-même.” I. s’inscrire dans le carré de ma fenêtre” (III. It is no accident .. procedes from the knowledge that it will vanish and die because it is not art. and finds it so banal that he abandons his literary ambition. on sentait qu’elle était naturelle . “imitant ces jardiniers japonais qui.” “était venu . Marcel is still unaware of the importance of this perception for his later aesthetic of metaphor as timespace telescope. si loin qu’elle allât dans ces effets d’art raffiné. In Du Côté de chez Swann Marcel is too young to envision love like a Japanese garden. Like the absent japoniste wallpaper that he only imagines.. and remembers seeing a sun-splashed image of the Combray church spire reflected that morning on the bedroom windowpane. ” The pain in this scene of resplendent springtime. by the time he visits Gilberte de Saint Loup at Swann’s old house (“un peu trop campagne”). but nature. on the eve of his retreat from Paris into a sanitorium. était venu . It is the narrator who points out in japoniste terms how badly Marcel blunders with Gilberte on the Champs Elysées (he should have been content to love her at a distance without worrying whether the image corresponds to the reality. Marcel is again musing in bed. In this scene. en sacrifient plusieurs autres. even the Japanese art that catches nature on the wing and in the instant. it is Marcel who implicitly criticizes her for not having japoniste wallpaper: “ces grandes décorations des chambres d’aujourd’hui où sur un fond d’argent. This particular allusion operates. With Proust’s extraordinary skill at literary mimicry. he turns to read the Journal of the Goncourts. He now “sees” imagined and remembered images as superior ones. the Church spire was only an image. qui. and the language for the Japanese wallpaper and the crucially telescopic Combray spire are interchangeable (“sont venus se profiler. The allusions to the woodblock prints are increasingly associated with artistic creation.. pour obtenir une plus belle fleur. s’inscrire”).. he could have used several contemporary writers for the final pastiche. to introduce an aesthetic problem and its imminent resolution..697–8). mettant ainsi sous mes yeux la distance des lieues et des années. producing Marcel’s last moment of almost unalloyed joy in nature.401). Instead of pursuing the thought. tous les pommiers de Normandie sont venus se profiler en style japonais” (III.697).94 Jan Hokenson parce que.. like the wooblock sunset reflected on the glass at Balbec. than the florid realistic European wallpaper on the walls: “Non pas une figuration de ce clocher.15 But later in Le Temps retrouvé. These are the vanishing moments that Marcel must learn to record in writing (as the narrator is doing in japoniste prose) to preserve them from time. yet more real in its suggestiveness than the actual church.

leading to Marcel’s apotheosis as an artist in his own right.16 Following Marcel’s wide readings in French literature and his disquisitions on Tolstoy and Dostoevski. the Goncourt Journal brings him to the European literary present and notably to the first instance in the Recherche of literary japonisme. when the Goncourts dither over Verdurin’s book on Whistler by praising the surface “joliesses.” Then they adore the way the Verdurin table is decorated. Proust has the Goncourts comparing the light effects of sunset on Trocadero buildings to pink pastries (III. without transition. The pastiche ends abruptly and. The Loti was only burlesqued.. The first sentence adapts a familiar motif from Hokusai. that of small dark smudges against a distant sky which. The japonisme once restricted to natural beauty now obtains in the wartime city. confronte deux moments du temps. As such a focal moment in the apprenticeship. deux esthétiques [la littérature classique et le roman proustien]. “rien qu’avec des chrystanthèmes japonais.. Moonlight now silhouettes buildings and trees—not in the precious Goncourt style of a social japonisme producing pink pastries.Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics 95 that. The narrator uses their hamfisted japonisme as an index of the Goncourts’ failure as writers to reach deeper truths about the social comedy and to discern aesthetic value. far from adding to French literature new artistic perspectives or methods. deux mondes. The first indication occurs immediately. The wartime prologue introduces the novel’s final section. The Goncourt text inverts the basic features of japonisme. and its first long (three-page) paragraph is largely a function of literary japonisme. But then these smudges become airplanes. The Japanese allusions are prominent not only in Marcel’s visual apprehensions of the capitol but also in his French and European aesthetic references articulating what he sees in artistic terms. the Goncourt pastiche is also the last bit of satirical japonaiserie and the main literary link between Marcel’s story and the narrator’s japoniste discourse. even its presentation on Chinese plates. this “pastiche le plus important . as Marcel is strolling through wartime Paris one evening during the black-out. are revealed to be birds in flight (III. if pompous and outdated japoniste.712). by contrast with Marcel’s later reflections. against the background of Marcel’s increasing sophistication in Japanese aesthetics.” and of course the Japanese salad. the narrator resumes years later. deux genres littéraires” (606). upon close examination. is merely decorative veneer and boring.734). he uses France’s leading. The Goncourts’ japonisme. The pastiche scrambles some two dozen Orientalist allusions (including a movable room in the Mille et une nuits) with neither taste nor any aesthetic discrimination. Most telling. but the Goncourt is ostensibly quoted. As Jean-Yves Tadié says. but .

737). comme on les voit souvent dans la nature au soleil couchant .. and suggestion of unstated essence.. not infernal now but paradisiacal. the woman at the window..736) Like a pendant to the narrator’s first extended japoniste prose in “Combray. ou dans certains fonds de Raphaël. starkly silhouetted houses.” Taken out of context. as is the balance of the passage equilibrating the japoniste silhouettes with those familiar from the high backgrounds in Italian Renaissance painting: .” in an authentic transposition of the Japanese aesthetic to the scenes of Paris in snow and this entire “vision d’Orient” (III.96 Jan Hokenson actually “en style japonais. The silhouetted trees again “s’élèvent à intervalles réguliers. in one mature dual vision: Les silhouettes des arbres se reflétaient nettes et pures sur cette neige d’or bleuté. as does the rest of the long description of icy fountains. the final words are often cited as an allusion to the Arab tales.. dazzling in its simplicity and grace. delicacy of method. . qu’on aurait dit que cette prairie était tissue seulement avec des pétales de poiriers en fleurs. but they are an integral part of Proust’s japonisme in which the aesthetic of the Japanese prints amplifies Marcel’s vision. The focus on “nettes et pures” is exact and aesthetically accurate.. spare vivid contrasting colors. this is a glacial landscape approaching fixity. elles étaient allongées à terre au pied de l’arbre lui-même. purity of line and form.” but on a city prairie. non pas verte mais d’un blanc si éclatant à cause du clair de lune qui rayonnait sur la neige de jade. which includes the japonisme that trained Elstir’s vision and has now helped train his. avec la délicatesse qu’elles ont dans certaines peintures japonaises . The white pear blossoms and the “neige de jade” keep the aesthetics of the japoniste perspective clear. (III. une prairie paradisiaque.. the Japanese aesthetic is allied with the European. moreover. Marcel now commands the entirety of his aesthetic heritage. The emphasis is no longer on resplendence but on simplicity. ending on “le charme mystérieux et voilé d’une vision d’Orient.” on the fluid water-lilies of the Vivonne with their effulgent sunlight and with their Dantesque undertones.

The care and consistency with which Proust deploys it. coming to consciousness in the japoniste cup of tea. an emotional sadness in pain at impending loss (associated with the evanescence of beauty in nature) and an imaginative reconstruction of absent or concealed essence. fully prepared for the discoveries he is to make. and his first efforts at writing. In society.Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics 97 Following immediately after the Goncourt pastiche. overleaping years left in silence or in literally blank space on the page. in love. In artistic method. indeterminacy holds the lesson of metaphor. This is what japonisme can do in verbal art: reunite scattered motifs in a tight iconography of seeing and rework them in a new vision of a cityscape compounded of anterior thematics. Japanese art delicately depicts natural beauty that is completed by the mind in revery. the diverse japonisme of other characters trains his eye and challenges his aesthetic and literary judgment to develop an authentic “goût japonais. Suggestion reflects the truth of imaginative completion of absent wholes from parts. Many elements fuel Marcel’s apprenticeship. that is. imbedding the boy’s first strong visual and emotional impressions. lending the modern writer the amalgamated vision of East and West for use in his own unique creation. in paintings and in artworks. threading childhood memories through adult impressions and. In the modernist round of the novel.” The narrator’s prose japonisme in “Combray” is painterly. the . first on the artwork then on itself. this extended passage counters it like a rebuttal. there are no more Japanese allusions until the novel recommences. increasingly. In both cases. Certain iconic images. grow in intensity and complexity until Marcel learns to plumb. particularly of such focal components as the madeleine. Throughout his japonisme Proust stresses two continuous refrains. Proust’s japonisme serves subtly and recurrently to advance the apprentice’s progress preparatory to the writing of this text. and japonisme is only a minor vein running through the whole. To miss Proust’s japonisme can lead to skewed readings. signal its importance to the text’s primary artistic aims and methods. the inward turning from Japanese art which is always positioned between nature and imagination. in visual imagery often derived from the prints. Contrast offers a depiction of successive selves. later reappear in typically Proustian fashion. artistic reflections. As Marcel proceeds to the Matinée. Isolated japoniste views. as in the Recherche as a whole. such as japoniste apple blossoms and silhouetted trees. Proust’s several uses of japoniste imagery reflected on glass recapitulate in graphic terms the mental process. then. however. including seascapes and sunsets. anticipatory grief and retrospective creation. from Combray to Balbec and from natural images to refined artifice. the Vivonne. rather than dismiss their uniqueness in his visual and artistic experience.

French ambassador to Japan (1921–27) and a literary japoniste himself.98 Jan Hokenson wartime prologue.” II. Ultimately. is likened to a specimen of Chinese art. Several such puzzling references fall into place once Japan is recognized as the provenance of a new aesthetic—not only to the Impressionists but also to Marcel. which exposes to him his own limitations as a writer. but like Elstir. it is the literary figures who matter most to Marcel’s success. I think. Claudel wrote: . for instance. Because Marcel must become the only great writer. when Marcel reiterates that Elstir “avait été longtemps impressionné par l’art japonais.” and even the “petit pan de mur jaune” in the Vermeer painting. It is again Norpois who dismisses such “symboliste” writing (in terms once used by Proust) as hothouse products of Mallarmé’s chapel. being instead insistently associated with mere “chinoiserie. But the novelist Bergotte is not allowed a japoniste period. Such Japanese allusions work together to build a counter-system to the impasse Marcel has reached in his heritage as a modern Western writer.125). The global aesthetic summa that is the Recherche becomes. The artist-figures. in the course of explaining the concept of mono no aware in Japanese painting and poetry. Unlike them. He learns the “way of seeing” present in Japanese arts. Marcel enjoys a true japoniste apprenticeship.” Paul Claudel. for instance. dismissing Bergotte’s Orientalism as superficial and mocking the “horripilant” japonisme of his most celebrated predecessors in this vein. In 1912. and integrates it into his own novelistic vision and historical reflections. was the first to note that Marcel’s posture toward nature recalls religious properties of the Japanese aesthetic. Proust’s contrastive use of Japanese arts to articulate Marcel’s aesthetic originality helps explain.” Norpois refers to his “chinoiseries de forme. Julia Kristeva notes the Japanese metonymy but like most readers overlooks its artistic import. In her fine analysis of oral elements in the teacake. revealing to Bergotte the pointlessness and aridity of all art. why some readers find the Recherche “Buddhistic. in turn. Proust positions him to succeed where others fail. quite notably not japoniste. his legacy as a writer.17 Bergotte and the previous generation are relegated to an arid Orientalism. rise or fall in japoniste terms. Loti and the Goncourts. Marcel twice repeats that the painter spent years studying Japanese art (the second time occurs apropos of the Guermantes collection. and instead infers a geographical function aimed at establishing a maximum distance between the birthplace and a foreign country (Kristeva 48–9). including his own. the literary equivalent of Elstir in painting and Vinteuil in music.

. ”19 Yourcenar recognized that such observations are useful only to a point.. thus Toulouse-Lautrec “did not lapse into mere japonaiserie. Journal for 9 April 1884. however. (Il y a aussi certains pages à ce sujet dans l’oeuvre de Marcel Proust. si fragile! . 2. but the only surviving pejorative is japonaiserie. beyond perhaps general queries about the notion of an impersonal subject. and that most Buddhists would dispute such basic Proustian concepts as “la psychologie dans l’espace” or the ontic function of metaphor. to challenge outworn mimetic assumptions and to point the way for new ambitions in French literature.. par l’émiettement de toute personnalité extérieure.” or in Proustian terms “[au] moi essentiel.”20 Obviously Proust is a major figure in the shift from mimetic to affective poetics in French narrative. See Edmond de Goncourt. Although popular usage today scarcely differentiates between terms.)18 Marguerite Yourcenar called the Recherche “cette oeuvre si bouddhiste. But I doubt that he actually considered the Buddhist metaphysics underlying Japanese aesthetics. C’est ce que certains mystiques japonais appellent le sentiment du Ah! en anglais le Ah! awareness. however. Champfleury coined the noun japoniaiserie in 1872 as a pejorative term for what he considered mindless popular enthusiasm for Japanese arts and curios. par la constation du passage [du temps].. Recently. NOTES 1. art historians make the useful distinction that japonisant designates someone who collects or studies Japanese arts without creatively reworking them.” See Berger 210.. 1927) which is primarily a catalogue of . and japoniste denotes someone who applies Japanese principles and models in Western creative works. Philippe Burty coined the word in his article “Japonisme” (La Renaissance artistique et littéraire [May 1872] 25–6) to designate “a new field of study” in Japanese art and aesthetics (see Weisberg xi). the art historian Yann Le Pichon has suggested that Marcel’s rapt attention to the natural object (such as the hawthorns) might be the result of Zen teachings in “la disponsibilité intrinsèque du peintre pour s’adonner à l’éveil parfait. par la notion du néant et du désir . Berger 1–2. 3.21 At the least.Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics 99 [La nature] tremble à tous moments sur la limite de l’ineffable! Il s’agit de la surprendre à l’instant voulu. The only extensive survey of such Japanese allusions by French writers is William Leonard Schwartz’s The Imaginative Interpretation of the Far East in French Literature: 1800–1925 (Paris: Champion. Thus the gallery-owner Durand-Ruel was a japonisant but Monet was a japoniste. it is certain that in A la Recherche du temps perdu Proust uses the formal properties of the Japanese aesthetic contrastively.

2 [June 1981]: 141–66). Robert de Montesquiou. 57. Aesthete and Anarchist in Fin-de-Siècle Paris. It was Félix Fénéon. 1995). the Goncourts. 4. 216–24.” says Painter. In 1981 Elwood Hartman amplified Schluartz’s Japanese section in his article “Japonisme and Nineteenth-Century French Literature” (Comparative Literature Studies 18.” and who directed many of the japonisant interests of the review. one of the originals for Elstir. She and her famed lovers. who coined the phrase “Bonnard japonard. while this article was in press. 6.4). 1988: 232–4. Degas then Mallarmé. New Haven: Yale UP. Tadié 308). After the present article was completed. see Joan Ungersma Halperin. 1958).218. and Sarah Bernhardt. 5. More recently. long-time editor of La Revue Blanche. another japonisant—and who was the author of the wildly popular Madame Chrystanthème) and that he regularly talked with the japoniste painters Bonnard and Vuillard (Painter I. Samuel Bing was the leading importer of Japanese art from about 1874 to . Montesquiou is remembered less for such japonisant poems as “Thérapeutique” than for other writings and his role as literary model to Huysmans and Proust.” and Proust was not the only one who went to the villa to meet the leading practitioners of japonisme (Painter I. for example. In 1997. Chinese—and consequent absence of an “emploi exclusif du motif japonais” (37). among other japonisant pieces. Persian. For instance. possessed a wealth of fine Japanese artworks plus five major books of Japanese art history by the 1920’s. see note 19 below. had been a noted collector of Japanese art since first encountering it at the Exposition of 1878. “to Japanese art. Félix Fénéon. schooling his taste with the advice of Heredia. which Proust often visited. had become “converted. (See Montesquiou 118. 195). 123. Earl Miner surveyed British writers’ usage in The Japanese Tradition in British and American Literature (Princeton: Princeton UP. Yann le Pichon published a short meditation “L’Influence du japonisme dans l’oeuvre de Proust” (Revue des Deux Mondes [October 1996]: 125–39). 7. Montesquiou created a notoriously effete “oriental” sanctum in his apartments on the Quai d’Orsay.54. 1997) showing in fine detail the japonisant milieu of Paris in the Belle Epoque (Fortuny gowns. outlining a notion of Proust’s inspiration by Zen. 181–4. during the period when Proust was a member of the rédaction of Le Mensuel (November 1890 to September 1891) the review published. an article in July of 1891 by Proust’s friend Raymond Koechlin about Edmond de Goncourt’s new book Outamaro (Tadié 144 n. Gallé glass) as social background to the novel.100 Jan Hokenson similes and includes mention of Huysmans and the Goncourts’ Les Frères Zemganno. Schwartz 92–3). Fraisse does not pursue Proust’s use of the Japanese aesthetic as a whole. Michel Butor sketched a few French writers’ ideas of Japan in Le Japon depuis la France (Paris: Hachette. primarily because of what he considers Proust’s habitual mixture of Orients—Japanese. 8. Luc Fraisse published his monograph Proust et le japonisme (Strasbourg: Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg. and employed the gardener Hata to build a Japanese garden at his later residence in the Rue Franklin. that Proust surreptitiously kept a pair of gloves the painter had left behind after their meeting at Méry Laurent’s villa. it was at Hélène Bibesco’s salon that he met Pierre Loti (whom young Proust had proclaimed his favorite novelist—along with Anatole France. as he recounts in his memoirs Les Pas effacés. So reverent was his admiration for the great japoniste Whistler. and then another at Versailles. For example.

1986. and Marcel is alternately desperate to read them and fearful of discovering proof of her infidelities.. not to mention the hundreds of Japanese prints that still hang in the painter’s house. is a common structure in Proust’s passages on artworks. the bridge.” and receives the comic reply. New York: Abrams. At Giverny Proust would have seen the Japanese bridge over the waterlilies. Tadié 598. the alighting bird. Essais et articles. see the still useful study by Maurice Chernowitz. 15. including “une garde de sabre pour [Robert de] Billy” (Tadié 424). ed. on such motifs. The Japanese motif of the bird flying from shadow into light or vice versa was used by several French painters and by such writers as the Goncourts in Manette Salomon and Paul Claudel in L’Oiseau noir dans le soleil levant. The narrator replicates this japoniste lesson in La Prisonnière.” based on metaphor used as “impressionnisme littéraire. Catalogue for the travelling Smithsonian Exhibition. tout est japonais.. and most often exhibited. the silhouetted blossoms. 14. pp. at a dinner party one character asks why the salad is called “la salade japonaise.” in Philippe Delaveau. “Mais (et peut-être j’ai eu tort) jamais je n’ai touché au kimono . de l’impressionnisme littéraire” (my emphasis. it was he who founded the influential review Le Japon artistique (1888–91). 9. II. ce kimono qui . see Painter I.Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics 101 1914. In this play from 1887. as well as owner of one of the finest. the snow-dusted branch. the cresting wave. 10. and Marine Blanche’s Poetique des tableaux chez Proust et chez Matisse (Birmingham. the interior pocket contains her letters. le chef-d’oeuvre peut-être. 1996). 1994. “La mise en abyme chez Proust. the text quoted here is from Proust. Monet began the water-lily studies around the turn of the century. see Wichmann 74–153. After Marcel watches Albertine sleeping. 11. “fugace” but prolonged in the text.” quoting the review: “c’est la métaphore qui ‘recompose et nous rend le mensonge de notre première impression.229–41:237.94. with love letters and a kimono.’ la comparaison qui ‘substitue à la constation de ce qui est. Other common motifs include the eddying waters. Paris: Gallimard. Pierre Clarac and Yves Sandre. On Proust’s relations to the painters. See Gabriel Weisberg. private collections of classical and modern Japanese art in Paris. exhibited some of them periodically in Paris then many of them in Paris in 1909. la résurrection de ce que nous avons senti (la seule réalité intéressante)’” (Tadié 581–2). Jean-Yves Tadié suggests that this review of Eblouissments “contient une esthétique. There is no record of whether Proust ever carried out this intention. Proust’s review “Les Éblouissements par la comtesse de Noailles” was first published in Le Figaro (15 June 1907). Scene 2) 13. of the Verdurins’ Japanese salad within a pastiche of a famous japoniste describing the Verdurin’s Japanese salad. and completed them in 1922. 1945). Proust and Painting (NY: International University Press. 12. Proust apparently bought Japanese artworks from Bing’s as gifts. Proust notes that one poem so well renders sensation.. This mise en abîme.207.. Without referring to the bonsai metaphor. Art Nouveau Bing: Paris Style 1900. 239). he stares at her kimono draped over a chair. See Peter Collier. the slanting rain. that it seems to him “une des plus étonnantes réussites. “Pour ce qu’elle ait un nom. Ecrire la peinture (Paris: Editions Universitaires. 1991) 125–40. ed. AL: Summa. and reprinted in Nouveaux Mélanges in 1954. maintenant” (Act I.

around the two women and two sets of letters. Le Pichon perhaps overstates the case for Zen in Proust. following Jules’s death. 21. some references in Jean Santeuil. 1965): 524.” in Maria Jose Vazquez de Parga. Comparative Poetics: An Intercultural Essay on Theories of Literature (Princeton: Princeton UP.. L’Universalité dans l’oeuvre de Marguerite Yourcenar. Outamaro. but clearly the Japanese concept of the artist as translator of affect into signs of the natural world merits consideration in studies of Proust’s aesthetic ideas. Essais et articles 86–91. Pléiade (Paris: Gallimard. Proust’s japonisme is a “sujet quasi inédit et pourtant évident” (125). 18. II [1995]. see Earl Miner. 1990) WORKS CITED Berger. Klaus. Jules and Edmond de Goncourt were prominent collectors of Japanese art and defenders (inventors. 1992. versus Western mimetic traditions. 2 vols. Harvard University. See Hubert Juin. “Préface” to Edmond de Goncourt. 1986) 5–16. cites some additional letters referring to Japanese art.102 Jan Hokenson peut-être m’eût dit bien des choses” (III. Jacques Petit and Charles Galpérine. Edmond de Goncourt published Outamaro. Proust inveighs against the willed obscurities of the Symbolists. Munich: PrestelVerlag. le peintre des maisons vertes (1891) and Hokousaï (1896). Tours: Société Internationale des Etudes Yourcenariennes. ed. they disliked modern japoniste painting and were soon sidelined as interpreters of the Japanese aesthetic by Louis Gonse. in Elyane Dezon-Jones. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. See Berger. 17. The contrasting Japanese associations. as described in their autobiographical La Maison d’un artiste. “De l’universalité des influences: un écrivain peut en cacher un autre. Letter of Marguerite Yourcenar to Jean Mouton (7 April 1968). coll. measure the distance from childish hopes to cynicism. 19.2 (Spring 1991): 59–71. Japonisme in Western Painting From Whistler to Matisse. Hokusaï (Paris: Union Générale d’Editions.” Mosaic 24. Henri Focillon and others less committed to the Goncourt’s focus on the miniature and the exotic. 16. In “Contre l’obscurité. Although they were early pioneers in the japonisant movement along with Félix Braquemond and Philippe Burty. .” originally published in La Revue Blanche (15 July 1896). rpt in Proust. Samuel Bing.73–4). 1994 and 1995. “Reconsidering Japonisme: The Goncourts’ Contribution. also Deborah Johnson. Paul Claudel. eds. Wichmann. Yann Le Pichon’s brief essay on “L’Influence du japonisme dans l’oeuvre de Proust” (Revue des Deux Mondes [October 1996]: 125–39). For a discussion of Japanese “affective-expressive” poetics. qtd. 23–33: 32 20. Oeuvres en Prose. they once claimed) of japonisme. Yourcenar Archive. Trans. Japonismus in der westlichen Malerei: 1860–1920. appearing after the NEMLA session on Proust and the completion of this article. but focuses on the japonisme of the Impressionists as Proust’s models and on the Zen-like “émotions esthétiques” of Marcel in nature. David Britt. mentions Odette’s furnishings. 1980. As Le Pichon says.

1982. 1982.” Revue des Deux Mondes (October 1996): 125–39. Paris: Chêne: 1982. Michel. Japonisme: Japanese Influence on French Art 1845–1910. Trans. 3 vols. Paris: Jose Corti. Henry. A la Recherche du temps perdu. Paris: Gallimard. Paris: Emile-Paul. Yann. Marcel. Kierkegaard. Le Pichon. 1984. 1923. Stephen Bann. 1995. and James. Kristeva. Martins Janeira. Wichmann. The Imaginative Interpretation of the Far East in Modern French Literature: 1800–1925. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. Sussman. Robert de. 3 vols. Pierre Clarac and André Ferré. Le Japon depuis la France. Olivier Séchan. Siegfried. 1975. A Comparative Study. Marcel Proust: A Biography. Tadié. Proust. Painter. “L’Influence du japonisme dans l’oeuvre de Proust. Gabriel et al. Catalogue for the Exhibition. Paris: Hatier. Eds. Forme et signification. Schwartz. Proust. . Tokyo: Tuttle. Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier. NY: Random House. Julia.Proust’s japonisme: Contrastive Aesthetics 103 Butor. Japonisme. 1996. Cleveland. Paris: Gallimard/NRF. Jean. Japanese and Western Literature. Proust and the Sense of Time. Montesquiou. Cahier Marcel Proust 10: Poèmes. 1927. 1975. ed. 1993. 2 vols. Paris: Champion. Armando. Jean-Yves. 1959. Marcel Proust. George D. William Leonard. New York: Columbia UP. The Hegelian Aftermath: Readings in Hegel. Weisberg. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art. Les Pas effacés. Paris: Pléiade/Gallimard: 1954 Rousset. 1970. Trans. Rpt 1988.


Yet when I went back to it after a period of twenty years. Proust’s research. Proust makes evident the futility of volitional memory as expressed in nostalgia. Proust draws us out of our social conventions for structuring time. © 1999 by Raritan: A Quarterly Review. but not to experience. and in its layers of coincidence it creates an art that is counter to the temporality of everyday life. he frames a critique of such willful yearning and poses a certain form of aesthetic practice as counter to it. unlike our relations to the articulated systems of time consciousness. Those structures themselves are created in light of the inimitable fact of death and the inevitable transformation of the world around us from a world inhabited and engaged by the living to a world haunted and inflected by the dead.S U S A N S T E WA RT Proust’s Turn from Nostalgia ou can return to a book. in fact. turned out not to be about nostalgia at all. He shows how nostalgia’s willfulness is Y From Raritan 19. Proust’s many-volumed book bears an analogue to memory. it opens on a world already shaped by desire. take place under the opposed. yet interconnected. 2 (Fall 1999). Through such detail and coincidence. no. Rather. 105 . Our relations to the dead. conditions perhaps most clearly and rigorously explored in Proust’s research: the forms of voluntary and involuntary memory. but you cannot return to yourself. I had remembered Proust’s In Search of Lost Time as a memoir driven by a nostalgic yearning for the past. but in its manifold of sensual particulars it reveals far more than the reader would expect it to reveal.

Yet when we juxtapose these descriptions of an early modern illness to many twentieth-century versions of nostalgia. yet potentially universal. But it may be useful to trace the etymology of nostalgia as it gives evidence to an evolution out of the original Greek words nostos. but also a condition consequent to a severing from a place of origin. suicide. The symptoms Hofer described were lability of emotion. we might give further attention to the dialectic between conscious and unconscious forms of return. “the gardens of the world. despondency. Such varieties of nostalgia based upon a longing for return might be addressed by a psychoanalytic model of the replete relation the infant bears to the mother’s body. This may not indicate a change in emotion—perhaps the authentic emotion remains in all of us—but now we have an attempt to market or “package” an emotion. in some cases. In a famous passage in his Anatomy of Melancholy (1621). how nostalgia. emotion.106 Susan Stewart compensatory to our submission to time and. we find a transformation from a singular. From the work of various social theorists—for example. we receive a model of return based upon the emergence of what has been repressed. Before we accept nostalgia under such packaged terms. or return home. Robert Burton discussed nostalgia as “a childish humour to hone after home. wasting away. rather than a continuing state. Proust himself claims.” In the late seventeenth century. based on an individual’s attachment to a site of origin and plentitude. in Within a Budding Grove.” arguing against those “base Icelanders and Norwegians” who prefer their own “ragged islands” to Italy and Greece. to a somewhat ironic link between nostalgia and novelty—the capacity of contemporary culture to recycle history as commodity. ready weeping. a painful condition—an evolution from physical to emotional symptoms. is doomed to an inauthentic form. Vladimir Jankélévitch’s L’Irréversible et la nostalgie and Fred Davis’s Yearning for Yesterday—we receive a model of return prompted by alienation from modernity and tending toward collective and legitimating forms of . In the early modern period the notion continues that nostalgia involves not merely a desire for return in time. terms that could only illumine the varieties of voluntary memory. and. that the names designating things in the world correspond only to the intellect and thus remain alien to our true impressions. Thus nostalgia is linked to conditions of exile—whether exile from place or from childhood itself. and algia. as a dream of the recreation of what is lost in the ongoing flow of experience. From Freud. simultaneously. nostalgia was diagnosed by the Swiss physician Johannes Hofer as an extreme homesickness suffered by his fellow countrymen as they fought as mercenaries far from their native mountains.

or following Aristotle and arguing for time as a measure of motion. The philosophy of time in the West has turned continually to the problem of time’s status as a derived order of being. works of art are models of temporal order. Such models imply a theological aspect. Plato. Nevertheless. for example. enacting the process by which the present relegates the future to the past. and later Plotinus. and arguing for time as a rational ordering of eternity. Aristotle dissented from Plato’s view. In each of these models. In Augustine’s model the individual soul must provide the continuity of such change. a truth only inferable in the recursive conditions of the retrospective view. Augustine’s expectations regarding the anticipated closure of the work turn continually toward what remains of it. for time is something that becomes and changes rather than something belonging to the unchanging realm of reality. By means of his famous discussion of a hymn by St. the “not yet” under which we speak of the stopping of resonance exemplifies the future spoken of as the past and the present under which we are able to say that the sound “is resonating. Ambrose. and the infinite power of whatever is outside of human consciousness. return is linked to the happiness consequent to the pursuit of truth. and stops resonating to the past. and future. Augustine links a sound that starts. the continuity of our awareness of our own being is necessary for our recognition of moments constituting the time-continuum. continues. they may be beginning without giving adequate consideration to our conventions of time. finite subjects. and thus we speak of the very passing of the present already in the past tense. He departs from temporal description in terms of fixed before-and-after sequences to account for the moving experiential perspective of past. for they seek to mediate the separations between finite objects. In Aristotle. In Augustine’s argument.Proust’s Turn from Nostalgia 107 identification such as nationalism. each model of time consciousness implicates a corresponding model of subjectivity. but rather a product of our sensations working in combination with our beliefs. In reciting Ambrose’s hymn. present. arguing that time was not so much created out of a timeless eternity as that eternity is an endless series of moments and time is a measure applied to motion. as in Proust. we find a search for finite conditions of contingency. argued in the Timaeus that time was not an aspect of eternity or a dimension of space and matter. And in Nietzsche. He argues . Augustine presents a radical turn when he stops seeing time as a mark of change in nature and begins to see time as a mode of human perception. when theorists of nostalgia think of this emotion in relation to history.” This present is already disjunctive to the presence of resonance. and to the chronological formation of history. Whether following Plato.

the inevitability of death and forgetting as symptoms not just of loss of the past. Descartes was to borrow Augustine’s notion of the thinking subject. we enter into a grid of temporal order that continues regardless of the interruptions posed by death. Proust shows us that first impressions are the weakest. but of the decay of the self. forms of order and the instant certitude of resemblance and difference are the very sources of error. In the end the perpetuity of the mechanical clock becomes a second. least reliable impressions. In Proust’s search for lost time. Only knowledge as a recursive aggregation leads to truth. more perfect nature. in the absence of differentiating marks or . memory reminds humans of their opacity. All theories of time confront two inevitabilities: first. in scene after scene. Merleau-Ponty opens up our sense of our relation to objects of nature and made things—objects that we animate in accordance with our memories and expectations of time consciousness. the concept of order must supersede the less systematic and experiential type of knowledge achieved through memory. In Descartes. and future—the continuity of the desiring self. Proust.108 Susan Stewart that it is not really accurate to speak of separate perceptual moments because we only become aware of them through the continuity of past. with its increasing distance from the uneven fluctuations of natural bases of temporal change. Like Augustine. truly evades human intention and consequence. But Merleau-Ponty also suggests that the subject has the capacity to introduce nonbeing into time experience: subjects have awareness of the past no longer lived and of a future not yet lived. Descartes’s identification of the self-identity of human reason with sunlight is parallel to his rejection of temporality in favor of instant certitude. but he rejected memory proper and the tradition of the arts of memory since he considered a mathematical method to be a better alternative. present. Such a grid. Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception argues in Kant’s shadow that the experience of time presupposes a view of time. By introducing nonbeing into the plenitude of being. Indeed. we will see. Contemporary philosophers of time have continued to struggle with the relation between time consciousness and subjectivity. of their difficulty in understanding and reflecting upon themselves as minds and as thinking subjects. conducts his research as a kind of correction of this Cartesian model. resemblance and difference are the grounds for authority and error. yet. In Cartesianism. second. social conventions structuring time consciousness are the secular equivalents of Platonic eternity: by submitting ourselves to the constraints of the social order of time. subjects adumbrate perspectives and bring to the present that which is not there. the inevitability of sequentiality and the impossibility of repetition and. For Augustine.

The patriot’s claim regarding an unambiguous relation to a point of origin is a claim regarding the social authenticity of the self. Further. Colonialism rather than travel. and molds social forms of ego ideals. historical circumstances. Elias writes. in its demotion of individual experience. Here nostalgia takes on its function of contributing to the distinctness of generations and social groups. and irregular movements of nature as sources of measure are replaced by a mesh of human inventions which then in turn appear as mysterious components of their own nature. the hum of its repetitions signifies nothing at all. Although we may think of nostalgia as an emotion structured by prior. As willed emotions. Norbert Elias writes that the notion that time “takes on the character of a universal dimension is nothing other than a symbolic expression of the experience that everything which exists is part of an incessant sequence of events. it produces retrospective conformity to a certain form of ego ideal. in fact. is denigrated in such an ideology. in fact. In discussing the conformity of the subject to social conventions of time. Voluntary memory creates generations. the duration of intervals.” The sun. produces retrospective conformity. village typicality rather than cosmopolitan flux—these nostalgic forms posit a mastery over context that finds its means in the politics of fascism and imperialism. as social beings. the speed of changes and such like in this flow for the purpose of orientation. the imagination of a permanent form for time. This drift toward the eternalization of time. Elias’s ideas are useful for considering the functions of voluntary memory. social nostalgias subjugate the senses and emotions to certain techniques of memory that are readily adapted into conventions of aesthetic forms.Proust’s Turn from Nostalgia 109 periods. an unfinished and posthumously published work. we are willing to surrender our subjective experience of time and our capacity for physical extension. Experience. stars. moon. reinforces bonds. In his essay on Time. This binding of circumstance and environment is readily yoked to ideologies of patriotism and nationalism that are the social forms of homesickness. we find. he further links our voluntary compliance with time control to our voluntary compliance with violence control. that the forms of nostalgia are quite codified. the conventions of nostalgia often transcend the historical specificity that is nostalgia’s claim to particularity. Prominent among these conventions is the creation of a bounded context. is no doubt necessary in light of our fear of transience and death. Voluntary memory here is the foundation of social forms of nostalgia as well. . Time is an expression of the fact that people try to define positions. for it is the steady identification of self and place that creates the authenticity of the patriot’s being.

Madame Verdurin takes on the task of continually reifying the boundary of her social world and manipulating the fates of others in the interest of articulating that limit. of this inevitable collapse of the stage of voluntary memory. the fixing of types within bounded contexts or landscapes. The Verdurins demonstrate the register of simulation throughout the novel: their conformity to social models of time requires a constant modification of truth to convention and even a modification of truth to the knowing lie. We might consider the various slowed reunions in advertisements on television or.110 Susan Stewart Nostalgic forms are also bound to a slowed temporality. She is described as an actor in what is quite literally a “dumb show”: She would descend with the suddenness of the insects called ephemerids upon Princess Sherbatoff. The codification of nostalgic forms paradoxically helps to undermine the authenticity of nostalgic feeling: once nostalgia can be “worked up. as in the workings of souvenirs and fetishistic objects linked to prior contexts. Slowing down the view is a cue for affect. a presentation of idealized bodies as bodies ripe for reproduction. whether the slow-motion effects of video and cinema or the slowing of tempo long associated with sentiment in music. as in miniaturization. Further nostalgic effects include the metonymic substitution of part for whole. The speeding-up of experience in truth makes a parody of the very notions of judgment and action. on a slightly more highbrow note. as in the positing of a moment of integrity before such trauma—think of all the nostalgia accruing around periods known as “prewar”. continually and quite literally. Thus to speak of the willed aspect of nostalgia is to realize that nostalgia itself may stand in the background of contemporary life as a vestigial sphere of agency. And in video and cinema. as in genre painting. In his work.” played to the point of stupefaction in the autumn of 1997.” it transcends particular contexts and is unable to connect to what is specific in lived experiences. the deliberating funereal effects of Ravel’s “Pavanne for a Dead Princess. of course. Proust reminds us. Slow-motion speech. were the latter within . an emphasis upon the repression of trauma. willed memory is linked to the artificiality of simulation. is reciprocally comic! Nostalgia’s bounded slowness characterizes the backward view of a consumer society condemned to faster and faster demands for judgment and action. slow motion depends upon the distancing technique of a switch to the purely pictorial. the expression of mastery of nature and skill. an emphasis upon appearances that is consequent to the shallowness of any world ensuing in the absence of temporal depth.

by sexual jealousy. an illegibility built into the very arbitrariness of the relation between sign and meaning. Proust’s critique of voluntary memory further erodes the certainty of immediate apprehension. the simulation of laughter was her particular speciality. the narrator describes the false start of waking in the night: [M]y eyes closed so quickly that I did not have time to tell myself: “I’m falling asleep. but these thoughts had taken a rather peculiar turn. Verdurin imitated them when she listened to Beethoven quartets. and to blow out the light. I had gone on thinking. but could as well have been thinking of nothing at all as the people who. memory provides the continuity of the thinking subject. even made paranoid. take the wise precaution of burying their faces in their hands.Proust’s Turn from Nostalgia 111 reach. about what I had just been reading. Mme. who ascends in the end to the rank of the Guermantes.” And half an hour later the thought that it was time to look for sleep would awaken me. a figure “from whom all things are hidden. stems from her capacity to manipulate the bounds of context and her mastery of the social system of signs. while I was asleep. and is at the same time tormented. she was understood to be laughing until she cried. The narrator. I would make as if to put away the book which I imagined was still in my hands. the Mistress would cling to her shoulder. Verdurin. This jealousy is bound to an inevitable illegibility of language and gesture.” Consider. in order at the same time to show that she regarded them as a prayer and not to let it be seen that she was asleep. As Gilles Deleuze noted in his Proust and Signs. dig her nails into it. two famous scenes in the novel of the Cartesian sorting between waking and sleeping: the initial waking at the beginning of Swann’s Way and the waking to the grandmother’s death. Descartes was forced to admit in the Meditations that only memory can separate the states of waking and sleeping. and hide her face against it for a few moments like a child playing hide and seek. Concealed by this protecting screen. In distinguishing between states of waking and sleeping. it seemed to me that I myself was that immediate subject of my book. while saying a longish prayer. . The great social success of Mme. In the work’s well-known opening.” intuits this register of simulation. collapsing the Cartesian model by showing the false bottoms of resemblance and the distorting lenses of what Proust calls “habit. for example.

The second awakening occurs some time later. an awakening to which the proper response is a return to sleep. The everyday mind. the dead continue to act upon us. and his sight is restored to a state of darkness.. Marcel comments: “death is not in vain . in a doubling of communication between dead and living generations. that the subject of his book separates itself from him.” .. he answers that he was not asleep.. is hardly distinguishable here from the sleeping mind. as in the opaline depths of the sea. But then our actual awakening produces an interruption of memory. there is no continuity in consciousness—the very continuity that enables one truly to recognize experience. Marcel’s mother literally incorporates her grief.. The narrator is here in fact awakened by the appearance of his mother. we acquire a true knowledge only of things that we are obliged to recreate by thought. He explains. during the grandmother’s final agony. conscious only within the patterns of habit. marks the end of desire. And then the narrator finds that from that day forward his mother sleep-walks through life. being the object of a mental process. At the moment of her death. The great modification which the act of awakening effects in us is not so much that of ushering us into the clear life of consciousness. kept us in a state of motion perfectly sufficient to enable us to refer to it by the name of wakefulness. like the approach of death. until the dawning of memory. as that of making us lose all memory of the slightly more diffused light in which our mind had been resting. When she asks his forgiveness for disturbing his sleep.. things that are hidden from us in everyday life . carrying the books and accoutrements of her mother as if the grandmother’s spirit literally went on to inhabit the body of her daughter. They act upon us even more than the living because. in waking. In these scenes. de Sévigné’s letters to her own daughter. The force that keeps him awake is the desire to be united with the mother. Proust explores the abeyance between life and death characterizing the state of waking.. we pay an idolatrous worship to the things that they this cult of grief for our dead. In this scene the narrator awakens to the mother’s absence. The tide of thought . the approach of sleep. subsuming her experience to the carrying forward of her own mother’s presence through the totems of her purse and. her volumes of Mme. he thinks of the error of the sleeper who mistakes a gas lamp at midnight for the dawn.112 Susan Stewart As he finds. the grandmother opens her eyes. true reality being discoverable only by the mind..

This is not simply a matter of returning philosophical certainty to the historical conditions of its appearance. and grants us happiness. Proust presents a sustained critique of philosophical positions that remain blind to their own contingent relation to external forces. In the famous scene of the red shoes. and the silence of the party-wall where previously he and his grandmother had communicated by means of a private language of knocks.” In Proust. As Gilles Deleuze has noted. it is in the involuntary compulsion of his own repetition of the fact of death and the involuntary compulsion of his mother’s representation of the grandmother. even though it is Swann himself who is informing her of its certainty. she comes forward into view. is destined to become the paragon of the Guermantes in this sense. the forgetting. Within the retrospective consciousness made possible by her absence and his grief. who is most expert at ignoring the real conditions of others’ lives as well as their deaths. the Duchess of Guermantes is unable and unwilling to absorb the fact of Swann’s imminent death.Proust’s Turn from Nostalgia 113 Marcel himself becomes aware of the grandmother’s death only later as he reaches down to unbutton his boots on the occasion of his second visit to the Grand Hotel at Balbec. The novel continually links the domain of habit to the unthinking. Marcel cannot grasp its reality. Awaking to the scene of the grandmother’s death. the carrying forward of her belongings like objects severed from a tomb. Madame Verdurin. the Duke of Guermantes arrives and with him a social whirl oblivious to what is happening in the sickchamber. whatever is indeterminate in thought is overwhelmed by temporal contingency: truth appears. and after the grandmother’s death it is the mother’s turn to take on reciprocally the function of the grandmother/mother figure. the reward is this false security of mindlessness regarding death. the “making strange” of what previously had been a matter of assumption and ready certainty. During Marcel’s childhood it is the grandmother who functions as the mother. by which death is put aside in the midst of everyday activity. the narrator specifically states that “the wordly life [robs] one of the power to resuscitate the dead. During the grandmother’s deathbed agony. he recreates the reality of her life— her sacrifices on his behalf and the nature of her personality. In returning to the alienated condition under which the “subject of the book” is no longer the self. that her death permeates his consciousness. in moments of insight linked to the retrospective consideration of sensual experience. for such a return would be a further enactment of the false confidence of voluntary . And only retrospectively do we as readers come to see that Marcel’s initial waking out of fear of the absence of his mother was a kind of prolepsis of the trauma of the grandmother’s death. Within the frame of the room. In The Fugitive.

as Gilberte Swann is transposed to Mademoiselle de Forcheville. then Madame de Saint-Loup. If habit is the enemy . and finally the Duchess of Guermantes. The theme of unstable origins is at the heart of the split between name and blood in the social sphere of the aristocracy and in the constantly mistaken revisions of history performed by the war-time and postwar salons of the Verdurins and Odette de Forcheville. the Sorbonne Professor who is a purveyor of a kind of know-nothing knowledge and yet who is. is perhaps not simply bound to the structures of modernist patriarchy so much as a symptom of the signal absence of the father throughout the text. Yet these scenes are also prohibited from actualization and thus suffer a defining lack of authenticity. whose own etymology speaks to the birth opening of the mother and the coral’s fabulous branching growth. can be seen in retrospect as the symbol of a secret and fluid lineage of female sexuality: Odette’s resemblance to Rachel. finally. is contrasted to the finite nominalism of Charlus’s adoption of Jupien’s niece. The uncertain paternity of Gilberte. causality is never a sufficient or adequate explanation. the grandmother to the mother. Rachel’s to Albertine. Causal explanation is only one of a variety of mental processes taken up in Proust’s experiential and layered process of critique. Paranoia and anxiety inevitably accompany this collapse of sources and ends. and the ambiguity of paternity further this theme of misplaced or catechrestic cause. This is not simply a matter of the pronouncements of Brichot. The narrator’s frantic jealousy wherein only homosexual. in the end. The madrepore. Here we find a deep structural relation between jealousy and nostalgia: both involve the projection of possible scenes and such projections are motivated by desire. The plot as a whole works out an elaborate etymological pun wherein the fantastic world of Geneviève de Brabant and Gilbert the Bad revealed in the lantern slide comes to life as the Duchess of Guermantes is seen after mass in the chapel of Gilbert the Bad at Combray. Female sexuality. the tormented uncertainty of jealousy. For Proust. uncertain as to whether she will come or not. Albertine’s to Gilberte as earlier Gilberte herself had been the pattern for Albertine. relations eventually yield up certain knowledge and closure. The narrator’s anguished relation to Albertine’s unintelligibility is rooted in his equally anguished vigil as he awaits his mother’s kiss goodnight. hinted at by the narrator’s discussion of her filial resemblance in physical terms to her mother and moral terms to her father. or like to like fraternal and paternal. We have only to think of the recurring theme of false etymologies for place names and ideas in the novel.114 Susan Stewart memory and habitual modes of explanation. the two initial figures of legendary time are merged in one historical character. Then. and. endowed with dignity by the journals of the Goncourt brothers.

As nostalgia engages in historical thinking it is conditioned by habit and typification. Hence the recurrence of haze and outline as a dimension of nostalgic forms represents an attempt to place a boundary upon ambiguity. becomes the figure of the past. When the nostalgic viewer enters into the frame—stepping into the image as Keats does in “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” as the jealous lover falls into his or her imagination. Nostalgia works a fixed and unidirectional figure/ground shift in which the context of the past.” It can be said that there are no minor characters in the novel. Proust offers the mindfulness of artistic making. of which nostalgia is only one mode of thought. perhaps more accurately. the cohesion of time control and the organization of violence. the reframing of experience through mental activity. Issues of fixed perspective come in for particular criticism in the recurrence of the theme of antisemitism in the text. For Proust. as a dreamer overcome by a plot he has himself created but within which he cannot make an intervening gesture. as Elias proposed. and action is thereby circumscribed by mere scene setting. Generalization and convention prohibit originality and judgment. art produces new knowledge by means of form. In his essay on “The Image of Proust. Proust describes the war itself as “the monstrous reality under which there is nothing else visible. Fixed perspective results in blocked perspective. as a site wherein one can observe the unfolding of monumental consequences. Fixed dates appear in the text for the first time during the discussion of the war and we see here. to the forms of art. in the rigid nondiscursive positions assumed by the Dreyfusards and antiDreyfusards. and in the account of the static social world during the Great War.” Walter Benjamin cited . the world of servants. those elements of scene taken for granted when the past is a present sphere of action. Aesthetic activity requires the constant modification of frame and a transposition of reality from one scene to another. as the alternative. as we find in the scene of the “watch-tower” wherein the narrator observes the tryst between Charlus and Jupien. and as the timetravelers of popular cinema arrive in other worlds—the past’s completeness is a foil to intervention. and if voluntary memory is the willed distortion of truth. for Proust’s interest continually and vividly turns to the location of minor action. The anachronistic visitor is passively situated as a viewer or.Proust’s Turn from Nostalgia 115 of knowledge and friendship. the aesthetic is tied to a negative and self-revising process of perspectivalism that is the opposite of such a nostalgic process. in contrast. It is here that Proust contrasts the forms of reified boundary-making. and the axiomatic tradition in French philosophy is itself shown to be a kind of binding of perspective.

and flowers—all as fleeting in their expression as human faces and vice versa: these are a few of the examples of an aesthetic presentation that itself never brings back images and symbols in any fixed system of metonymy or order. the hawthorns. The model here is a continual shift in figure/ground relations and specifically the aesthetic history of the frieze. The paintings of Elstir. As Beckett describes her in his 1931 study of Proust. The cortege appears in motion. and the narrator following in the footsteps of Swann. apple trees. the most evident device for retrospective readjustment is irony. metamorphozing form. we watch for the gesture of thought.” Of course. Albertine appears for the first time within this frieze. as in Nietzsche’s thought. Such an incomplete commitment would be dominated by a teleology of habit: when we find Saint-Loup assuming the gestures of Charlus. Proust suggests the irony underlying the nostalgic impulse. more precisely. in the experience of temporality. But there is also a Kantian aspect to Proust’s aesthetics. she is one aspect of a hedge of Pennsylvanian roses against the breaking line of the waves. Rather than pursuing forms of the nostalgic in his research into lost time. significantly.116 Susan Stewart a passage from the writings of Princess Clermont-Tonnerre on this predilection: “And finally we cannot suppress the fact that Proust became enraptured with the study of domestic servants—whether it be that an element which he encountered nowhere else intrigued his investigative faculties or that he envied servants their greater opportunities for observing the intimate details of things that aroused his interest. like figures who have emerged from their proper background—the sarcophagus that would seal them within a . but. the turn to organic images. like figures animated in process or. the decision to act. Proust explores the relations between the temporal experience of subjectivity and a practice of art embedded in its own temporality. Proust reminds us of the complete absence of irony in nostalgic forms and correlatively of the involuntary dimension of true irony. wherein the sea is a city and the city is a sea. that will deliver the subject from the relentless force of plot and typification. In his famous metaphor of the frieze of girls. for beauty emerges in situations where categories of thought are not sufficient to account for the image and where the relations between figure and ground are suspended. the image of the sea in the bookcases at Balbec. the constant association of Albertine with the sea’s transient. Nostalgia’s futility makes possible the practice of aesthetics and rescues the narrator’s practice from dilettantism—here seen as an incomplete commitment to whatever is disorienting. she appears without relief or individuality. and therefore possibly significant.

Years later. linked to the proleptic expectation brought to all exchanges with others. as a face comes into full relief.” The touches of the sculptor become progressively closer and joined in an intimate interlocking of relationships. an Assyrian relief is the prototype of the frock coat. is bound to be abraded back into surface and barely intelligible fragments of signs. the optical errors of one’s first impression that one can arrive at an exact knowledge of another person. the person himself. written in the 1930s. Proust’s use of the concept of the frieze coincides in suggestive ways with the use of the concept in the turn-of-the-century aesthetic theories of Alois Riegl. at the same time. The narrator’s dream of fixed form and possession is ironically fulfilled in her ensuing death and the atrophy of his interest. the grandmother’s face is “almost finished” and. Here we find Proust taking up the theme of death as a modeler or carver. not being an inanimate object. But it is not. The costumes themselves are metonymic to social categories and even elements of design that transcend the temporality of any given subject. when they no longer represent him.Proust’s Turn from Nostalgia 117 frame. At the time of her death. and. and . As Michael Podro has explained in his useful review of Riegl’s work in The Critical Historians of Art. he shifts. when we imagine that at last we are seeing him clearly. like a sculptor of the Middle Ages. The narrator explains that it is “only after one has recognized. when the narrator sees a photograph of the girls. they are distinguishable only by their costumes. for while our original impression of him undergoes correction. All that emerges in high relief.” He goes on to say that this continual task of “catching-up” with reality. Yet in Proust. their faces blurred by similarities and by the viewer’s temporal distance. it is also on the threshold of oblivion and subject to the distortions of memory. Henri Focillon similarly described sculptural carving as “starting from the surface and seeking for the form within the block. changes for his part too: we think that we have caught him. had laid her down in the form of a young girl. Riegl suggests that in antiquity. it is only the old impressions which we had already formed of him that we have succeeded in clarifying. especially his 1893 Stilfragen and 1901 Spatromische Kunstindustrie. death. the narrator’s jealousy enacts a futile project of reification and possession. in particular detail.” In his classic essay on The Life of Forms in Art. is what protects us from the dreariness of an overly presumptuous habit. Albertine’s physical presence nevertheless retains the amorphous movement of the sea that is her proper context. When Albertine is later separated and made a captive. not without some tentative stumblings. Albertine wears a Fortuny cape that can be found in one of Carpaccio’s Venetian genre scenes. supposing such knowledge to be ever possible. “On that funeral couch.

And this is precisely the ontogeny recapitulated by Proust in the phylogeny of the narrator’s consciousness. This continuity comes into full flower in late antiquity—here relief requires limbs and folds of drapery to be carved so deeply that the unity of the figure is dissolved. Uniting the space of appearance with the space of apprehension. The Arena Chapel frescoes of Giotto are a locus classicus for the novel. the history of art is characterized by a coming to the fore of an awareness of relationality. Such self-containedness had implications not merely for the relation of the object to context. he sees a maximum correspondence between the depicted object and the real surface of the relief or painting. Riegl goes on to claim that the classical relief begins to make a profound shift in this paradigm of self-containedness. modeling and the mobility of turning forms give a sense of the space in which they turn. Riegl suggests that space is either denied or suppressed. Here the capacity of the bookcase to reflect the sea is the capacity of the novel to reflect the mutability of the experience of time in ever-shifting and retrospectively selfadjusting views. Objects appear as continuous unbroken forms enclosed within a boundary. Such a continuous space will develop into various perspectival forms known to Roman painting and will later be renewed in the Renaissance. a concept of self-containedness predominates. and spatial effects of depth and projection are refused in favor of a sense of surface. Represented objects are unconnected with other objects in their respective contexts. These are figures suspended between the death of inert form and the life of . but also for the relation of the representation to the spectator. In Riegl’s account. relations between figures are admitted. as in an ideal of the self as internally continuous and distinct from its surroundings. There is a continuity between the space of the viewer and the space of the representation. In classical relief. In addition to the separation of the object from its context and the separation of representation from the spectator. much as the narrator hears his grandmother’s voice for the first time when it comes forward in the “relief” of a telephone call.118 Susan Stewart particularly in the art of ancient Egypt. Riegl argues that the spectator is invited to comprehend such art immediately through sensual perceptions and to rely as little as possible upon past experience and subjective projections. The frieze is the paradigm of the foreground/background shifts placed in constant mutability and of which the aggregation of the novel itself is the only accessible form. they mark the moment when human figures emerge from the world of objects to move and signify. they mark the reawakening of the gestural in representation. Coherence is created by means of an optical plan that unites figures and their surroundings and which suggests a continuous optical space between real and represented worlds.

forgetting. The counterforce of memory. The spectacle of soldiers in formation erases their particular subjectivity and dooms them to be sacrificed.Proust’s Turn from Nostalgia 119 comprehension. Happiness here is synonymous with aesthetic apprehension—an aesthetic apprehension that bears the contradictions of form-giving and form-eroding activities undertaken in time. it takes on the power of a form of nature. is so powerful an instrument of adaptation to reality because it gradually destroys in us the surviving past—a past that is in perpetual contradiction to it. The frieze of girls moves forward into the indefinite reification of the photograph. Following the logic of this dialectic. It stems from our desire for the dead—not out of a need for love. by means of our own willed confusion. He imagines works of art structured beyond our habitual. it is the mental and form-giving activities of the artist here that rework the rules and conventions of representation itself. In this activity of mind resides the sublimity of the art work—a Kantianism wherein particularities are not anchored to habitual concepts but return. Memory has no power of invention. It is spiritual and not dependent upon the world for its stimulation. for the place to be filled. but out of a need for the absent person. imitative capacities as encompassing a practice of opening the present to the nonbeing of thought—such a practice would involve whatever thought can achieve given the contingencies of habit and the inevitability of death. Proust’s practice is the accommodation of the involuntary and unintelligible in the pursuit of truth. estranged from their functions. . But Giotto’s Paduan figures appear to be released from bonds of stone. In Proust’s great work we find a rejection of the plenitude of Bergsonian duration and of the positive implications of perspectivalism. relentless course of social life once. The brilliant contribution of Proust’s book is his view of the tragic. In The Fugitive Proust presents a summary of his ideas on memory and forgetting. we can see that the willed or voluntary forms of nostalgia that so relentlessly surround us are devices of forgetting in the costume of memory.


shedding tears for the first time. He turned around. His fate was sealed when the women of Thrace tore his body to pieces and threw the limbs into a river. Eurydice. around the powers of the gods and the vanity of humans. Walking in silence. again the cruel Fates call me back. even the Furies were spellbound.” Eurydice cried. not only fellow mortals but also trees and rocks. © 2001 by Oxford University Press. Orpheus’ head floated down the current. For months on end. his gaze met hers.”1 The Orpheus myth revolves around love and death. absorbed for the second time by the regions of the dead. 121 . “and sleep seals my swimming eyes. but in vain. were stirred by the sublime sounds he produced. In Virgil’s rendering of the myth. Orpheus was allowed to take Eurydice away with him on one condition. poor Eurydice!” Whereupon the banks echoed: “Eurydice. Orpheus roamed the world voicing his grief. And now farewell!” She vanished from sight. He sang so beautifully that Hell was moved. even wild beasts. no. and the Case of Joyce egend has it that when Orpheus sang and played his lyre. After the premature death of his young wife Eurydice. his “disembodied voice” calling “with departing breath on Eurydice—ah. they had almost reached the upper world when Orpheus wanted to ensure that his beloved was still behind him. that both of them refrain from looking back until they had reached the land of the living.SARA DANIUS Orpheus and the Machine: Proust as Theorist of Technological Change. the grieving hero descended to the netherworld in the hope of rescuing her. 2 (April 2001). “See. but it also tells a story about the eye L From Forum for Modern Language Studies 37.

that may establish the ideal correspondence between the inner subjectivity of the perceiver and the spiritual interiority of the object perceived. all at once. interior is mediated by the sounds it emits. from the telephone and electricity to the aeroplane and the .3 Derrida does not state it explicitly. Unlike the eye. however. Jacques Derrida suggests that Hegel could not imagine the machine. smell. Few early twentieth-century writers have dramatised this aesthetic crisis as effectively as Marcel Proust.122 Sara Danius and the ear: about the all-pervasive desire to look and the deadly power of the gaze. Of sight and hearing. Such an idealist theory of aesthetic perception is circumscribed by a long philosophical tradition—the metaphysics of presence. In short. and this is partly why they have enjoyed such prominence in the history of aesthetics. then. that is. and touch. not in the service of meaning [sens]. for Hegel thinks of the work of art as an ideal site where spirit (Geist) and matter intersect. Sight and hearing are more readily disposed to abstraction. the ear succeeds in apprehending both material objectivity and interiority. hence. of aesthetics. sight and hearing have been privileged over taste. only the eye and the ear are capable of respecting the integrity and freedom of the work of art. sight and hearing are essentially theoretical senses. because spiritual. Describing the advent of modern technology. it is also marked by a certain historicity. exteriority and interiority. but it is clear that after the advent of devices for reproducing sound. the same is true of sight: its assumed ideality is exploded in the wake of inventions such as photographic means of recording visual data. According to Hegel. by contrast. Taste. Discussing Hegel’s hierarchy of the senses. It is the ear. smell. but rather in the service of exteriority and repetition. and the sensory experience of acoustic phenomena henceforth has to resort to an everreproducible exteriority. Devices such as the telephone and the phonograph strip sound of what Hegel would call its soulful interiority. for example. For this reason. a machine that functions by itself and that works. Consequently. it is an allegory of the senses and. They involve consumption of the work of art in one way or other. and this must not be. In this way.2 Throughout the history of aesthetic discourse. Of course. the perceiving subject receives and so in a sense corresponds to the object whose ideal. and the ear only. Consequently. art for Hegel is the sensuous objectivation of spirit. the sense of hearing can no longer be thought of as a priori ideal. are practical senses. about the pleasures of listening and the animating power of the voice. and touch. A privileged blend of pure sensuousness and pure thought. hearing is the most ideal sense. they are also ideal senses. from now on the potentially sublime operations of the eye and the ear know an internal cleavage. In short.

in another.6 But Proust as theorist of technological change? Surely nothing could be further removed from the great themes of the novel: the primacy of involuntary memory.5 And Siegfried Kracauer. demonstrating that vast portions of it hardly fit into that famous cup of tea. . Vinteuil’s sonata is broadcast over a socalled théâtrophone. as I propose to do in this essay. these episodes offer a meditation on the historicity of habits of listening and seeing. how such change makes available new sensory domains that open themselves to artistic exploration. approaches Proust as theorist of photography. Read together. in his brilliant study of the epistemology of jealousy in Remembrance of Things Past. a popular telephone service that served to transmit music performances to listeners in the privacy of their home. maintains that Proust’s novel is “one of the most elaborate and circumstantial portrayals of the theorising mind that European culture possesses”. James Joyce’s Ulysses is a case in point. the young narrator operates a film camera. basing his ontology of the photographic image in an analysis of the episode where Proust’s narrator reflects upon how he beholds his grandmother with a photographic eye. particularly sensory experience. in his widely influential Theory of Film (1960).4 The film-maker Raul Ruiz’s adaptation of Proust. is to historicise some of the most characteristic formal aspects of Joyce’s 1922 epic. of two episodes in The Guermantes Way (1920–21). the priority of subjective time.Proust as Theorist of Technological Change 123 automobile. Yet. particularly in the realm of the novel. is particularly sensitive to these aspects of Proust’s tale. Proust as theorist? Such a perspective has been elaborated before. ultimately. The second advantage—and this is what I shall dwell on in this essay—is that the theory embedded in Proust’s episodes on telephony and photography yields a convenient point of departure for distinguishing the complex ways in which technologies of perception help reconfigure habitual ways of listening and seeing in the modernist period at large and. and the virtues of immediate sensory experience. such a perspective alerts us to the richness and intelligence that inform Proust’s book. as though the entire novel springs out of a cinematographic vision. Ruiz even invents scenes not to be found in the novel: in one sequence. Remembrance of Things Past (1913–1927) offers numerous reflections on how technology affects human experience. Malcolm Bowie. the one revolving around a telephone conversation. to juxtapose Proust and Joyce. in particular. I am thinking. it also delineates a psychology of such transformation. Time Regained (1999). But Proust’s novel more than dramatises technological change. Indeed. a psychology that may be grasped as a theory in its own right. the other reflecting upon photography.

for what henceforth appears as having been an organic system of signification has just been sundered. Put differently. perhaps. For the narrator. the aural impression of the grandmother’s voice fails to coincide spatially with the visual impression of her bodily presence. that voice that seemed so near—in actual separation! But a premonition also of an eternal separation! Many were the times. suddenly and visibly revealed. (REM 2: 135 / RTP 2: 432) In short. and I felt the anxiety that was one day to wring my heart when a voice would thus return (alone and attached no longer to a body which I was never to see again). this horizon of signs stands before him. they share one and the same temporality. when it seemed to me that the voice was crying to me from the depths out of which one does not rise again. in which the eyes figured so largely. every time that my grandmother had talked to me. as I listened thus without seeing her who spoke to me from so far away. Meanwhile. it is her voice that is speaking. he also realises that he used to identify what he now perceives as “voice” by matching it with her face and other visual features. and at the same time. from Paris to Doncières.. and it immediately acquires symbolic proportions. It is a dialectic moment. Detached and disembodied. the uncanny experience triggers a Proustian psychology of telecommunication that stretches over half a dozen pages: It is she. the narrator discovers his grandmother’s voice. ] A real presence. to murmur in my ear words I longed to kiss as they issued from lips for ever turned to dust.124 Sara Danius I Proust’s telephone episode relates the narrator’s very first telephone conversation with his adored grandmother. this insight is deeply unsettling. .8 What amazes the narrator is that although the two of them are spatially separated. But how far away it is! [ . But it also awakens the theorising mind whose speculative intelligence animates long stretches of Remembrance of Things Past. an abstract sound”. indeed. despite the spatial distance. Turning around the dissociation of the eye and the ear. it hits him in all its baffling abstraction. but her voice itself I was hearing this afternoon for the first time” (REM 2: 135 / RTP 2: 433). I had been accustomed to follow what she said on the open score of her face. that is there. of what can be seen and heard.7 Transported across vast distances. their conversation is simultaneous. now that it has been lost: “for always until then.. her voice hits his ear as though for the first time—“a tiny sound.

having [ . the narrator enters the drawing room. I ceased to hear the voice.. But there is more to the episode. now that he perceives her “without the mask of her face”. the narrator perceives her bodily appearance as though for the first time. It seemed to me as though it was already a beloved ghost that I had allowed to lose herself in the ghostly world.Proust as Theorist of Technological Change 125 The narrator discovers not merely his grandmother’s voice. “Speak to me!” But then. he also hears. of a grandmother really separated from me. from the phantom. and was left even more alone [ . is confirmed by the episode which follows a few pages later. ]. and not the other way around. a figure inhabited by time. resigned. and as I believe Proust meant them to be. an interesting pattern begins to emerge. repeats the name of his dead wife. The narrator is on his way to pay his grandmother a visit. but I had beside me only the voice. ] a definite age” (REM 2: 141/RTP 2: 438). “the sorrows that had cracked [her voice] in the course of a lifetime”. This. where he . I went on vainly repeating: “Granny! Granny!” as Orpheus.. compelled to do so by the telephone conversation and its uncanny revelation of a phantom grandmother. I shall refer to this passage as the camera-eye episode. “Granny!” and I longed to kiss her. thereby reworking the Greek tale in a number of unexpected yet characteristic ways. Indeed. indeed. and the psychological impact of this insight is irreversible: “Granny!” I cried to her. in her arms. The narrator realises that his grandmother will die. suddenly. for the first time.. What the narrator intimates is that a whole new matrix of perceptual possibilities is sliding into place. hitherto unsuspected and suddenly called into being by her voice. Dwelling inside her is a figure whom he has never yet apprehended. Proust explicitly inscribes the telephone episode in the Orpheus myth. it is Proust who interprets the myth. Once these two sections are read in tandem. (REM 2: 137 / RTP 2: 434) In this remarkable passage. standing alone before the instrument. Upon his arrival. The experience of the disembodied voice thus elicits a new understanding of that bodily entity from which the voice has been detached. and die soon. as I believe they should be. left alone. and. a phantom as impalpable as the one that would perhaps come back to visit me when my grandmother was dead. shaded by her age and future death: “I had to free myself at the first possible moment. adapting it to the cultural imaginary of the machine age.. In other words. one that transforms both the perception of voice (forms of audibility) and the perception of visual appearance (forms of visibility).

the photographic image strips the object of its unique presence in time and space. she literally emerges as a spectral representation of herself..126 Sara Danius finds her busy reading a book. he also proposes that during those brief moments before his grandmother realised his presence. He. Yet there is nothing Orphic in a photograph. it is the failure to meet the gaze of the other that is deadly. and in terms of the gaze. indeed. for sitting in the sofa is not the grandmother but her doppelgänger. she is shrouded in invisibility. Proust the narrator is joined by Proust the psychologist. During the telephone conversation. too. it was this phantom that I saw when [ . and these perspectives merge in his reflections on photography in the 1930s. the perpetual motion of our incessant love for them. it is not the gaze itself that is deadly. too. In Benjamin.9 In mechanically reproducing the visual real. or history. her double. but—and this is Benjamin’s vital point—we cannot look back. his gaze was operating like a camera. and why these perceptions are always and necessarily faulty. The grandmother has become pure image. The history of the decline of aura is also the history of an increasing inability to meet the intentional and unique gaze of the other. Here. it is her failure to look at her grandson that makes him discover. in order to explain how the uncanny sight of the grandmother was possible. . a human being. photography is linked to death. she appears precisely like that ghostly image which he so desperately wanted to banish from his mind: “Alas. for the second time. Disembodied and deterritorialised. The photographic metaphor then sparks a Proustian essay which sets out to explain why we perceive our loved ones the way we do. For this reason. I stress this point because Proust’s episode shares an affinity with Walter Benjamin’s notion of the aura. she appears to him like a stranger. feels like a stranger. ] I found her there reading” (REM 2: 141/RTP 2: 438). Why does this stand out to his naked eye? Because she has withdrawn her gaze. Because she fails to notice his presence. It is therefore all the more interesting that Proust’s narrator. at the same time. be it an object. photography makes the past look at us.. To make matters worse. Their dialogue shuttles between experience and theory. Not only does he create an analogy between himself and a professional photographer. her eyes and face failed to accompany her voice. In the process. should draw on the language of photography. between local observations and general laws: We never see the people who are dear to us save in the animated system. Benjamin approaches aura in two ways: in terms of spatio-temporal uniqueness. thus anticipating that eternal separation called death. observing her appearance as he would that of any old woman.

and what we actually perceive: But if. it should happen to be a purely physical object. (REM 2: 142 / RTP 2: 438–9) In order to drive home his point concerning the alienating vision inherent in the camera. and they. as would a classical tragedy. our eyes. (REM 2: 142 / RTP 2: 439) In an attempt to explain his grandmother’s sudden alienation before his gaze. in place of the beloved person who has long ago ceased to exist but whose death our tenderness has always hitherto kept concealed from us. set to work mechanically. in the courtyard of the Institute.Proust as Theorist of Technological Change 127 which. the parabola of his fall. the narrator splits the category of visual perception into two: the human eye . since every habitual glance is an act of necromancy. since into the forehead and the cheeks of my grandmother I had been accustomed to read all the most delicate. every image that does not contribute to the action of the play and retain only those that may help to make its purpose intelligible. for example. each face that we love a mirror of the past. then what we see. So it is when some cruel trick of chance prevents our intelligent and pious tenderness from coming forward in time to hide from our eyes what they ought never to behold. before allowing the images that their faces present to reach us. rehearses the contrast between what we expect to see. neglect. his precautions to avoid falling on his back. that has watched the action. how. Proust adds yet another example. charged with thought. and show us. like films [pellicules]. although we may not have realised it. the most permanent qualities of her mind. too. the new person whom a hundred times daily it has clothed with a loving and mendacious likeness. coincide with it. instead of our eyes. how could I have failed to overlook what had become dulled and changed in her. a photographic plate [plaque photographique]. seizes them in its vortex and flings them back upon the idea that we have always had of them. as though he were drunk or the ground covered in ice. will be his tottering steps. arriving first in the field and having it to themselves. when it is forestalled by our eyes. makes them adhere to it. How. This scenario. instead of the dignified emergence of an Academician who is trying to hail a cab. seeing that in the most trivial spectacles of our daily life.

Read in this way. What is more. letting her slightly crazed eyes wander over a book. the narrator’s uncompromising image of his grandmother is bound to evaporate as soon as she lifts her eyes and recognises him. The latter expresses delight at meeting again . mechanical and undistinguishing. testifies to the consequences of such technological change. Yet for him those seconds have nevertheless hinted at her impending death. and such a lens prevents the beholder from seeing the traces of time in the face of a loved one. For this reason. sitting on the sofa beneath the lamp. each independent of the other. Marked by affection and tenderness. Her persona is split into two. the beholder sees not the person. It should be clear by now just how intricate Proust’s treatment of technologies of perception is in Remembrance of Things Past. and so it is that the narrator catches sight of a new person. merely his or her preconceived images of the person. All that is left behind is a phantom image. Proust suggests that the perceptual habits of the eye and the ear begin to function separately. a dejected old woman whom I did not know” (REM 2: 143 / RTP 2: 440). An episode in the last volume of the novel. vacant. the narrator’s effort to grasp the experience of speaking to his grandmother on the telephone motivates a psychology of visual perception as well. the camera eye is a relentless conveyor of truth. sick. thus continuously endowing the loved one with a “likeness”. who now flashes into the present: “for the first time and for a moment only. Memory thus prevents truth from coming forward. In effect. instantly vanishes from sight and disappears into the shadows. her uncanny double superimposed upon her seemingly ever-pre-given self. It carries no thoughts and no memories. From now on the narrator’s perception of his grandmother is scarred by her difference from herself. red-faced. What starts as a reflection on telephony and the discovery of the disembodied voice ends as a meditation on photography and how it changes the perception of visual appearances. heavy and vulgar. is cold. Proust offers a germinal theory of how the emergence of technologies for transmitting sound such as the telephone paves the way for a new matrix of perception. like Eurydice on the verge of light. hitherto unknown and unseen. human vision is necessarily refracted by preconceptions. I saw. Time Regained (1927). on the other hand. nor is it burdened by a history of assumptions. each in its own sensory register. In other words.128 Sara Danius and the camera eye. that once so familiar and self-evident being who. Set in the mid1920s. since she vanished very quickly. To be sure. The deadly power of the photographic gaze has struck the grandmother. in which not only sound but vision also turn into abstract phenomena. the scene unfolds at a social gathering where the narrator is reintroduced to an old friend. The camera eye.

What is more. like the spiritualist who tries in vain to elicit from a ghost an answer which will reveal its identity. because the narrator. A caesura follows. (REM 3: 985–6 / RTP 4: 523) Rich in images and allusions. indeed. they prefigure his utter inability to do so: He stopped laughing. element. is that the dissociation of the eye and the ear. rising out of the body as though of its own accord. I should have liked to recognise my friend. like Ulysses in the Odyssey when he rushes forward to embrace his dead mother. thus reducing him to a non-human entity. by a mechanical device [true de mécanique]. this passage turns on the tangible discrepancy between the narrator’s aural impressions and his visual experience. to a thing. but. the voice of my old comrade had been lodged in the frame of this stout elderly man who might have been anybody. perplexed and confused. and I could only suppose that somehow artificially. at the same time. is here rendered as a non-corporeal. the mechanical metaphor strips the old acquaintance of human qualities such as consciousness and agency. hence foreign. I was obliged to give up the attempt. although the voice is familiar enough: I was astonished. like the visitor at an exhibition of electricity who cannot believe that the voice which the gramophone [phonographe] restores unaltered to life is not a voice spontaneously emitted by a human being. and what sets it apart from the telephone scenario. it issued from the mouth of a corpulent gentleman with greying hair whom I did not know. The familiar voice seemed to be emitted by a gramophone [phonographe] more perfect than any I had ever heard.Proust as Theorist of Technological Change 129 after so many years. for. These images serve to underscore the narrator’s insistent efforts to match his perception of the voice with his perception of the friend’s exterior and. Whereas the telephone episode contemplated the experience of an abstract . The differentiation of seeing and hearing both precedes and inscribes the narrator’s account of the event. of what can be seen and heard. has already happened. What marks the representation of this encounter. (REM 3: 985 / RTP 4: 522) The gentleman’s voice. though it was the voice of my friend. It is the defamiliarising image of the gramophone that so drastically disconnects the voice from its bodily source. fails to identify the person in front of him.

intimating that it is enabled by a technology for communicating at a spatial distance. Joyce’s Ulysses offers a particularly rich example. this scene contains within itself the very experiential effects that the previous one reflected upon. To this sound machine we may now add the phonograph. In this way. Proust’s telephone and camera-eye episodes articulate a theory of how a new division of perceptual labour comes into play. subject to endless reiteration and exteriorisation. then. one that bears on both the habits of the ear and those of the eye. That is to say. For although each of these two processes of abstraction may be traced back to its own relatively distinct technological lineage. their experiential effects—reification. potentially. took upon himself to grasp and explain. the representation of the old friend’s voice presumes the essential internalisation of the very experiential effects that the telephone and camera-eye episodes set out to chart. the present scenario both presupposes and enacts that logic of spacing.130 Sara Danius voice and. the new optical and acoustic worlds propelled by such technological change open up realms of representation that readily lend themselves to artistic experiments. Mutually determining one another. the abstraction and reification of sensory experience— that the narrator. the voice and other acoustic phenomena are. in The Guermantes Way. charging the modernist call to make the phenomenal world new. as Proust’s own phonographic imagery demonstrates. a mechanical device that makes it possible to strip sound not only of its spatial source but also of its temporal origin.10 From now on. In the telephone episode. Proust’s novel thus offers a way of understanding the mediated nature of so many characteristic formal innovations that are to be found in numerous modernist works. then. For if the telephone episode ultimately ponders the spacing of production and reception. and vice versa. The phonographic metaphor confirms the implicit dialectics at work. From photography to telephony. the representation of the narrator’s failure to recognise his friend from long ago is organised precisely by that matrix of perception—the dissociation of the eye and the ear. . the narrator reflected upon the experience of the pure and abstract voice. by implication. In effect. of sonic origin and transmission. Meanwhile. the abstraction of the visual is inherent in the abstraction of the aural. from phonography to cinematography: technological transformation helps articulate new perceptual domains. how the aural impression of the voice fails to coincide spatially with the visual impression of the speaking body. autonomisation and differentiation—are fundamentally interrelated.

13–16). Miss gaze of Kennedy. crested by a comb of feathery hair. tends to perform according to its own autonomous rationality. A few sentences later. to take another example: “Miss voice of Kennedy answered. will be deployed throughout Ulysses. Wearing a yellow dressing gown which flutters round his body like a priestly mantle. To look is no longer a mere predicate to be attached to a subject. “stately” and “plump”. each sensory organ. a trademark visualising technique which. Stephen Dedalus enters the scenario. the predicate has been unhinged from the subject and operates independently. in various ways and with varying intensity. takes on a life of its own. heard. grained and hued like pale oak” (U 1. his face has been turned into a thing which. and at the light untonsured hair. seeking” (U 7. her gaze upon a page:—No. whom we just observed proceeding from the stairhead and into the room as though in a full-length portrait. thrust itself in. O’Molloy’s towards Stephen’s face and then bent at once to the ground. What is more. read on” (U 11. as though detached from any general epistemic tasks. leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him. Indeed. he greets his half-awake friends with loud cries. a second teacup poised. physiologically as well as syntactically: “The inner door was opened violently and a scarlet beaked face. By the same token. coming to the fore especially in the first two episodes.237–40). despite the stylistic variegation that characterises Ulysses.819–20). voices in Ulysses also tend to lead an utterly independent life. The bold blue eyes stared about them and the harsh voice asked:—What is it?” (U 7. equine in its length. He was not.344–7). comes down the staircase. each sensory organ appears to operate independently and for its own sake. In fact. This is how the implicit narrator details Stephen’s visual perception of Buck Mulligan: “Stephen Dedalus. The dissociation of the visual and the aural runs through Joyce’s narrative from beginning to end. “His gaze. “turned at once but slowly from J. furthermore. . displeased and sleepy. particularly the eye. endowed with an agency all its own. chat and have breakfast in the Martello Tower. not seen. The opening of “Telemachus” dwells on how Stephen Dedalus and his two friends Buck Mulligan and Haines rise.11 The trivial activity of looking is here rewritten as an event in itself. Joyce introduces a characteristic stylistic device. Within the space of a few paragraphs. Or.Proust as Theorist of Technological Change 131 II In Ulysses. J. has shrunk to a face. At the same time. The first sentence introduces a perky Buck Mulligan and how he. the visual representation of Mulligan.” Joyce writes. “Telemachus” and “Nestor”. this feature persists throughout the eighteen episodes of the novel.

although Joyce pushes that aesthetic program to an extreme. I’m inconsequent. From a visual point of view. Mulligan brings his shaving utensils to the parapet. he said. Dehumanised and reified. Joyce’s implicit narrator builds upon a narratological aesthetic that aims at defamiliarisation. his lips. one could say. lathers his cheeks and chin. depends upon the differentiation of the human body. In this introductory episode. Mulligan’s face floats like a hairy oval before the reader. not to what he knows is there. level with the roof: —Don’t mope over it all day. Mulligan’s visual Gestalt has been substituted for a synecdoche. teeth and torso—as responding to external stimuli as though its reactions were mere reflexes. bypassing the control of some centrally-operating intentionality. furthermore. keeps to what he perceives. (U 1. that instant freezing of time and movement. ]. Laughter seized all his strong wellknit trunk” (U 1. The aesthetic effect of such passages. so common in Joyce. Temporarily frozen by the entrance frame through which he is disappearing. Subsequently. as so often in Ulysses.132 Sara Danius The horselike face is said to shake and gurgle all by itself. his thing-like head being the sign that stands in for the whole and whose shape can be . Joyce represents Buck Mulligan’s body—that is to say. Joyce does not write that Mulligan is laughing. Stephen’s visual perception of his roommate’s bodily movement is rendered as it presents itself to his eyes. likewise. meanwhile chatting with Stephen. Significantly. whose various parts are then autonomised and. When Mulligan is about to descend into the tower. Give up the moody brooding. leaving Stephen to ruminate over his dead mother. Mulligan is not seized by laughter. but his stomach is. There is a striking affinity between Stephen’s image and a photographic frame. and begins to shave. “His curling shaven lips laughed and the edges of his white glittering teeth. From a rhetorical point of view. endowed with an agency all their own. Mulligan’s physical appearance turns into a miniature spectacle before the reader. His head vanished but the drone of his descending voice boomed out of the stairhead [ .233–8) All Stephen perceives is a head.. Buck Mulligan’s bodily whole has been bisected by the frame through which he passes. In this way. The narrator. even bless a somewhat irritated Stephen. Mulligan’s figure thus appears as an optical outline: His head halted again for a moment at the top of the staircase..131–3). Joyce’s aesthetics reveals deep affinities with that of Proust. but that his lips are.

indeed. and on the other. the second episode. exactly. turning the sense of sight and that of hearing into quasi-ideal senses. such a pronounced desire to represent what is heard and. —Dedalus. come down. Aligning himself with a modernist aesthetic that aims to render what is perceived rather than what is known.12 But what. and what is seen is in its turn a mere slice of the whole. At the same time. One further example will suffice. Stephen is in the classroom teaching his rather unwilling students history. gestures and action. furthermore. Breakfast is ready. drawn from “Nestor”. —I’m coming. For my sake and for all our sakes. the idea of “organic” modes of perception. On the one hand there is Stephen’s visual impression. Joyce’s mode of representing Stephen’s sharply differentiated sensory impressions in the Martello Tower scene is refracted through a perceptual matrix enabled by technologies for transmitting and reproducing the real. refuses to take shape. acoustic and visual technologies alike. It came nearer up the staircase.Proust as Theorist of Technological Change 133 observed for a few more moments. Joyce challenges traditional ways of describing movement. No wonder. Haines is apologising for waking us last night. the auditory one. the Gestalt? The passage suggests that Stephen’s perceptual experience of Mulligan’s descent is processed in two different registers. like a good mosey. —Do. The multi-sensory hermeneutic horizon. to represent it in a register that is radically separate from what is seen. the all-embracing Gestalt. still trembling at his soul’s cry. Indeed. then. heard warm running sunlight and in the air behind him friendly words. All of a sudden they are alerted to a sound: A stick struck the door and a voice in the corridor called: —Hockey! . Each is distinct. calling again. Buck Mulligan said. is the whole. It’s all right. each is separate and independent of the other: Buck Mulligan’s voice sang from within the tower. His head disappeared and reappeared. may usefully be considered in the light of those late nineteenthcentury acoustic technologies that mediate the new matrices of perception. Stephen.281–9) What is heard is not joined together with what is seen. (U 1. for Jesus’ sake. Stephen said. and with them. that Joyce’s novel abounds with reified voices and autonomous eyes. turning.

Gradually. and nowhere as palpably as in Joyce. (U 2. Stephen said. the advent of modern technologies of perception fuels the pre-eminently modernist imperative to “make it new” (Ezra Pound). Stephen stays behind with one of the students. once we place Joyce’s mode of representing visual and acoustic impressions alongside the theory of sensory differentiation and reification embedded in Proust’s novel.. we realise the great extent to which the very experiential effects that Proust’s narrator contemplates effectively inscribe some of the most persistent stylistic aspects of Ulysses. as though bypassing screens such as the cortex. At the same time. He stood in the porch and watched the laggard hurry towards the scrappy field where sharp voices were in strife. who needs extra assistance. they blend into so many optical outlines surrounding the stingy headmaster whose hair-colour stands out as a sunny exclamation mark. more specifically. called from the playfield. with the acoustic phenomena issuing from the lumberroom. the passage proceeds to render the students’ sudden movements in all their visual purity. the boys’ voices act on their own. (U 2. sidling out of their benches. ] Their sharp voices cried about [Mr Deasy] on all sides: their many forms closed round him. only to close with sounds.134 Sara Danius They broke asunder. A monument to the autonomy of the eye and the ear.118–22) This stylistically sophisticated miniature scene serves to characterise Stephen’s sensory apparatus. Sargent. the garish sunshine bleaching the honey of his illdyed head. [ . Quickly they were gone and from the lumberroom came the rattle of sticks and clamour of their boots and tongues. Technology emerges as an occasion for launching new idioms: it restructures the prose of the world. Indeed. Joyce’s style thus registers the subterranean effects of those technological events that Proust reflects upon. . spreading their sharp vibrations all the way to the veranda where Stephen is standing. —Sargent! —Run on. Meanwhile his visual impression of the boys’ appearances fades. until In the corridor his name was heard. leaping them. Beginning with a voice stripped of its author. Ulysses is both an index and an enactment of the increasing differentiation of sight and hearing in the modernist period..181–98) Represented as thing-like and autonomous entities. Mr Deasy is calling you.

3. Baumgarten. 257. P. the imperative to make you see and hear is so often an aesthetic end in itself. a concrete. in Margins of Philosophy. I have also relied on Bulfinch’s Mythology (New York: HarperCollins. the sensory body is no longer a universal notion. and this is why. as in “sensation”. GreekEnglish Lexicon. Such a discourse. the increasingly powerful emergence of technologies for reproducing the visual and audible real. The highmodernist aesthetics of perception I have been discussing in this essay thus feeds on a historical irony that is as palpable as it is inevitable: the more abstract the world of observation becomes. NOTES 1. see H. to perceive. Joyce’s aesthetics of perception seeks to name the everyday anew. among other things. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Proust as Theorist of Technological Change 135 yielding opaque signatures that demand to be read and decoded. as in the aesthetic theories of. and a mental sense. Virgil. “The Pit and the Pyramid: Introduction to Hegel’s Semiology”. 1991). Etymologically. ed. trans. . Rushton Fairclough. Goold (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. In pursuing absolute immediacy. with an English translation by H. Scott. But this also means that Joyce’s aesthetics of perception comes into being as a solution to a historical problem—how to recover and represent the immediacy of lived experience in an age when modes of experience are continually reified by. from aisthethai. the more corporeal is the notion of the perceiver. 9th edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press. the meaning of the term “aesthetics” springs out of a cluster of Greek words that designate activities of sensory perception in both a strictly physiological sense. 1996). Kant and Hegel. as I have argued. Georgics. becomes possible in the period which sees the emergence of technologies for reproducing the visual and audible real. in Ulysses. the aesthetic now tends to be located in a particular body. For a full etymological explanation. as in “apprehension”. singular and mortal body. Yves Bonnefoy. revised by G. Wendy Doniger (Chicago: Chicago University Press. And this bodily realm is no longer necessarily of a generalised. p. transcendental order. utterly divorced from processes of knowledge and cognition. Indeed. Joyce’s aesthetics of perceptual immediacy is thus inscribed by a historically specific discourse where the empirical materiality of the body is posited as the privileged site of aesthetics and where perception has become an aesthetically gratifying activity in its own right. pp. Jacques Derrida. Liddell & R. 2. things perceptible by the senses. say. trans. 1991) and Mythologies. G. 1982). 71–108. Aisthetikos derives from aistheta. 1999). Rather.

14–20 et passim. 1800/1900. parts 1–3. see Le Téléphone à la Belle Époque (Brussels: Éditions Libro-Sciences. focusing in particular on Joyce’s “method of fractured and cellular narration and description. . 1990). 109–54. Proust published an expanded version of the episode in a piece on reading in Le Figaro. 82–6. 1999). In 1907. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young & Michael Wutz (Stanford: Stanford University Press. 7. 64). pp. Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken. trans. An early version appears in Jean Santeuil. pp. in One-Way Street and Other Writings. On the genesis of the episode and its vital role in Remembrance. In Spiegel’s view. p. “Le Téléphone: Étude littéraire d’un texte de M. 178–81. 12. 229–64. Gramophone. see History: The Last Things Before the Last (New York: Oxford University Press. Proust”. 2. 1988). see Friedrich Kittler. Film. 6.136 Sara Danius 4. Jean-Yves Tadié et al. 1973). James Joyce. Page references. 10. 5. He then revised the episode once again and made it a part of The Guermantes Way. 49–52. 1987–1989). trans. C. see Jean Santeuil. 1976). 1976]. pp. Michael Metteer. Hans Walter Gabler. 2. ed. pp. trans. 1960). Scott Moncrieff & Terence Kilmartin. Malcolm Bowie. 87–98. 21–114. Alan Spiegel has usefully related Joyce’s visual style to cinematic modes of representation. 8. Freud. pp. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. see Paul Martin. 65. with Wolfhard Steppe & Claus Melchior (New York: Random House. Vol. in: Illuminations. indicate first the English translation (REM) and then the French original (RTP). 92–3. 1986). In Kracauer’s last work. 2. trans. Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality (Princeton: Princeton University Press. Proust’s telephone episode has a rich prehistory. 9. Typewriter. 1982). See Walter Benjamin. of rendering wholes by their parts”. K. p. 1979). Harry Zohn (London: Verso. and “Some Motifs in Baudelaire”. Edmund Jephcott & Kingsley Shorter (London: NLB. Vol. trans. Siegfried Kracauer. ed. with Chris Cullens (Stanford: Stanford University Press. Hannah Arendt. A la recherche du temps perdu. hereafter cited parenthetically in the text. 3 vols (Paris: Gallimard. Information littéraire 21 (1969). this feature represents “the characteristic formal procedure of Joyce’s modernism” (Fiction and the Camera Eye: Visual Consciousness in Film and the Modern Novel [Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. 217–51. 11. “A Small History of Photography”. Proust’s episode also plays an important role. p. Ulysses. in: Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism. Proust and Lacan: Theory as Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 432. 1987). 4 vols (Paris: Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. 1952). Remembrance of Things Past. 135. References cite episode number. in the pages relating Jean’s first telephone conversation with his mother. ed. pp. Vol. See also Kittler’s Discourse Networks. 3 vols (New York: Vintage. 1969). 240–57. Marcel Proust. 233–41. For a cultural history of the gramophone and its impact on notions of acoustic representation. For an inventory of the cultural imaginary of the telephone in Proust’s time. and 22 (1970). followed by line number. pp. 46–52. trans. pp. p.

he tells us how Envy’s fat serpent ‘remplit si complètement sa bouche grande ouverte’ that ‘l’attention de L’Envie—et la nôtre du même coup—tout entière concentrée sur l’action de ses lèvres. A N A L L E G O R I C A L O P E N I N G T he whole of A la recherche du temps perdu is a distension in pursuit of intention. 95). Swann professait pour ces figures de Giotto. Hard to say whether the serpent is moving inwards or outwards. 80. from the Arena chapel in Padua. do not give the child much pleasure: Malgré toute l’admiration que M. and brings on an involuntary and empathetic imitation in those who look at it. 9) 1. When the adult Marcel recollects the impression he had had as a child of Giotto’s Vices and Virtues. ii. among them the figures of Justice and Injustice. But the work of disgorging or being engorged with envy is surely strenuous and painful. tr. (i. © 2000 by Oxford University Press. The images of these allegories. Hard also to say what Envy is. 430. tr.I N G R I D WA S S E N A A R Introduction to Proustian Passions Les ‘quoique’ sont toujours des ‘parce que’ méconnus. je n’eus longtemps aucun plaisir à considérer From Proustian Passions: The Uses of Self-Justification for A la recherche du temps perdu. 137 . from this description. n’a guère de temps à donner à d’envieuses pensées’ (i. i.

In the middle ground between two allegories. however. two chapels. We can certainly feel afraid of Injustice. . i. She says ‘Injustice does not appear to suffer at all. Yet their similarity lies in their indifference. caractérisait certaines jolies bourgeoises pieuses et sèches que je voyais à la messe et dont plusieurs étaient enrôlées d’avance dans les milices de réserve de l’Injustice. Between Justice and Injustice. . but Justice radiates no emotional appeal’ (p. But apart from that it is expressionless. 80–1. And when later in his life the adult narrator of A la recherche meets ‘des incarnations vraiment saintes de la charité active’. The young Marcel. a far cry from the Furies turned to Eumenides by Athena’s persuasive words (and her silky-voiced threat of violence: ‘No need of that. he finds that ‘elles avaient généralement un air allègre. une Justice. for the child Marcel. positif. some kind of dangerous seepage. where they are painted opposite one another. à Combray. separated both temporally and spatially. dont le visage grisâtre et mesquinement régulier était celui-là même qui. she tells us: ‘Her face is benign. Of Justice. overwritten by the mature Marcel.. tr.1 The balanced opposition of Justice and Injustice is a lateral one. as each performs their allotted role. For. These are modern allegories. not here’) as retributive revenge was displaced by distributive justice in Aeschylus’ Oresteia. there is. for the purposes of her liberal political argument in favour of listening to victims. despite their graphic separation in the Scrovegni chapel. 95–6) Envy has her serpent to contend with and so can be contained within the framework of her allegorical representation. (i. sees that tragic contest played out by teams who seem to keep changing sides: ‘enrôlées d’avance dans les milices de réserve’ are the Just who are rehearsing as understudies for the infinitely divisible role of Injustice. in her brilliant essay The Faces of Injustice. 103). où on avait accroché les copies qu’il m’en avait rapportées.138 Ingrid Wassenaar dans notre salle d’études. by many pages of Shklar’s reasoned argument against complacent models of justice that take the wrongdoer’s part over the suffering victim’s. briefly superimposed upon the plan of the Italian chapel (which the narrator of A la recherche has not seen at this moment in the narrative) is the church of Saint-Hilaire.. as one might expect of the impartiality appropriate to a personification of justice. Judith Shklar. he seems completely affectless’ (p. describes Giotto’s Ingiustizia and La Giustizia. 48). Separated by a chapel floor in Italy. there is the confusing opportunity for an agon. and two narratorial voices. rather than the threatening imposition of a vertical hierarchy: they seem to offer a human rather than an ideal choice of moral actions. Justice looks impassively on and Injustice looks impassively aside.

by way of the first-person voice. Justice is aloof. is how are we to judge self-justification? 2. The ‘visage antipathique et sublime de la vraie bonté’ is also indifferent (i. 81. we should perhaps remind ourselves that those telling differences only emerge through an act of interpretation. Proust’s pampered readers and Giotto’s confident viewers. My study sets out the intensive hermeneutic endeavour undertaken by Proust’s narrator to push to its limits the possibilities of self-justification. Shattuck. Bersani. He asks what judgement is. tr. but of studies written about both man and novel. Marcel the child’s confusion over which of the jolies bourgeoises are batting for which moral team is not only a Combray question. or the answers.. 97). and Goodness is a bossy matron. This reminder raises further questions about the approach I have taken to what I have to say about A la recherche du temps perdu. The almost overwhelming difficulty facing Proust’s account-givers and his readers alike is the sheer volume. This book puts forward an important component of the Proustian cognitive and conceptual apparatus. The question.2 It is—or rather Proust is arguing it should be—a question that preoccupies and pervades the entire field of human experience. Beckett. Poulet . On the face of it. which I will take a few moments to answer now. which has not been analysed before. Proust. the list goes on. not only of his own output.. P S Y C H O L O G I S T S . While we. to this question. Seventy-five years after the death of a writer who has taken on the stature of a Shakespeare or a Dante as one of European literature’s ‘greats’. feel sure of being able to tell the difference between these three versions of indifference. and it is the governing question of this study.3 To study the critical texts written about A la recherche is to realize with humility and amazement . rely almost entirely on intimate readings of the text.Introduction to Proustian Passions 139 indifférent et brusque de chirurgien pressé’. Injustice couldn’t care less. indifference will always look the same. reserved for the innocence of unpolluted. has chosen to write a first-person and retrospective fiction. and how we arrive at our judgements. 47. 55). as Proust experiments with them throughout his novel. i. so many brilliant novelists and critics have put forward the vital appraisals of A la recherche by now embedded as the fixed truths about this text: Wilson. i. idealized childhood and its revivification in comforting cups of tisane (i. AND WORDS The terms in which I will put forward the answer. P H I L O S O P H E R S . studies upon studies of these things. tr. and the consequences of which show A la recherche du temps perdu to be an impressive contribution to ethical debate. C R I T I C S . we hardly need reminding.

Vinteuil. Elstir. a set of keywords which mean Proust: madeleine. honourable. Dreyfus Affair. mère.140 Ingrid Wassenaar how well Proust’s novel was read even in the fizz of publishing hype during and just after his lifetime. a sophisticated. to justify itself. rebuff. because of all this interest in the novel. There is. along the lines of Alan Turing’s notorious Halting Problem. are x further justifications of that statement’. well-read. Here. of course. true? How to make the balance work between telling subjective and unverifiable truths. of boring a reader by going on at such length about one life? What of the strategies of persuasion by which a writer might try or expect to keep such a reader’s interest. Time. shuttled constantly between novelist and narrator. nervous. no one seemed to be answering to my satisfaction a very basic question: was this a morally good or bad decision? Proust’s novel is a vast. while every critic. What more remains to be said? To propose a new study of A la recherche du temps perdu seems like an act of wilful idiocy. Another kind of response. No firm foundation for truth or reliability is on offer. might be ‘I knew you were going to ask me to justify my self-justification “but I didn’t mean to hurt you”. therefore shifting the focus of his novel with explosive force into the subjective mode. we must take on trust that the ‘I’ tells the truth. A secondary and biographical swathe: snob. jeunes filles. a Proust currency. for it raises difficult theoretical issues about the limits of answering questions about self-justification using the material of self-justification. Swann. leisured point of view. before you say anything else. grand-mère. I did x because I love you’. fears. contestation. Bergotte. If you ask a piece of self-justification such as ‘but I didn’t mean to hurt you’. or a further piece of self-justification? One kind of answer would be ‘I didn’t mean to hurt you. however. rejection? How much mileage might there be in a narrative strategy which sought to take account pre-emptively of all such counter-arguments: a supreme effort to work out a foolproof method of ensuring a reader’s trust by accommodating all her suspicions. The emphasis has been brought to bear upon the credibility of ‘I’ as a criterion for trustworthiness. and either accept or reject the answer. and allowing for counter-critique. neurotic. That much is perfectly clear. or make her believe the account worthwhile. the . jealousy. would you get an answer with a firm foundation. jealous. But what of the fear. minutely wrought exposition of what the world looks like from one point of view. addresses the issue of Proust’s choosing to write in the first person. social satirist. highly textured. homosexual. crowd around behind. Yet. mémoire involontaire. and hostility into the very point of view she might reject? This series of questions becomes more interesting with every further addition and permutation of it. and so here.

theoretical concepts and methods have been considered and appropriated from a wide range of recent critical thinkers. In this book. mobility. Attempts to confront and head off this selfjustificatory work of redistribution will themselves cause further evasion.Introduction to Proustian Passions 141 emphasis has been shifted onto the statement. internal division. By the same token. while it would prove the undoubted misogyny in the novel. and meaning-bearing emphasis to useful-looking parts of verbal utterances. to psychoanalysis. and should offer ourselves a dispensation from worry about them ahead of time. for example. because we would not be able to bracket lies and self-interest out of their ‘answers’. no one ready-made critical methodology. It also seems to rule out of account the very subjectiveness. But such a definition takes no account of the variety of such speech acts. to narratology. away from the ‘I’.4 The answer to the moral problem of self-justification. might. and to writers on Proust whose aims have seemed. would. might introduce its own problems. without allegiance being sworn to any. interpretation. nor from the testimony of any of his friends. in the course of researching the concept of self-justification. Figuring the inquiring reader as a listener. of course. would not necessarily be able to answer questions about how judgements are made or should be made. then. if there is one. Straightaway we can see that acts of self-justification work hard to attribute and distribute intention. Discovering how to judge whether or not self-talk is justifiable. however. and multiplication: like chasing mercury droplets around a petri dish with a knife and fork. seemed to me mobile or dynamic enough to generate a satisfactory answer about Proustian self-justification. to offer a springboard to my own. or whether there are in fact important differences between them. of what it is to . A feminist reading of A la recherche. in attempts to escape censure and judgement through apparent exposure. Reference has been made to broadly structuralist and post-structuralist writers. in hearing how a series of different kinds of linguistic experiment is set up to monitor either selfjustification or its by-products in language. in discovering that which it had sought. the messiness. but we will deal with these as we proceed. is clearly not going to come from Proust himself. yet lie in listening to the way in which that question itself is treated within the confines of A la recherche du temps perdu. Any single explicit hermeneutic methodology (even if such an illusory beast were to exist) applied onto the text of A la recherche du temps perdu would sooner or later run up against its own formal constraints. or interpretative toolkit. recover merely its own original premises. nor from his correspondence. Self-justification describes a special area of speech act typified by the attempt to persuade a listener of the speaker’s credibility.

‘On Simple Theories of a Complex World’. flexible. of the kind that Proust undertakes in A la recherche du temps perdu. most unfortunately reinforces the oft-touted idea that Proustian subjectivity is all about being bound up in a nostalgic contemplation of personal past. and then are constrained by further experiment to add another parameter. I will be reading with an awareness that a first-person retrospective narrative implicitly seeks. W.142 Ingrid Wassenaar persuade. and that of putting a process back together.’6 This is the kind of vision of Proust’s writing which. to my mind. in reconstructing a teleology which has already unfolded. or become very interested indeed in why certain kinds of experiment seem to throw up repetitious rather than different answers. vécus et revécus dans la simultanéité intermittente de toute une vie. Yet experimental research into the linguistic functioning of the moi.. such as ‘if the earth is flat then we might fall off its edge’. and we should not be afraid to work with the problems it will cause us. V. This is not to be interpreted as a licence to produce only simple hypotheses. both in the sense of recalling a process. à des âges fort différents. of not being believed. we are likely to view the emendation not as a refutation of the first result but as a confirmation plus a refinement’ (p. semblent-ils vécus. to be prepared to modify. to gather material for assessment. 245). non comme de purs moments. So the desire itself (to find out more about the functioning of self-justification inside Proust’s novel) is what should encourage us to listen flexibly to the workings of the text. positively demands this kind of scientific protocol. the pain of neediness. and just how much self-justification might be going on in the world. the sheer hard work that might go into finding watertight justifications for dubious actions. the arguments that might ensue. and dynamic methodology is its undoubted potential to wander down garden paths. The obvious drawback to this kind of adaptive. points out some ‘causes for supposing that the simpler hypothesis stands the better chance of confirmation’.5 He notes that if ‘we encompass a set of data with a hypothesis involving the fewest possible parameters.. à la fois. It also runs the risk of nudging A la recherche into the category of book in which other subjectivities count only for the material they might offer an experience- . or abandon experiments. to remember it. or fall into drowning pools of doubt and curlicues of minute adjustment. mais dans la densité mouvante du temps sphérique. but it does remind us to avoid putting all our own hypothetical parameters into one pre-emptive basket before hearing how Proust conducts his self-justificatory experiments. Blanchot reads this as Proust’s search to experience a quasi-mystical simultaneity of different temporalities: ‘certains épisodes . Quine’s brilliant four-page essay.

even conflicting agencies. but it should not be allowed to take over all forms of argument about A la recherche. But Proust himself does so much work with these aspects of human cognitive functioning that. it is enough to carry it with us as we read. No work on Proust can entirely avoid the question of who is speaking and when. Sartre’s brief comments brilliantly summarize and orchestrate one of the central questions that Proust experiments with in his work. où chacun peut se reconnaître: c’est que ces réactions appartiennent à la ‘nature’ générale du psychique. Sartre. de sa passivité. C’est pourquoi la pure description introspective de soi ne livre aucun caractère: le héros de Proust ‘n’a pas’ de caractère directement saisissable.7 I do not intend to repeat the work of that important analysis here. des émotions. etc. unless we are very careful. A la recherche du temps perdu responds only partially to such a description. de la liaison singulière chez lui de l’amour et de l’argent) c’est que nous interprétons les . non thématiquement et non thétiquement. in 1943. As commentators have been at pains to analyse. comme un ensemble de réactions générales et communes à tous les hommes (‘mécanismes’ de la passion. dans l’épreuve qu’elle fait de sa propre contingence et dans la néantisation par quoi elle reconnaît et dépasse sa facticité. Nostalgia and introspection have their part to play in the Proustian psyche. Once we have seen and understood the elasticity and mobility built into Proust’s use of the narratorial convention. La conscience ne connaît point son caractère—à moins de se déterminer réflexivement à partir du point de vue de l’autre—elle l’existe [sic] en pure indistinction. the Proustian narratorial voice is itself composed of many.). and to be prepared at times to signal instances of special relevance to points in hand about self-justificatory activity. ordre d’apparition des souvenirs. I will quote Sartre’s points in full: le caractère n’a d’existence distincte qu’à titre d’objet de connaissance pour autrui. sometimes ambiguously differentiated. en tant qu’il est conscient de luimême. Si nous arrivons (comme l’a tenté Abraham dans son livre sur Proust) à déterminer le caractère du héros proustien (à propos par exemple de sa faiblesse. even loving descriptions of his writing can come to sound like apologies for it.Introduction to Proustian Passions 143 hoarding introspective first-person consciousness. and used as an exemplary literary text Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu. offered the following analysis of what is meant by caractère. il se livre d’abord.

9 What has been so coruscatingly pinpointed is the agonizing fulcrum across which the Proustian narrator—in all of his temporal manifestations. the narratorial selves (Héros.144 Ingrid Wassenaar données brutes: nous prenons sur elles un point de vue extérieur. s’identifie au héros de roman. c’est-à-dire des auteurs français qui ont entrepris une psychologie objective et sociale. and independent statuses of. suivant l’optique générale de la lecture. Auteur. when the narrator is seen no longer as everyman. le caractère de ‘Marcel’ lui échappe. il n’existe pas à ce niveau. itself misses Sartre’s point. que si je considère le livre non plus comme un confident. when studying works of confessional fiction. possibly hysterical. Mais ceci nécessite un recul: tant que le lecteur. Il n’apparaît que si je brise la complicité qui m’unit à l’écrivain. moods. and agencies—and the reader of first-person confessional texts are delicately poised and interlocked. but my argument. neurasthenic. nous les comparons et nous tentons d’en dégager des relations permanentes et objectives. Character appears only when complicity is broken. does not attempt to construct a new narratology of A la recherche. Ce caractère n’existe donc que sur le plan du pourautrui et c’est la raison pour laquelle les maximes et les descriptions des ‘moralistes’. to what we might term a rhetoric of reliability. but his criticism of it. and it is upon these relationships and the kinds of processes they inaugurate that my study focuses. mieux encore: comme un document. as the narratologist Gérard Genette so convincingly demonstrates. Homme. The main point I take from Genette’s work is that great attention must be paid.10 Genette’s tough-minded and careful attention to the workings of Proust’s narrative offer a sound methodological principle informing the way in which I read. mieux. these terms seem to deprive the first-person narrative of its relationships to external objects and selves. Sujet Intermédiaire. Protagoniste. in showing how self-justification works and is put to work. whether in or beyond the confines of the text. that Sartre’s comments are applicable to any first-person narrative. but as a particular. A . Narrateur. A retrospective first-person novel. Signataire). when reader–narrator identificatory patterns and cycles and compulsions are undone. Grateful as we must be to Muller for offering Proust criticism a multipartite taxonomy formalizing the interconnections between. Écrivain.8 Marcel Muller quotes this passage. will both manipulate and suffer from periodic attacks of prolepsis and paralepsis. mais comme une confidence. ne se recouvrent jamais avec l’expérience vécue du sujet. would-be novelist. Romancier. and therefore miss the specificity of ‘le véritable secret du je proustien’.

unsettled subjects’. deprivation.12 Dennis Foster reads the act of confession by focusing on the aspect of complicity between confessing subject and listener: for Foster. particularly the mother. particularly as it is objectified through language. although. masturbation. and not its generic history or histories. rather than the desire to confess guilt. in other parts of his introduction. It would hardly constitute a discovery to announce that Proust wrote about guilt at ambivalence felt towards parents. then. which I want to retain. Fromentin’s Dominique. but yearns for the wider claim that such truth should be a universal truth. It is. but that representation of the self. or histoire). He goes on: ‘By “subject” I do not mean an autonomous.Introduction to Proustian Passions 145 temptation is automatically built into the reconstructive narrative enterprise to produce an improved and stylized version of the lost original (experience. such as Lejeune’s disturbingly smug essay on narcissism. because it is the confessional mode. as it were. and . centred being that founds the individual. and autobiography. Constant’s Adolphe. Gide’s récits: all are characterized by. on guilt as prime motivation for confession is not part of my definition of self-justification. is the desire to avoid pain. Rousseau’s similarly titled Les Confessions. Like the genre of autobiography. some kinds of self-justification might very well take the form of a confession of guilt. The subject is that aspect of the self available to understanding. but we should take a moment to see why the answer to self-justification does not.11 I deliberately blur the distinction between the three genres here. confession narratives. which detains me: my focus is the human speaking subject in the movement and moment of offering a justification for his or her actions. although Foster’s emphasis. but these have tended to stay at the level of the subjective or individual quest for ‘self-discovery’. or motives—or indeed the attempts he or she might make to conceal them. The main prompting for an act of self-justification. confessional narrative takes place ‘between two substantial. and to be included in an intertextual history of. intentions. I define self-justification as an act of speech seeking pre-emptively to ward off attack which the subject fears might take the form of exclusion. lie with the mother. undeniably. rejection. first person retrospective fiction. Nor would there be much of an argument in the assertion that A la recherche is a justification of Marcel Proust’s life to his mother. Augustine’s Confessions. thoughts. first-person retrospective fiction strives to tell the truth of subjective experience. psychoanalytic criticism of A la recherche that has been most concerned with the novel’s questions of morality. abandonment. I will attempt to avoid that particularly well-trodden significatory matrix. of course.’13 This is a useful working definition of the speaking subject.

157–63. Too many psychoanalytic readings of A la recherche concentrate on such maternally directed. which seeks to demonstrate ‘how fantasies and repressed drives are born of a lexical coincidence rationalized into semantic identity’. guilt-riddled early nuggets of the Proustian textual palimpsest as ‘La Confession d’une jeune fille’.15 Riffaterre’s work. and was caught in the act by the injured lady. Doubrovsky’s La Place de la madeleine. consorted with prostitutes. and ‘Sentiments filiaux d’un parricide’. can quickly seem less like analysis than meddling. reading these in combination with the Montjouvain scene (i. though in love with his wife. during a visit to Versailles. Hence.20 But apart from telling us little about the way Proust’s writing behaves. or Baudry’s work. misogynistic muddling.146 Ingrid Wassenaar creativity. ‘Avant la nuit’. 190–7).’18 The list of ghostly avant-textes which might be (and are) triumphantly held aloft as proof of Marcel Proust’s ambivalence towards his mother goes on and on. tr.16 These kinds of readings see enormous significance in the 1906 idée de pièce given to René Peter. this sketch for a play has: ‘a preposterous but significant plot. i.19 These early texts are basically seized upon to license psychoanalytic readings informing us that Proust’s ‘œuvre faisait de lui sa propre mère’. encouraged them to answer in kind. by Andromeda that opposes desirability in man and terror in woman. whereupon he committed suicide. with a typically bluff yet apologetic tone. a friend of Debussy’s. about a sadistic husband who. the underlying . such as Riffaterre’s work on the ‘Med-’ tag: Add to this linguistic mechanism the diegesis of the myth. Hence the displacement of androgyne. top it with the homophony of Andromeda’s last syllables and Medusa’s first. or worse. a valorization of the mediating last syllables (meda) made into an egregious symbol of unhappy or dangerous femininity.14 Their other main manifestation is as readings of castration/artistic sterility complexes. a play project also mentioned in a letter to Reynaldo Hahn. who left him. and we understand how easy it is for the -medmorpheme to stand for woman and for the monstrous or negative component in the sign system designating a woman. add the interplay of Andromeda and the monster. the strand as the stage of a plight common to her and to the jellyfish turned monstrous woman. within which man and woman were united but equal.17 As Painter notes in his biography. said infamous things about her to them. a terror suffered or a terror inflicted.

This. even if it is couched in the terms of seemingly objective or neutral criticism. Marcel is perfectly open about both the sources which might inspire him to write a novel. and the difficulties of maintaining personal selfbelief and public credibility when those sources are revealed as being entirely subjective: . which deconstructive literary criticism is at pains to expose and question. that autobiographers are to be sternly told off for thus dallying with their readers’ sympathies. or the unwarranted hostility with which they sometimes treat literary texts. however. If psychoanalytic readings of A la recherche do not tempt me as a methodological approach.21 The careful attention de Man pays to rhetorical tropes in the genre of autobiographical confession. It is precisely the foundationalist aspiration written into any first-person fiction or autobiography. Autobiography criticism.22 While the careful textual analysis of these thinkers attracts me. do not. tends to pounce triumphantly on evidence of self-justification. For Proust. in A la recherche. or of constituting selfhood as some whole and totalizable entity or quantity in writing. is part of a welcome return to the study of rhetoric in literary criticism generally. for subjective truth to be apodictic or universal truth. Self-justificatory moments are. however fleetingly. especially deconstructive criticism of autobiography. might be deconstructive literary criticism. this time one which certainly does not run the risk of leaving figural stones unturned. such a moral high tone. using the Giotto allegories) that Proust inscribes his text with its own unreadability. love-denying Mother. or do not know that they will always fail to know themselves. in general for this type of criticism. which looks at key childhood incidents in Rousseau’s autobiography. After all. then perhaps another critical discourse to step inside.Introduction to Proustian Passions 147 misogyny at work in this kind of criticism risks reducing literary critical psychoanalytic discourse itself to a dubious grudge against what might be termed a Gestalt ready-made of the obstinately absent. in ‘Excuses (Confessions)’. Self-justificatory moments can tend to function for deconstructive criticism as proof that autobiographers do not know themselves. some of the best deconstructive criticism remains Paul de Man’s demonstration (again. and that it is the task of deconstruction to unmask and reprimand this underhand connivance. the aporia in which they sometimes find their endings. however. begs the whole fascinating question of why acts of selfjustification attract such scapegoating. held to offer proof that the subject of autobiography has acknowledged. the impossibility of telling the truth about the self.

Chercher? pas seulement: créer. rather than seeking to read across its span.24 Deconstructive analyses of A la recherche. I will bring some of Freud’s metapsychological thinking into what I argue about self-justification. earlier rough drafts so usefully published in the most recent Pléiade edition of A la recherche in the form of Esquisses.23 The triumph of textual blind spots and their location can. lead to a type of complexity in critical writing which has not arisen in the texts themselves. suspicious of genetic criticism. together with vast tracts of it that are never read critically. which is a failure to allow the texts it reads to speak and be heard. however. I am in general. solitary withdrawal. There is complexity enough in Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu. Having spoken at such length about what I will not be doing. with all the risks of experimental failure that such a venture entails. With that in mind. Deconstruction has its own blind spot. i. on the other hand. Il est en face de quelque chose qui n’est pas encore et que seul il peut réaliser. This is certainly a study about psychological processes but it is also a phenomenological study that considers very closely the relations dramatized and given signification between speaking subjects and a variety of object-types. tr. however. 52) Deconstruction is certainly not a nihilistic or sceptical enterprise.25 I will also have occasion to look at genetic material. offers sometimes astonishing points of purchase on Proust’s narrative experimentation. Blanchot strays perhaps too near a repetition of the early understanding of A la recherche. and wistfulness. of focusing too narrowly on only a handful of incidents in the text. since the task of sifting through variants sometimes results in readings which cannot move easily between early drafts and an interpretation of the ‘final’ state of a given text. without some willingness in the critic to be confused and moved by literary texts. sometimes for comparative and sometimes for analytical purposes. which decided the novel was a celebration of interiority. Indeed in recent years.148 Ingrid Wassenaar Grave incertitude. much thought has gone into its potential as an ethical discourse. (i. puis faire entrer dans sa lumière. too often repeat the problem. toutes les fois que l’esprit se sent dépassé par luimême. and the sense of these two important points is another part of what motivates my study. le chercheur. est tout ensemble le pays obscur où il doit chercher et où tout son bagage ne lui sera de rien. quand lui. 45. Freud’s willingness as a thinker to undertake speculative forays into the wilder hinterlands of mental functioning. But as a text-handling . it is perhaps time to return to what will be included. also that of much psychoanalytic writing on this text.

par des arguments’ (1368.. exculpation. verification’. It denotes the ‘action de justifier quelqu’un. a judicial sense (‘the showing or maintaining in court that one had sufficient reason for doing that which he is called to answer. or freed from the penalty of sin. un sentiment)’. raison. compte. vindication of oneself or another. conforme à la justice’ (rare. signifies ‘rendre juste. apologie. preuve. and accounted or made righteous by God’). par la grâce’. excuse. generated as an adjunct to the vast editorial operation of producing a variorum edition such as the new Pléiade Proust.J U S T I F I C AT I O N Self-justification finds its definition. réel. Ordonnances des Roys de France). Autojustification. Justifier. the noun justification stands generally for the ‘action of justifying or showing something to be just. with appearances of Justificaciun around 1120.. makes its lexicographical début only in the midtwentieth century. argument. A S H O RT H I S T O RY OF S E L F . Le Grand Robert tells us that the noun justification comes from the medieval theological Latin justificatio. Justification also signifies. and the same use in printing (1672) as its translation has in French. de se justifier’. . ‘le fait de se justifier soimême’.26 3. ‘confirmer (un jugement. juste. and ‘montrer comme vrai. ‘faire admettre. ‘rendre (quelque chose) légitime’ (towards 1585). Its theological usage is as the ‘rétablissement du pécheur en l’état d’innocence. 1564).Introduction to Proustian Passions 149 theory of some rigour. such justification being a work continuous and progressive from its initiation’ (my emphasis). a circumstance affording grounds for such a plea’. In English. while Roman Catholic theologians ‘hold that it consists in man’s being made really righteous by infusion of grace. ‘innocenter (quelqu’un) en expliquant sa conduite’. the ‘action de donner aux lignes la longueur requise’. ‘longueur d’une ligne d’impression. définie par le nombre de caractères’. subsumed under the definitions given of justification. défense. From around 1521. through imputation of Christ’s righteousness’. The OED tells us that ‘Protestant theologians regard justification as an act of grace .27 It also has specific theological connotations (‘the action whereby man is justified. the expression justifier une ligne means ‘la mettre à la longueur requise au moyen de blancs’. it forces readers of A la recherche to bear in mind the fragility of any idea that texts are ‘finished’. in the world of book-printing. Its synonyms include décharge. right. the transitive verb. in French as in English. explication. or proper. ou s’efforcer de faire reconnaître comme juste’ (seventeenth century).

the influential experimental psychologist. and that God was the operator of some kind of correspondence between external objects and human ideas. as just one among many of the forms the latter might take. qu’on avait raison de dire ce qu’on a dit. in order to classify (but in the process. Ribot. Both Malebranche and Ribot examine justification from the perspective. he held that God was the sole cause and source of divine reason. scientist. writing two centuries later. But he also held. is keen to delineate a strict compartmentalization of the reasoning produced by different kinds of affect. We should bear in mind.28 Théodule Ribot (1839–1916). 552). His definition goes on: ‘Puis. The ‘self ’ is treated as one more unit to be shifted from a minus to a plus rating by the activity of justification. he starts with the assumption . refutation. and seems to have come to be used for a situation in which self-defence. but of its connection to the workings of reason. that self-justification is a term with an active philosophical as well as a psychological history. for lexicographers. however. par affaiblissement du sens primitif. distribute moral worth to) psychological functioning. that the human will is free. They have no equipment to deal with the rigours of self-justification—Proust effortlessly goes on building it. Malebranche is interested in how we make reasons for ourselves to support feelings. has apparently lost its medieval emphasis on justice. In ‘Que toutes les passions se justifient’. Lalande gives as his examples two thinkers. to a certain degree. soit logique). en montrant qu’on est dans son droit (soit moral. Nicolas Malebranche. The limitations and exclusions which comfortably shield Malebranche and Ribot are essentially Proust’s starting-point.29 Understanding their views is crucial to discovering how Proust deals with this slippery concept. then. ou de faire ce qu’on a fait’ (i. not of its linguistic manifestations. se dit de tout acte par lequel on réfute une imputation ou même par lequel on la devance. theologian. of how we construct a mental foundation to suit our underlying desires. and philosopher (1638–1715). André Lalande’s 1926 Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie tells us that the primitive use of justification was to ‘rendre ou de se rendre juste’. subsequently refers to Malebranche’s writing when discussing justification in La Logique des sentiments. albeit a fragmentary one.150 Ingrid Wassenaar Self-justification is thus neatly contained. surpassing our own imperfect reason. considers justification in De la recherche de la vérité. Although an admirer of Descartes. by the definition of justification. Justification. since it serves to emphasize how revolutionary Proust’s treatment of self-justification is. in other words. or pre-emptive assertion of any kind take place in language. Malebranche did not make a distinction between faith and reason.

The difference between esprit and imagination turns out to have. 146). et qu’il se trouve toujours récompensé [de quelque plaisir]. qui la disposent à vouloir jouir ou user des choses qui ne sont point en sa puissance’ (p. by allowing the gender of esprit to signify a personality-type: that of the henpecked man. lorsqu’il s’accommode à ses desseins’ (p. since l’esprit can form no judgements by itself: ‘l’esprit ne peut concevoir que la chaleur et la saveur soient des . having fallen a prey to les esprits. into alignment with the audience to whom the ensuing discussion is addressed. qu’il lui obéit toujours lorsqu’elle est échauffée. His categories of mental functioning are thus also implicitly anthropomorphized and thrust into a narrative context of the amorous relation. or the dynamic of justification. In fact. A continuous circuit must be set up. when actually a split has been introduced into the conception of ‘one’ that relies on the French grammatical tradition of gendering nouns: that part of ‘one’ which is esprit is implicitly also ‘masculine’. Il n’ose lui répondre lorsqu’elle est en fureur. first of all creates and then disowns désir.Introduction to Proustian Passions 151 that human desire. The discussion seems to proceed from the assumption that no one is exempt from justification’s effects. Malebranche’s seemingly general introduction relies on exclusion. Positive moral judgements thus become a function of the plaisir that the ‘objet de nos passions’ affords us. in order to achieve its ends (those of pleasure) in human actions. The justificatory circuit must operate independently once it has been set up. et désavantageusement. In this triangular structure. in order that supporting moral judgement may continue to prompt the step between impulse and action in the world. His introduction enacts a mini-allegory: ‘L’esprit est tellement esclave de l’imagination. his aim is apparently to expose the dependencies that exist. There is still Malebranche’s argument to follow. parce qu’elle le maltraite s’il résiste. 146). while that which is imagination is implicitly feminized. humorous introductory allegory neatly shifts its author out of the line of fire. si c’est un désir d’amour. not a universal. but that are disguised. seeks justification from reason. the âme. But let us not be too concerned for the moment with the difficulties of finding a neutral language in which to speak about mental functioning. once ignited. Building upon his model of the cringing esprit. between the promptings of désir. and the judgements that are passed in order that désir may be satisfied and also securely justified: ‘le désir nous doit porter par luimême à juger avantageusement de son objet. Le désir d’amour est un mouvement de l’âme excité par les esprits. in which it is desire’s responsibility to act as dynamic current. but an ideological bent: the self-effacing. si c’est un désir d’aversion.

‘il est très facile de reconnaître par la raison. ‘Le désir de savoir’ is another name for curiosité. (p. refuses to declare itself the real initiator of the justificatory loop. et qui éblouit facilement l’esprit par l’éclat que la passion y attache’ (p. Yet by the same token.152 Ingrid Wassenaar manières d’être d’un corps’ (p. it is simultaneously. Malebranche tries to make this complex and highly allusive model work by turning to empirical examples: ‘L’expérience prouve assez ces choses. Desire takes over responsibility from the esprits and even from passion. is unable to make a subjective link between an object and its inherent moral worth. is still supposed to be able to judge in a detached manner the justificatory judgements it has itself offered desire. Toutes celles qui se peuvent souffrir contribuent fidèlement à leur mutuelle conservation. This would seem clear enough. from which it is simultaneously deriving justifications to support the actions of the âme. and for calculating the étendue (p. has ‘quelque endroit qui brille à l’imagination. It is judged by raison. he maintains. 147). Ainsi. in opposition to the esprits. 147). Precisely because raison. which has been excité par les esprits. Malebranche asserts. Reason. quels peuvent être les jugements que les passions qui nous agitent forment en nous’ (p. les jugements qui justifient le désir qu’on a pour les langues ou pour telle autre chose qu’il vous plaira. for instigating moral judgements. Every form of knowledge. 147). A discursive switch shifts the argument from the erotic to an apparently neutral epistemological domain: ‘le désir de savoir. my emphasis) . devient souvent un vice très dangereux par les faux jugements qui l’accompagnent’ (p. The most serious impediment to detached reasoning. on the other hand. 147). tout juste et tout raisonnable qu’il est en lui-même. Désir finds itself helplessly in the middle. et en cela elle s’accommode parfaitement avec la raison’ (p. is when an animating passion ‘se sent mourir’. sont incessamment sollicités et pleinement confirmés par toutes les passions qui ne lui sont pas contraires. but his most important point is yet to come. because it seems to contract ‘une espèce d’alliance avec toutes les autres passions qui peuvent la secourir dans sa faiblesse’: Car les passions ne sont point indifférentes les unes pour les autres. 149). 149. Yet the âme. but the light of truth only appears when passion subsides. the perfect instrument for recognizing a situation in which desire has initiated the judgement-forming circuit. 147) of the judgements and thus the violence of the desire. and Malebranche adopts the position of the moraliste to condemn its falsifying dangers. for Malebranche.

reason and the âme would suddenly be deprived of their mutually beneficial but unacknowledged relationship. But the very impressiveness and dynamism of this textual demonstration do much to undermine his careful progression towards rejecting justification as a corrupting influence on reasoning. The responsibility for the functioning and maintenance of this circuit can then be disowned by both the âme and raison. il est accompagné de courage. de colère et de plusieurs autres passions qui forment à leur tour des jugements dans une variété infinie. or power failure. If the desiring circuit were to suffer some kind of intermittent fault. desire is expected to keep a circuit going between the âme and raison. the former by pretending to be passive. In Malebranche’s justification model. however. the only judgement it would be able to obtain from reason would be one agreeing that possession of the desired object was a real possibility. not always justificatory. in other words. by being released from the pestering by desire for justificatory reasoning. which was supplying the âme with justificatory reasoning for the pursuit of its goal. The two components of mental functioning would be linked. Malebranche represents mutuelle conservation as an irritating side-effect introduced by the passions. If the passion of desire operated on its own. (p. or death. d’émulation. which is why other types of link. he argues. And we might speculate that. only by indifference. it is too closely imitative of a state of inertia.Introduction to Proustian Passions 153 It is this mutuelle conservation of passions which is the real source of danger to reason. to be borne. Yet this mutual conservation practised by the passions might have much more to tell us about human survival than moralizing disapproval can allow into its modelling. Reason benefits. lesquels se succèdent les uns aux autres et soutiennent ce désir qui les a fait naître. are imported as soon as possible to replace it. il est fortifié par l’espérance. 150) Stylistically the most impressive sentence in Malebranche’s text. paradoxically. and the âme benefits from that justificatory reasoning. however short this period of linkage of âme and raison by indifference. the latter by pretending to be detached. by splitting désir into a fully interconnecting set of moving passion parts. a kind of desiring short-circuit. passion would only be able to slip the most basic feasibility study past reason: Mais le désir est animé par l’amour. il est augmenté par la joie. since to approve it would sound too much like approving justification over reason. . it also complexifies the dynamic looping it has described desire as performing. il est renouvelé par la crainte.

non selon ce qu’elles sont en elles-mêmes afin que l’esprit prononce un jugement de vérité. And when Malebranche. we find his text meshed up in what it had seemed merely to be describing from an external perspective: Si [l’]on considère maintenant quelle peut être la constitution des fibres du cerveau. (p. He uses a physiological model of how sense impressions travel to the brain. l’agitation et l’abondance des esprits et du sang dans les différents sexes et dans les différents âges. par conséquent. Malebranche suddenly seems to deny the sophisticated interconnective cognitive .. 150): [Ils plient] et rompent même quelquefois par leur cours impétueux les fibres du cerveau. flesh. 151) In wanting justification to be read off from physiology. Ainsi les passions agissent sur l’imagination. et. in order to propose a kind of empirical sociological study which would divide people into different kinds of justifying groups. tries to leap clear of his own language. il sera assez facile de connaître à peu près à quelles passions certaines personnes sont plus sujettes. et l’imagination corrompue fait effort contre la raison en lui représentant à toute heure les choses. and language. whose text so successfully enacts the interdependence of explanatory metaphor with what it seeks to explain. (p. No firm purchase seems possible upon either a purely material explanation of the workings of the brain. et l’imagination en demeure [longtemps] salie et corrompue.154 Ingrid Wassenaar The final section of Malebranche’s discussion of justification is at once uncannily astute and highly suspect. car [les plaies du cerveau ne se reprennent pas aisément. ses traces ne se ferment pas à cause que les esprits y passent sans cesse] .. quels sont les jugements qu’elles forment des objets. 150) This fascinating model of interconnection between a neurological and a moral vision of the human mind remains inextricably involved in the rhetorical and metaphoric signifying systems by which it is represented. Explanation is suspended between spirit. ‘d’une manière propre à former des traces profondes qui représentent cet objet’ (p.. mais selon ce qu’elles sont par rapport à la passion présente afin qu’il porte un jugement qui la favorise. or upon the explanatory metaphors by which names for these workings also escape back into theological and moral interpretative traditions.

Malgré quelques apparences de rationalisme. Théodule Ribot. imaginatif. Justification. Malebranche has been caught in his own self-justificatory noose. 146). the act of justification had been an animating. la plus enfantine. Il s’ensuit une rupture d’équilibre mental qui appelle un remède. the âme to reason. or interfered with by doubt. Justification. For Malebranche. le doute la traverse au moins par moments. He calls justification’s tenacity ‘une manifestation partielle de l’instinct de la conservation’ (p. who later concentrated on psychopathology. In La Logique des sentiments. et par la conduite de ceux que l’on voit agités de quelque passion: il suffit de l’exposer afin qu’on y fasse réflexion’ (p. 111). he says. Ribot’s emphasis): ‘Mais si inébranlable qu’elle paraisse. ‘la plus simple. His starting-point had been empirical: ‘Il n’est pas nécessaire de faire de grands raisonnements pour démontrer que toutes les passions se justifient. of how the passions justify themseves. that of physiology. C’est le raisonnement de justification’ (p. is what happens when our instinct for selfpreservation is overcome. Malebranche’s exposition of justification fails by screening out the writer and intended readership. The croyance aveugle which causes the justificatory act. is itself prompted by a need for ‘l’affirmation de l’individu dans son désir et son sentir les plus intimes’ (p. His argument implodes when he tries to make cognitive models fit with the physical brain. he seeks to divide affective modes of reasoning into five distinct groups: ‘passionnel. however inappropriately. has required speculative leaps of investigative imagination. inconscient. justificatif. if corrupting. 111). But for Ribot. instead of functioning as the connective circuitry between two kinds of mental . writing in Proust’s lifetime. 112). he asserts. 111). III. Ribot sneers. His conclusion tries to rejoin a supposedly empirical science. For Ribot. and brave conclusions about cognitive modelling. Le raisonnement de justification est nettement téléologique. because there is no flexibility in his model which would allow in subjectivity.Introduction to Proustian Passions 155 modelling he has just been attempting. ce principe est assez évident par le sentiment intérieur que nous avons de nous-mêmes. mixte ou composite’. profers a very different reading of justification. exactly the opposite is true: justification appears to be an agent of death and destruction in human reasoning. or his exposure. philosopher and experimental psychologist. Yet his exposition.30 ‘Le raisonnement de justification’ opens with a categorical and unambiguous denigration of this kind of affective reasoning: it is. il appartient au type affectif pur se manifestant dans sa plus grande pauvreté’ (p. la plus banale de toutes’ (p. influence connecting. justification is: ‘engendrée par une croyance ferme et sincère qui se refuse à être troublée et aspire au repos.

dissimulée sous cet appareil logique. theologians. They try to work backwards. is here the name given only to what causes ruptures and intermittences in mental circuitry. and philosophers. and religious faith. parce que l’édifice logique. as it did for Malebranche. mais ils essaient de les justifier’ (p. 114) . theoretical moralizing. Nietzsche of falling into the same dialectic trap which the latter accuses Kant of doing: Dans tous les cas de ce genre. guide vers une fin posée d’avance’ (p. irréprochable. On s’y trompe. (p. They wish to found their thought on a priori concepts that do not need empirical justification. take the events thrown at the world by God. 113). 113). La structure du raisonnement est ferme. ils déclarent que les voies de la Providence sont impénétrables. ‘le raisonnement de justification est sans cesse en action’ (p. so that they can continue to cling to their belief systems. however. une préférence individuelle. ‘Les vrais croyants’. Ribot takes as examples political fervour. n’a pas les apparences naïves du raisonnement affectif où le dénouement est connu d’avance. apparently. He argues that moral thinkers rely on ‘une tendance maîtresse. for example. on the other hand. are all prey to this. people with persecution complexes. he does not intend to pursue a line of reasoning which would take him into an examination of the unconscious prejudice affecting all so-called pretence at scientific objectivity: historians. he says. although he is willing to assert that justificatory reasoning operates at the same pitch in both the sane and the mad. elle est servante. 112). La logique de la raison semble maîtresse. to go further into this subject. because his study is ‘consacré au raisonnement affectif ’ (p. and interpret them according to a fixed pattern: ‘Sans s’inquiéter d’un double illogisme. 113). mais c’est un état d’âme extra-rationnel qui a l’initiative et la haute direction. He accuses.156 Ingrid Wassenaar functioning. Ce qui paraît démonstration n’est que justification. une subjectivité qui. desire and reason. He refuses. to the quicksands of reasoning among aliénés. en réalité. A sudden shift takes place in Ribot’s argument here. and yet smuggle in subjective and teleological material along the way of their reasoning. justifying disaster after the event. an assertion which would seem to require more qualification: is justificatory reasoning. sans lacunes. a function of insanity? Might the states of madness and health be linked through justificatory reasoning? He next asserts that. For them. bâti par des ouvriers habiles et subtils. from the relatively safe ground of people he calls normal (but justificatory). then. la forme est celle de la logique rationnelle.

whose combination does not result in a self-reflexive flow. the exclusive omniscient.Introduction to Proustian Passions 157 His final section is a grudging afterthought on raisonnement de consolation. but ‘le simulacre de raisonnement qui le constitue reste vivace dans toutes les formes de condoléance journalière’ (p. and a description of it as parasitic on the poorest kind of rationality. It consists in ‘la mise en valeur d’états passés ou futurs propres à compenser le présent’ (p. Ribot himself? This is wildness of a totalitarian kind. yet reduced to a precarious foothold in serious danger of undermining itself so completely that it too disappears into the gulf left by the implosion of philosophy. and Ribot the psychologist who strives to hold at bay a threatening component of mental functioning. 115). the more complex and multi-jointed the concept becomes. Ribot dispenses with an entire area of human activity. Ribot has no hesitation in using an accusatory language which hopes to place justification well outside his own position as arbiter and judge. As part of Proust’s exposure to and immersion in a long history of philosophy and psychology. ‘tis false. the whole of philosophy. no one at all. knows how to think. these two close commentators on my governing concept are also part of the overall history of ideas soundlessly informing A la recherche du temps perdu and against which the novel project slowly took shape. which is ‘né du besoin de trouver un remède à la douleur morale’ (p. There is a good reason for having examined so deeply two bad analyses of self-justification. In Ribot’s short essay. may . la quantité de vie et d’énergie perdues’. disturbingly persuasive in its scathing sweeps. Justificatory reasoning. and the more its separable but interconnected forms and parts rebound on Ribot’s text. Casually. Except perhaps the one man left standing. in order to combat the effects of ‘les malheurs de l’existence’ (p. 115). 115). His own logic relies explicitly on separation: his very attempt at divisive categories of affective reasoning demonstrates his belief that language consists in neutral semantic units.31 Malebranche the philosopher who tolerates but gently mocks a conceptual category of reasoning. The genre of compensatory writing. and misery. indeed the activity of thought attempts of any kind. our everyday dealings with pain. he proceeds to undermine his own statement with every succeeding example brought in. which starts to mean more than its producer intended. 114): ‘un effort pour restituer. he attributes to Seneca and other rhetoricians. even if it helps soothe pain? Away with it. The more categories he includes as using justificatory procedures to obtain their ends. No one. the ‘Consolation’. seems to disappear into an underworld of impossibility. But beginning with unequivocal rejection of the concept. par des moyens artificiels. sorrow.

the Dreyfus Affair. or consumer. or reader. completion is arrived at by satisfactorily arranging the presentation of the artwork. and his concurrent or retrospective writing about it. articulated and then run to ground the multiform modes of a very particular set of cognitive functions and relations. The perfectionism injected into the whole course of the Proustian narrator’s experience. monocles. for Conrad.’34 For Marcel. to tell us how far we have already come in getting to grips with the concept of self-justification. he has rigorously analysed. The first is a kind of bookmark. is vitally different from Conrad’s: for Proust. as we will hear. Proust. or viewer. 4. How then am I going to show you self-justification in action? Making use of the new Pléiade edition of A la recherche du temps perdu. and to which the main missing ingredient supplied by Proust’s rigorous investigation of justification is. ontological considerations are inextricably meshed with empirical methods of analysis. comme toute philosophie vraie. though it is a very felicitous ‘of course’. à justifier. Proust.’33 Proust’s emphasis. it is an ontological drive which spurs him to completion. general. has thus built into his narrator’s perfectionism its own greatest blind spot. is massive. he says. ‘toute ma philosophie revient. of course. but it is a self-directed one. à reconstruire ce qui est. ‘Au fond’. very precisely. Among the plethora of other lustrous subjects Proust inspects: the functioning of Time. and my second point.158 Ingrid Wassenaar be seen as two kinds of hook holding up the intellectual backdrop upon which Proust’s experimentation in subjectivity is conducted. manacles. ‘A work that aspires. which translates. to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line. A N I N T R O D U C T O RY O V E RV I E W OF THE STUDY I need to make just two more points before going on to summarize my book’s argument. Conrad’s is local. Wittgenstein puts it this way: ‘Justification by experience comes to an end. the calle of Venice. the workings of Memory. the language of flowers.’32 Conrad’s injunction to the artist seems to refer to a perfectionism which is also bound up in the relation between the art-maker and the artreceiver. self. attitudes. If it did not it would not be justification. has a similar note. measured. total. sometime in the murky Contre Sainte-Beuve gestation period of 1908–9. Brunet’s . at this melting-pot period out of which emerges a firstperson narrator. Their analysis contributes a set of thoughts. however humbly. into a powerful capacity to split open apparently stable justifications into their component self-justificatory parts. the needs met and dispatched by Habit. the Pompeian Métro. a goad and a goal. and terminologies which will recur as the study proceeds. focused.

in other words. but ultimately interconnected. They look. clearly. while justifying himself to the outside world can be seen as a learnable skill. rather than announcing triumphantly that there are digressions in the novel. selfjustification in relation to the discovery of homosexuality at the beginning of Sodome et Gomorrhe. that most unlikely of domains for research purposes. and painful line of argument from parties to people. Alarmingly. it is not far from seductive play to defensive strategy of avoidance or evasion. The first section examines the workings of three of the set-piece salon and soirée scenes. even a necessary defence mechanism. however. Party-going. between group functioning and relationships with individuals. psychological and moral experiments upon the possibilities offered by self-justification.Introduction to Proustian Passions 159 concordance of the novel. to the extent that admission to inadequacy opens a channel for the admission of alterity. and enables the transmission of sound but not of light. My model shows how self-justification works in two directions in A la recherche. Digression is the subject of Chapter 2. at rhetoric. a temporary screen which divides spaces internally. metaphor. each conducting separate. The second part of the book divides into three subsections. which demonstrates Marcel’s investigative skills but also the site of their potential failure. occupying large swathes of Le Côté de Guermantes and Sodome et Gomorrhe. digression is a trope which builds a seductive play into rhetorical organization. One of the most beloved of Proustian stylistic features. in bald terms. The cloison is a semi-permeable partition. based on imitation and disguise. This line of argument that moves via the bulges of digression in A la recherche resolves itself in the third chapter into a model for self-justification. other questions arise from its study. Stopping in the middle of digressions. Chapter 3 shows how. The figure of the cloison is suggested as a focus of narratorial engagement with an intimate external reality. Le Vocabulaire de Proust. and characterization. enables us to pursue a surprising. mental states prone to blockage. yields up some strange selfjustificatory performances which are almost always passed over or giggled at without their vital significance as notes on acceptability being analysed. They are also. it is the purpose of this study to show the contents of various Proustian textual laboratories. and the electronic concordancing capacities of FRANTEXT (both of which are based on the previous 1954 Pléiade edition of the text). If self-justification towards an external world perceived as intolerant and indifferent is clearly important in A la recherche. Vulnerability and doubt might be said to facilitate a dynamic engagement with the outside world. linguistic. or the narrator’s realization that he has lost a source of .35 The book divides into three parts. It is used in the text both figurally and literally.

Marcel mourns Albertine throughout Albertine disparue in a solitary narrative of distress. and reveals how Proust allows the different aspects of selfjustification to fuse. in due course. But when all of these external means of measurement are removed. delicate attention to Proust’s use of language. Aeschylus. and promoted. then. or one-dimensional. outside the narrator: mindstuff he can see or hear. continues work begun in the cloison chapter. Perhaps the most noteworthy of recent times is Serge Doubrovsky’s psychoanalytic account. And. so to speak. self-justification has been safely contained as something that happens to other people. These will be conclusions first about what Proust has written. l. Marcel Proust: The Fictions of Life and of Art (1965). the claims that Proust makes about the uses of selfjustification. 839. The first two sections of the study. We now have a great deal of evidence about self-justification going on. turn out to represent a potential threat to the narratorial self. The final subsection. self-justification takes on an entirely new aspect. Proust (1965). This is a very new vision of how A la recherche du temps perdu works. It investigates a particular difficulty apparent in the matter of Proust’s characterization. . Characters in the text who seem at first sight straightforwardly comic. with devastating results. Vital as the madeleine moment is. So far.160 Ingrid Wassenaar unconditional love with the death of his grandmother. I do not intend to dwell upon it in this study. to question the safety of that detached spectacle. Axel’s Castle (1931). as they are presented in the text. NOTES 1. L’Espace proustien (2nd edn. Roger Shattuck. an investigation of the processes of mourning is undertaken. along with the profoundly important narratological work carried out by Gérard Genette. 2. Georges Poulet. Proust’s Binoculars (1964). It is a section of the text rarely analysed. 1982). Samuel Beckett. an epistemological and hermeneutic dilemma on active duty in the novel. hints at its potential to mutate into wilful self-protection. 3. however. show how Marcel justifies himself in relation to external criteria. In the final section of the argument. Too many others have preceded me. Edmund Wilson. and only very occasionally feel. my conclusions are about how literature makes an impact upon the world only and precisely to the extent that it arises from intimacy with the world. The Oresteia: The Eumenides. will themselves suggest some deeply troubling and painful conclusions. Leo Bersani. La Place de la madeleine (1974). and we will need to spend some time considering what Marcel does about this. In the second place. which has done a great deal to direct psychoanalytic literary criticism away from ‘psychobiography’.

La Porte étroite in 1909. Freud et l’autre (1984). Jean-Paul Sartre. ed. however. La Nuit (1958). 397. such as ‘Proust palimpseste’. Le Pacte autobiographique (1975) and his Je est un autre (1980). and ‘Proust et le langage indirect’. 7. 14. see e. A novella suppressed from Les Plaisirs et les jours was L’Indifférent (1896). To be found. 245. CSB 150–9 (based on the van Blarenberghe matricide in 1907). see ‘Métonymie chez Proust’. c. for more detailed analysis of the genre of autobiography in France and Europe than I can give here: Philippe Lejeune. psychoanalysis and deconstruction. 12. Philippe Lejeune. Compare also ‘Violante ou la mondanité’ (1892). Les Voix narratives.g. 223–94. affecting different parts or stages of the machinery. Le Temps sensible (1994). 6. 398–9. 15–16. Jean-Louis Baudry. 9. and epistemological constraints within which he seems to be functioning). and La Symphonie pastorale in 1919. Austin’s ‘A Plea for Excuses’. For more of Genette’s narratological work on Proust. for ‘paralepsis’ (here the narrator knowing too much for the formal. Les Voix narratives dans la recherche du temps perdu (1983). Autobiography has fascinating siblings in witness or testament narrative. Figures III (1972). Michel Foucault is the obligatory starting-point for critique of confession. Confession and Complicity in Narrative (1987). drawing its methodologies particularly from speech act theory. pp. and his Les Rêveries du promeneur solitaire and three dialogues.. which the excuses consequently pick out and sort out for us’ (p. Paul Jay. JS 167–70 (1893). 11. L’Être et le néant (1943). ‘Compelling Reader Responses’. Figures III. 41–63. but also other essays. John Sturrock. Rousseau’s monumental Les Confessions. See Gérard Genette. Figures II (1969).Introduction to Proustian Passions 161 4. 32–3.). Philip Kolb (Gallimard. Kristeva’s interest is in the name of its . French Autobiography (1993). La Volonté de savoir (1976). Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques supplemented this vast autobiographical exercise. Michael Sheringham. particularly of the Holocaust. Fromentin’s Dominique was first published in serial form in La Revue des Deux Mondes (April–May 1862). various excuses are of radically different kinds. 16. Being in the Text (1984). see Histoire de la sexualité. André Gide published L’Immoraliste in 1902. 10. Philosophical Papers (1961). Genette’s own neologism. See principally Marcel Muller. which has received renewed interest recently. 100. 21–3. For ‘prolepsis’ (anticipation). appeared posthumously from 1782. 3. Foster. Le Livre à venir (1959). Compare J. See The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays (1966). Augustine’s Confessions. See. Dennis A. 1978). JS 29–37. Austin points out that flaws in linguistic functioning show how that functioning takes place: ‘the breakdowns signalized by . Elie Wiesel. This is an ever more fully theorized (and circumscribed) critical field. in A. i. in JS 85–96 (written between 1892 and 1895. Maurice Blanchot. composed between 1764 and 1770. temporal. 82. Europe (1971). see pp. 13. see p. 211–12. Michael Riffaterre. and of course the much more detailed ‘Discours du récit’ in the same book. 8. 65–273. Benjamin Constant’s Adolphe was published in 1816. Figures I (1966). Proust. Bennet (ed. 5. 15. respectively.L. See Julia Kristeva. 39–67. 128). for Les Plaisirs et les jours).. Reading Reading (1993).. ‘Écriture et sexualité’. The Language of Autobiography (1993).

to Gabriel Tarde’s resolutely cultural interpretation of society. for an excellent summary and analysis of Proust’s exposure to contemporary philosophy and psychology through his school and university education. 153–231. ii. 1906 (Corr. . 22.. MLN 94 (1979). See Kristeva. naturally. Freud. sa vie même et avait altéré celles de sa mère’ ( JS 871). 27. justification -em. De la recherche de la vérité (1674–5). 33. Marcel Proust (1990). 19. his essay. 64. 309. fusion. Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française. 89 (1996). perhaps the immediate source). vi. See Malcolm Bowie. ‘Que toutes les passions se justifient. Here is Proust’s comment on the reversible transmission of characteristics between mother and son in Jean Santeuil: ‘Peu à peu. The Ethics of Deconstruction (1992). 21. 16669. 5th edn. devoted to the subject. etc. 1920). De Man. 1914). Le Temps sensible. see Jean-Yves Tadié. 29. Antoine Compagnon demonstrates how casually ingrained this maternal guilt topos has become in readings of Proust’s work. A measure of the recent interest in the critical and theoretical possibilities offered by genetic criticism can be seen in the publication of an issue of Yale French Studies. who suffers from a man’s indifference (because of his secret obsession with brothels and prostitutes): it is. in Augustine. avait insinué en elle son intelligence. publ. 160–5). ‘Apostrophe’. 20. 3. 31. Marcel Proust: The Critical Heritage (1989). 111). 307–37. Jonathan Culler has also written brilliantly on individual rhetorical devices. preface. fr. For responses by contemporary writers. Théodule Ribot. p. 3 vols. and complementarity. 278–301. For a good overview of early responses to Proust’s writing. Baudry. André Lalande. with uncritical commentary on Proust’s so-called Baudelairean fascination with the love–hate maternal relationship (see Proust entre deux siècles (1989). George D. N. 919–30. See Baudry. 7 (1977). 59–69. les mœurs. Allegories of Reading (1979). ii. See among other writings. Proust. 111–15 (p. Alcan. Proust. Genesis is the organ of the Institut des Textes et Manuscrits Modernes (ITEM/CNRS). on prosopopoeia as the trope of autobiography. 32. 146–51. 1962). Proust (1983). Freud. Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie (1993). ‘Le Raisonnement de justification’. i. Painter. 28. 18. 17. diacritics. Madeleine. an exposure which took in a range of approaches from the idealism of Schopenhauer’s concentration on Will. for an example of this trend. a. 127). la vie. for excellent analysis of these points of theoretical crossover. 30. 25. (Vrin.). in CSB as part of ‘Notes sur la littérature et la critique’. See. See the journal series Bulletin d’informations proustiennes. In ‘Reading (Proust)’. French justification (in Godefroy. et des jugements qu’elles [nous] font [faire] pour leur justification’. Freud.162 Ingrid Wassenaar heroine. Joseph Conrad. 26. ses mœurs. See also ‘Autobiography as De-Facement’. 41. comparable with the 12th-cent. Cahier 29. 552. The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ (1897. 24. Nicolas Malebranche. Proust and Lacan (1987). Allegories of Reading. La Logique des sentiments (1906. It comes from late Latin. ce fils dont elle avait voulu former l’intelligence. 18 or 19 Sept. 23. 57–78.. 29. see Leighton Hodson (ed. Simon Critchley.

FRANTEXT has an extremely useful concordancing programme. (1983). of A la recherche. At this time. the only difficulty is the subsequent pagereferencing work required in order to locate the word-pattern discoveries in the 1987–9 edn. Lists of pertinent quotations may then be conveniently downloaded and studied. E. verb declensions. Philosophical Investigations. M. 3 Its use as a labourand time-saving device cannot be over-estimated. §485. (Gallimard.Introduction to Proustian Passions 163 34. but also for word clusters. tr. G. FRANTEXT Base de données textuelles du francais (http://www. Internet. a publishing event that cannot be far off. Online. A la recherche du temps perdu. The concordancing programme can search not only for single-word instances. 136. Marcel Proust. Le Vocabulaire de Proust. 35. Étienne Brunet. Anscombe (1953). 1954). Ludwig Wittgenstein. 3 vols. and collocations. . with esquisses.ciril. but this will be resolved when the first CD-ROM hypertext edition of the text is put together.


the Jewish daughter of a wealthy Parisian family. an unfailing sense of humour. Dr Adrien Proust. was large. Marcel was born the following July at Uncle Louis Weil’s estate at Auteuil where Jeanne’s family usually spent the summer months. a middle-aged Catholic bachelor. Marcel’s mother possessed a lively mind. C A RT E R The Vast Structure of Recollection: from Life to Literature n Paris. married Jeanne Weil. a grocer’s son originally from the small provincial town of Illiers. a profound appreciation of literature and music. including a drawing room with a grand piano and a billiard room where the family sometimes slept to keep cool during heat waves. built of quarrystones. as news of the humiliating defeat of the French by the invading Prussian army at Sedan spread throughout the capital. 3 September 1870. dark-haired woman was fifteen years younger than the bridegroom. with spacious rooms. edited by Richard Bales. The house. Adrien had recently risen to the top ranks in public health administration and Jeanne’s family had many connections in official circles. 165 . combined with common I From The Cambridge Companion to Proust. on Saturday.1 In fine weather Louis and his guests enjoyed the large garden with a pond surrounded by hawthorn trees. No one knows how they met. but it is likely they were introduced at a government sponsored event or social gathering. the beautiful. At twenty-one. whose blossoms Marcel was also to admire in his other uncle. Jules Amiot’s garden in Illiers. © 2001 by Cambridge University Press.W I L L I A M C .

representing it. When Marcel was older. Adèle. les dos laineux et gris des maisons rassemblées.. quand on approchait. et. 47) [Combray at a distance .] (I. even if poorly understood at first.. tenant serrés autour de sa haute mante sombre. Élisabeth. leading to a large white gate that opened onto fields of blue cornflowers and . Carter sense and a firm belief in traditional bourgeois values. during the Easter holidays. supervised his cultural education. after a section of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. 56/65) Jules indulged his passion for horticulture by creating a large pleasure garden. provide the child’s mind with healthy nourishment that will later benefit him. where they changed trains for the short ride to Illiers. Jean’s mother believes that good books. contre le vent. Adrien’s sister. de loin . In Jean Santeuil. It was to the Amiots’ house in the rue du Saint-Esprit that Adrien returned with his wife and two young sons. comme une pastoure ses brebis. on the open plain. Illiers was contained in its steeple. just beyond the banks of the gently flowing Loir River. Jeanne and her mother. On the south end of the garden a magnificent row of hawthorn trees rose up a slope. gathering close about its long dark cloak. parlant d’elle et pour elle aux lointains. was no more than a church epitomising the town. had married Jules Amiot. Seen from afar as the train approached. sheltering from the wind. place du Marché. the woolly grey backs of its huddled houses. n’était qu’une église résumant la ville. and as one drew near. who operated a successful notions shop in Illiers at 14. of which he acquired a special understanding and appreciation. his mother and grandmother read with him the great seventeenth-century works. Corneille’s Horace and Hugo’s Contemplations. He called it the Pré Catelan. He came to love the tragedies of Jean Racine. en plein champ. when the town was at its best. Marcel and Robert. speaking of it and for it to the horizon. offering wild flowers and trees in bloom that Marcel adored. exposing him to what they considered the best works in literature.166 William C. just as is Combray in the Search: Combray. The Prousts travelled by rail from Paris to Chartres.. as a shepherdess gathers her sheep. destructive jealousy haunts the pages of In Search of Lost Time. Her influence would be the most important in Proust’s life. (I. opposite the church of Saint-Jacques. whose masterpiece Phèdre in its depiction of obsessive. la représentant.. the mother initiates Jean into the love of poetry by reading to him from Lamartine’s Méditations.

On either wall behind the altar stands a wooden statue of a saint above whose heads are placed scallop shells. it was the steeple of Saint-Jacques. who often played in the Bois near Auteuil. whose hilly terrain is ravined by streams rolling down to feed the Loir River. symbol of a key revelation in the Narrator’s quest to find his vocation as a writer. for the child Narrator. when he described the cakes in the Search: ‘the little scallop-shell of pastry. so richly sensual under its severe. in the Middle Ages. As Adrien and his boys made their way back from Tansonville. Adrien took his sons on walks to show them where he had played as a child. He pointed out how two different topographies join at Illiers: the Beauce.From Life to Literature 167 brilliant red poppies fanning out to the west and south on the plain towards Méréglise and the château of Tansonville. as it moves westward. that inspired Combray. 54/63). Proust would remember the connection between the pilgrims and the madeleines. He took the name of the old mill. meets Le Perche. I. which makes her a more likely model for the hypochondriacal Aunt Léonie in the Search than Élisabeth Amiot. Marcel spied on Mirougrain. The name held in common by the two principal gardens of his childhood may have provided the first linking in Marcel’s mind of the two spaces. but used the setting and atmosphere of Mirougrain for the lesbian love scene between Vinteuil’s . Such shells are the emblem of Saint James (Jacques in French) and. The Pré Catelan became the model in Swann’s Way for Charles Swann’s park at Tansonville near Combray. religious folds’ (I. The shells also provide the form of the little cakes known as madeleines. for his Illiers uncle to name his own garden after the one in Paris. The church of Saint Jacques was a stopping point on the route to Spain.2 It must have seemed natural to Marcel. Marcel visited his elderly grandmother Proust who lived in a modest apartment. Proust remembered the impressions evoked by this mysterious dwelling later when creating the composer Vinteuil’s house in the Search. were worn by the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. two separate worlds. the large manor house built on a slope overlooking a water-lily pond. 46. a flat. Proust later used a motif from the church’s sculpted wood as one of the most powerful symbols of his art. In Illiers. Relatively little is known about her except that she was an invalid cared for by an old servant. The defining features of Combray’s fictional topography approximate those of Illiers where the two walks—one the landscape of an ideal plain. that beckoned them home. Montjouvin. windy plain that. appearing now and then in the sky as they mounted a hillock or rounded a bend. the other a captivating river view—embody. generally considered the original. Auteuil and Illiers. On his walks through the river country north of Illiers.

Méréglise. It was probably during the fall visit of 1886 to Illiers that Marcel. p. as part of the material out of which he constructed Combray. he is particularly upset. but the usually stern father intervenes and capriciously tells her to stay with the boy. A story that Proust wrote in his early twenties depicts the goodnight kiss drama from his childhood.3 In ‘La Confession d’une jeune fille’ [‘A Girl’s Confession’].4 This is the prototype of the crucial goodnight kiss scene in the Search that sets in motion the Narrator’s long quest to regain his lost will and become a creative person. Carter daughter and her friend. dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. que je ne m’endormais plus à force de la rappeler pour me dire bonsoir encore’ ( JS. Montjouvin. Saint-Hilaire. Her mother. at fifteen. On nights when company prevents her from coming to his room. incredulous at the easy violation of a strict rule. generally thought to have taken place at Auteuil. who happened to catch the daughter and visitor in a passionate embrace. fell dead from the shock. loving relationship with her mother. because due to my calling her back to say goodnight again and again I could never go to sleep’]. This scene illustrates how Proust eventually learned to make his private demons serve the plot and structure of his novel. coming each evening to her bed to kiss her goodnight. The Norman Conquest of England. like Marcel. he waits up for her and then implores her to remain with him.168 William C. He will spend the rest of his life trying to recover the will he lost that night and to expiate the wrong done to his mother. such as Tansonville. were to live in Proust’s memory and imagination. a woman. The names of the streets. old inns. considered a masterpiece . He had brought along Augustin Thierry’s history. dreaded more than anything separation from her mother. manor houses and ruined churches of Illiers and its surroundings. her mother left her every summer at a country home. feels guilty for having caused his mother to abandon her convictions. the mother used to spend two days with her. it is the mother’s habit to give the child Narrator one last kiss before going to bed. knew that he wanted to be a writer. she recalls her childhood and the tender. Before departing. with slight alterations or none at all.86) [‘it caused me too much pleasure and too much pain. rue de l’Oiseau flesché. She does not want to yield to his nervous anxiety. Although she had given up her lewd behaviour to become engaged to a fine young man. On one such night. As the girl lies dying. The child. until he used them. confesses her weakness that led to tragedy. Until she reached fifteen. she succumbed one evening to the temptations offered by an attractive guest. In the Search. a place that exists only in his book. a custom the mother had to abandon because ‘j’y trouvais trop de plaisir et trop de peine. The child.

(I. to expend the accumulated energy in every direction. he is incapable of doing so. I cried aloud in my enthusiasm. the situation is the same.) In the final version. zut. he was captivated. felt the need to let go.178–9.) [I read. I went out. pp. quelque temps qu’il fît. brandishing my furled umbrella: ‘Gosh.’ Mais en même temps je sentis que mon devoir eût été de ne pas m’en tenir à ces mots opaques et de tâcher de voir plus clair dans mon ravissement. used with variations throughout the Search: he tells us in dazzling prose about his inability to write! Voyant sur l’eau et à la face du mur un pâle sourire répondre au sourire du ciel. as he walks through the forest. He expels his pent-up energy and frustrations by shouting and beating the trees with his umbrella. which in the long spell of immobility while reading for hours. zut. and on the surface of the wall. je m’écriai dans mon enthousiasme en brandissant mon parapluie refermé: ‘Zut. Proust evokes this reading in the context of the Narrator’s visit to Combray: Je lisais dans la ‘salle’ au coin du feu la ‘Conquête de l’Angleterre par les Normands’ d’Augustin Thierry. picturesque narration. gosh. that despite his great desire to express himself as forcefully as the authors he loves.] (Translation mine. The passage illustrates one of Proust’s most successful narrative tricks. no matter what the weather: my body. in the ‘living room’ by the fireside. je sortais: mon corps resté immobile pendant ces heures de lecture où le mouvement de mes idées l’agitait sur place pour ainsi dire.From Life to Literature 169 of historical narration. Augustin Thierry’s The Norman Conquest of England. when suddenly released. gosh. was like a wound up top which. when I tired of reading. but the book is unspecified. As he read page after page of vivid. était comme une toupie qui soudain lâchée a besoin de dépenser dans tous les sens la vitesse accumulée. puis quand j’étais fatigué du livre. . zut. The Narrator realises. during which the movement of my ideas kept it moving in place so to speak. In an early draft of Du côté de chez Swann. a pallid smile responding to the smiling sky. ( Textes retrouvés. then. 153) [Seeing upon the water.

p. This practice. both models for the Search’s La Berma. 10–11). only nineteen and already successful as a composer and performer. Many of his adolescent letters are remarkable because he used them. He played roles and assigned different attitudes to his friends. both successful Jews who moved at ease in the art world and in high society and who served as models for Charles Swann. Madeleine. combined with his extraordinary sensitivity. Marcel received invitations to Paris’s leading salons where he met many prominent socialites. He wrote classmates letters expressing affection. 175. the profound meaning of the impressions stored up during his walks. winsome smile whom he remembered as ‘the intoxication and despair of my childhood’ and one of ‘the great loves of my life’ (see Corr. but to endeavour to see more clearly into the sources of my rapture. often attended. After high school. At Madeleine Lemaire’s salon Proust met aristocrats. as a mature writer. such as Charles Ephrussi and Charles Haas. In Jean Santeuil. multifaceted characters. 194). he began creating fascinating.170 William C. served him well when. offered her guests the occasion to listen to Paris’s most celebrated composers. nothing mattered more than the afternoon trek to the garden to find the ‘pretty. I. where Proust describes his infatuation. who insisted . but to analyse his feelings and try to comprehend his motivations and those of his classmates. Marcel met Marie de Benardaky and fell in love. And he had made an invaluable discovery: he must devote his life to literature. Soon he and Marcel were inseparable. But how? And what would he write about? One day while playing in the garden along the Champs-Élysées. exuberant’ girl with the open. Jules Massenet. His crush on her evolved into the Narrator’s adolescent love for Gilberte. Marie appears with her real name ( JS.46). Here Proust met the darkly handsome Reynaldo Hahn. begun at such a young age. 186/219) The ebullience Marcel felt during such readings created in him an urge to uncover and express the hidden secrets. One might hear Camille Saint-Saëns. not simply to express his emotions. recriminations and invitations to have sex (see Selected Letters. Jules Lemaître and Anatole France. Celebrated actors Sarah Bernhardt and Réjane. XVII. Once he met Marie. Carter gosh!’ But at the same time I felt that I was in duty bound not to content myself with these unilluminating words. or Gabriel Fauré at the piano playing their own works or accompanying a singer. which allowed him to put himself in another’s place. as did writers Pierre Loti. who loved music. artists and political figures.] (I. But Marcel was not attracted solely to girls. Madeleine.

and critic. irascible count to be kind to the intimidated youth. without being aware of it. the disdainful. In L’Indifférent. dans une convulsion.. Madeleine introduced Proust to Robert de Montesquiou and begged the conceited. Montesquiou. does not realise how essential to life is the air that swells his chest so gently . reminded him of the sheer terror that overtook him when he learned that his mother was leaving on a trip and. during a high fever or a convulsion. qu’il lutte. over the years. est essentiel à sa vie. artist. he starts to suffocate? His entire being will struggle desperately to stay alive. Between his twentieth and twenty-fifth birthdays. it was inseparable.. vituperative. provided the primary model for Proust’s domineering hostess Mme Verdurin. recognising Marcel’s potential as an admiring disciple. refers to the members of her salon as the ‘faithful’.. poet. ne sait pas combien l’air qui gonfle si doucement sa poitrine . Vient-il. unbeknownst to him. These stories present important themes that were fully developed and orchestrated in the mature novel. The count. first experienced by Proust at age ten. who. eventually—when he had become so dependent on her presence— even when she came to kiss him good night. homosexual Baron de Charlus. But what happens if. c’est presque pour sa vie.5 [A child who has been breathing since birth. L’Indifférent tells the story of Madeleine who falls helplessly in love with Lepré.. arbiter of taste and epitome of aristocratic hauteur. illustrated by Madeleine Lemaire and prefaced by Anatole France. Proust wrote many stories that were published in reviews or in the volume Les Plaisirs et les jours.) Asthma. with the major ingredients for one of his most famous characters. He likened an asthmatic child’s experience of breathlessness to the feeling of panic and doom that overcomes the lover upon learning that the beloved is to depart on a long voyage: Un enfant qui depuis sa naissance respire sans y avoir jamais pris garde. pendant un accès de fièvre. to recapture his lost tranquillity that will return only with the air from which. like Lemaire. supplied Proust. c’est pour sa tranquillité perdue qu’il ne retrouvera qu’avec l’air duquel il ne la savait pas inséparable. invited him to call.] (My translation. a man who cannot return . Marcel described the fear of imminent death from suffocation. a novella about desire.From Life to Literature 171 upon silence during performances. à étouffer? Dans l’effort désespéré de son être.

In ‘L’Éventail’ [‘The Fan’] a lady paints on a fan memories of her salon. Among those with truly artistic natures. illustrated by the minor art of fan painting. Before dying. In these early stories. where Proust became the first novelist to depict the continuum of human sexual expression. who swears she has always been faithful. But. Proust’s favourite from his early years. a wise and just man. Françoise observes that Socrates. prefers to seduce servant girls. a highly eligible bachelor who. she shoots herself. rather than making a good marriage and settling down. These justifications for homosexual desire are refined and expanded in the Search. follow the . Carter her affection. Françoise’s final justification for such love is aesthetic. an artist in a minor genre. states his main theme: time lost—and regained. A similar trait is given to Swann. She finally learns that he leads a secret life that explains his indifference to decent women. This remark transforms Honoré. like the heroine of ‘La Confession d’une jeune fille’. and. like the fan painter. was Proust’s first published work about a future major theme in the Search: same-sex love. Proust treated themes that he was to develop until they became uniquely his. The character Françoise incarnates and legitimises homosexuality. written in 1893. Since both female and male bodies can be beautiful. Chez les natures vraiment artistes l’attraction ou la répulsion physique est modifiée par la contemplation du beau’ ( JS. it is no more immoral for a woman to find pleasure with another woman than with a man.. Proust remained. physical attraction or repulsion is modified by the contemplation of beauty’: my translation]. secret liaison. This notion of moments rescued from oblivion. a ‘little universe . with whom he has enjoyed a passionate. He can only make love to prostitutes. until he was nearly forty. she argues that when the purpose of lovemaking is not procreative. A gentleman friend tells him that Françoise is easy to possess.172 William C. tolerated homosexuality. there can be no ‘hierarchy among sterile loves’. that we shall never see again’. ‘Avant la nuit’ [‘Before Nightfall’].170) [‘a woman who is truly an artist should not fall in love with another woman. therefore. possesses the dynamics of nearly all the erotic relationships in the Search. ‘La Fin de la jalousie’ [‘The End of Jealousy’] focuses on another major Proustian preoccupation. there is no reason why ‘une femme vraiment artiste ne serait pas amoureuse d’une femme.. but too arduous in her affairs. rendering exquisite little pieces that might easily go unnoticed. Swann’s obsession with Odette and the Narrator’s with Albertine. p. Honore is in love with Françoise. This story. After acknowledging the superiority of procreative love. The two most fully developed of these. whom he pursues relentlessly. who becomes extremely jealous and interrogates Françoise.

. quand le soleil baissait avec la mer devant soi. sa faim. vacationing in Brittany. Marcel and Reynaldo.. provoked by the smell of a seaside villa where he and his family had vacationed: Toute cette vie. son sommeil. reached the village of Beg-Meil where. de cette mer d’autrefois. ses ennuis. It was here that Marcel most likely began drafting Jean Santeuil. when the sun was setting and the sea stretched out before him. and felt its charm.398–9) [Looking at the sea (at this hour it had almost the appearance of the sea) at the end of the road .From Life to Literature 173 pattern of emotions that bind Honoré and Françoise. that life in Brittany which he had thought useless and unusable. Et soudain toute cette vie de là-bas qu’il croyait inutile et inutilisée lui apparaît charmante et belle . In a flash. pp.. Jean then recalls a similar experience. when he suddenly sees the lake: En apercevant ainsi la mer (c’est presque la mer à cette heure-là) au bout de la route . ses . One day Jean is driving through farmland near Geneva. ses projets. is a painter.. qu’il en sent le charme. ( JS. The lies that Honoré tells Françoise. In 1895. an American expatriate.6 A text combining Proust’s impressions of Beg-Meil and Lake Geneva sketches a key theme: the phenomenon of memory ignited by a physical sensation. ses essais de jouissance sensuelle .. they found a small hotel. Proust’s encounter with Thomas Alexander Harrison.. like Harrison.. the examination of which leads him to conclude that our true nature lies outside time. Et voici qu’il la voit belle. are the models for Swann’s jealous interrogations of Odette and the Narrator’s of Albertine. containing both the past and now.]7 Then he wonders about the nature of the extraordinary phenomenon he is experiencing and sees that what the poet needs to feed his imagination is memory experienced in the present. ses tentatives de jouissance esthétique et leur échec. on a hill overlooking the sea... inspired the character known as the writer C.. toutes ses attentes. Jean suddenly remembered. en la retrouvant là devant lui. appeared before his eyes in all its charm and beauty . Jean s’est aussitôt souvenu. aspects of whom Proust would use in the Search for Elstir who. He saw it before him as the very sea he once had known. son insomnie. as he attempts to trick her into making revelations.

through time. unconscious accumulation of memories. Proust wrote to thank Marie Nordlinger for her Christmas card. cette odeur a enveloppé tout cela. comme notre âme l’a en notre corps. les parfums du thé et des mimosas nous réapparaissent enduits du miel délicieux de notre personnalité que nous y avons inconsciemment déposée pendant des années. He spoke first about Christmas cards and other symbols and why we need them: Si nous n’étions que des êtres de raison nous ne croirions pas aux anniversaires.. aux tombeaux.400) [The whole of that period of my life. son symbole matériel. the slow. par la douce émanation des souvenirs accumulés il prend une réalité de plus en plus vive. Mais comme nous sommes faits aussi d’un peu de matière... Proust perceived only a faint echo indicating the unknown treasures that might lie buried beneath the sands of time. ( JS. egotistical self. II.. la gaité de ses froids et de ses feux. (Corr. all were caught up and made present in that smell. Carter essais de captation d’une personne qui plaît . The scent of tea and mimosa furnishes the sesame that opened. Et puis au fur et à mesure que Noël perd pour nous de sa vérité comme anniversaire.. the door to the treasure trove. qu’elle ait.174 William C. its efforts to find joy in art—which ended in failure—its experiments in sensual gratification .. et maintenant tout d’un coup elle nous fait battre le cœur. nous aimons à croire qu’elle est quelque chose aussi dans la réalité et nous aimons que ce qui tient de la place dans notre cœur en ait aussi une petite autour de nous. aux reliques. aux fêtes. Sounding the depths of his being. 269–70) . In his meditative letter he touched on topics that pre-occupied him and would form the philosophical underpinnings of his future work: the soul and its encasement in the body. its hours of sleep or sleeplessness. alors que—fascinés par des buts égoïstes—nous ne la sentions pas. où la lumière des bougies . its attempts to win the love of someone who had taken my fancy . largely ignored by the superficial. p.] (p.408) Shortly after 25 December 1898. its hungers. its worries. l’odeur de ses mandarines imbibant la chaleur des chambres. with its hopes. at least briefly in 1898... the passage of time and.

the gaiety of its cold and its fires. since he transposed them for a scene in Jean Santeuil inspired by another of his muses. in which candlelight . the scent of tea and mimosa. through the gentle emanation of accumulated memories.521) [Poems being precisely the commemoration of our inspired moments which in themselves are often a sort of communication of all that our being has left of itself in moments past.From Life to Literature 175 [If we were creatures only of reason. like the one evoked by tea and mimosa. the young and beautiful poet Anna de Noailles. it has at the same time.. Proust attempted to state the importance of such intoxicating. relics or tombs. as our soul has in our body. fleeting episodes.] (Selected Letters I. mais qu’un parfum senti alors. lesquelles sont déjà souvent une sorte de commémoration de tout ce que notre être a laissé de lui-même dans des minutes passées. return to us overlaid with the delectable honey of our personality. the smell of its tangerines imbibing the warmth of heated rooms. and now suddenly it sets our hearts to beating. à moins que cette vie ne soit en même temps une vie passée. nous rend tout d’un coup jusqu’à nous en enivrer et à nous laisser indifférents à la vie réelle dans laquelle nous ne la sentons jamais. that inspire creativity: Nos poèmes étant précisément la commémoration de nos minutes inspirées. p. de sorte que dégagés un instant de la tyrannie du présent. ( JS. une même lumière tombant dans la chambre. to whom he gave the fictional name Vicomtesse Gaspard de Réveillon. taken on a more and more living reality. we would not believe in anniversaries. holidays. And while little by little Christmas has lost its truth for us as an anniversary.. But since we are also made up in some part of matter we like to believe that it too has a certain reality and we want what holds a place in our hearts to have some small place in the world around us and to have its material symbol. l’essence de nous-même. 180) Proust must have recognised the importance of these insights. nous sentons quelque chose qui dépasse l’heure actuelle. the concentrated essence of ourselves which we exude without . essence intime de nousmême que nous répandons sans la connaître. which we have unconsciously been depositing over the years during which—engrossed in selfish pursuits—we paid no attention to it.

These early attempts to describe and comprehend this phenomenon indicate there was not one extraordinary moment in Proust’s life when he bit into a madeleine and. as hinted here. ceux que nous avons passés avec un livre préféré’ (CSB. unable to create a plot and find the right point of view. the imprecision of feeling’ ( Jean Santeuil. In ‘Sur la lecture’ [‘On Reading’]. architecture and the Bible. ‘the essence of our being’ is omitted from the English translation.409). the essence of our being. ce n’est pas que comme les seuls calendriers .464. which a perfume smelled in that past time. and says that moments of vivid. entailing the study of French history. we feel something that spreads out beyond the actual minute.160) [‘There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we believe we let slip by without having lived them. spontaneous memory and their conscious application in the creative process form the real life and that our daily life in its habitual. saying they were ‘alive on a higher level than memory or than the present so that they have not the flatness of pictures but the rounded fullness of reality. But he was years away from discovering how to make them serve a novel’s plot. as early as Jean Santeuil. the preface to his translation of Sesame and Lilies. that it fills us with . proved crucial to the development of Proust’s own style and aesthetics. so that freed for a moment from the tyranny of the present. so that we become completely indifferent to what is usually called ‘real life’.176 William C. a life lost.8 Books were more than words on paper. Proust wrote: ‘Il n’y a peutêtre pas de jours de notre enfance que nous ayons si pleinement vécus que ceux que nous avons cru laisser sans les vivre. and hence. in which it never visits us unless that life be at the same time a past life. geography..) In the Search. Carter realising that we are doing so. a remembered light shining into our room. The letter to Marie and the draft in Jean Santeuil where Lake Geneva recalls Beg-Meil are Proust’s first known gropings for the elucidation of the key moment in his novel: the experience he called involuntary memory. will suddenly bring back so vividly. From 1900–05 Proust translated John Ruskin’s The Bible of Amiens and Sesame and Lilies. in a frenzy of inspiration. began writing the Search.. the novels he had loved in childhood held the power to evoke the places in which he had first read them: ‘s’il nous arrive encore aujourd’hui de feuilleter ces livres d’autrefois. Around 1899. He saw the rich potential of such experiences. This arduous work. Proust recognised. p. vain actions is a life lived on the surface. he abandoned Jean Santeuil. p. that the key to his work lay submerged in the past. intoxication.] (p. those we spent with a favorite book’]. Proust turns this around.

From Life to Literature


que nous ayons gardés des jours enfuis, et avec l’espoir de voir reflétés sur leurs pages les demeures et les étangs qui n’existent plus’ (CSB, p.160) [‘If we still happen today to leaf through those books of another time, it is for no other reason than that they are the only calendars we have kept of days that have vanished, and we hope to see reflected on their pages the dwellings and the ponds which no longer exist’].9 The beginning of the preface, with its shifts in time and place, is an early sketch for the first paragraph of the Search, where the Narrator in bed, falling asleep while reading, is uncertain of where he is, who he is, and even what he is, since in his slumbering state he confuses his own identity with that of the book he is trying to read. The preface ends with another resurrection of the past. Readers of the preface cannot have known—nor could Proust himself—that they were being given a foretaste of Combray. On New Year’s Day, 1908, Mme Straus gave Proust five little notebooks from a smart stationery shop. Thanking her in a February letter, he indicated that he had a new project and was eager to ‘settle down to a fairly long piece of work’ (Selected Letters II, p.348). The first of these notebooks, known as Le Carnet de 1908, bears annotations for various projects that slowly converge and lead to the Search.10 One episode, evoking childhood memories, shows his little brother Robert being forced to part with his pet kid. Robert was eventually written out of the story altogether and the lengthy scene reduced to twenty-five lines when the Narrator bids farewell to his beloved hawthorns at Combray (I, 143; I, 173–4/203–4). Other autobiographical elements are found here. The Narrator’s mother, encouraging him to be brave while she is away, quotes inspiring passages about courage from Latin and French authors. For several years, Proust made entries in the notebook regarding topics and themes, lists of names that might serve for characters, and sensations: odours of rooms, bed sheets, grass, perfume, soap, food, capable of reviving the past. The Carnet of 1908 served as a memo pad and, later, as an inventory of sections already written. As the 1908 text progressed from essay to fiction, the theme of homosexual love, nearly absent from Jean Santeuil, became a major topic. In the Search Proust analyses erotic love in heterosexual and homosexual couples, showing that the obsessions of desire and jealousy are the same and doomed to failure because they are based on illusions. In July, Proust listed the six episodes he had written (Le Carnet de 1908, p.56). The first was ‘Robert and the Kid’, followed by ‘the Villebon Way and the Méséglise Way’. The two place names, the first from a château near Illiers and the other from a nearby village, indicate he had found the ‘two ways’, one of the major unifying elements of the Search. Another key episode


William C. Carter

was the mother’s goodnight kiss. The last episode on the list concludes the story: ‘What I learned from the Villebon Way and the Méséglise Way’. Proust had conceived an apprentice novel, in which the neurotically dependent Narrator grows up to explore the two ways of his world—that of the landed gentry and Paris salons—fails to find happiness in erotic love, and explores the world of homosexuality. Proust’s novel would be circular in time and space. As a child the Narrator believed the two ways led in different directions and must remain forever separated, but as an adult, he discovers the ways are joined by a circular path. Having completed his quest, the Protagonist understands, at last, the true nature of his experience, is fully endowed as a creative person and ready to write the ideal version of the story we have just read. However, Proust’s latest efforts to write a novel were again undermined by self-doubt. Overwhelmed by all that he wanted to say and his inability to shape and focus the material, he felt a sense of urgency: ‘Warnings of death. Soon you will not be able to say all that.’ Then Proust judged himself severely: ‘Laziness or doubt or impotency taking refuge in the lack of certainty over the art form.’ He was stymied by the same challenges regarding plot, genre, and structure that had made him abandon Jean Santeuil. He asked the questions left unanswered a decade earlier: ‘Must I make of it a novel, a philosophical study, am I a novelist?’ (Le Carnet de 1908, pp.60–1). Before he felt confident that he had found his story, Proust made one more detour in pursuing his goal, this time by way of Sainte-Beuve. In late 1908, Proust bought a quantity of school notebooks. By August 1909, he had written nearly 700 pages of an essay attacking the eminent critic’s method and legacy. Some of these drafts anticipate the Search. By mid-December Proust found himself at an impasse. He wrote to Georges de Lauris and Anna de Noailles, whose literary judgement he trusted, and asked each to indicate the better of two ideas for attacking Sainte-Beuve: La chose s’est bâtie dans mon esprit de deux façons différentes ... La première est l’essai classique, l’Essai de Taine en mille fois moins bien (sauf le contenu qui est je crois nouveau). La deuxième commence par un récit du matin ... Maman vient me voir près de mon lit, je lui dis que j’ai l’idée d’une étude sur Sainte-Beuve, je la lui soumets et la lui développe. (Corr. VIII, 320–1) [The idea has taken shape in my mind in two different ways ... The first would be a classical essay, an essay in the manner of

From Life to Literature


Taine, only a thousand times less good (except for the content which I think is new). The second begins with an account of a morning, my waking up and Mama coming to my bedside; I tell her I have an idea for a study of Sainte-Beuve; I submit it to her and develop it.] (Selected Letters II, 416) In drafts for the introduction to Against Sainte-Beuve, Proust wrote that his old cook ‘offered me a cup of tea, a thing I never drink. And as chance would have, she brought me some slices of dry toast.’ As soon as he dipped the toast in the tea and tasted it ‘je ressentis un trouble, des odeurs de géraniums, d’orangers, une sensation d’extraordinaire lumière, de bonheur’. [‘Something came over me—the smell of geraniums and orange-blossoms, a sensation of extraordinary radiance and happiness.’] He concentrated on the taste of the toast and tea ‘qui semblait produire tant de merveilles, quand soudain les cloisons ébranlées de ma mémoire cédèrent, et ce furent les étés que je passais dans la maison de campagne ... Alors je me rappelai ... ’ (CSB, p.212) [‘which seemed responsible for all these marvels; then suddenly the shaken partitions in my memory gave way, and into my conscious mind there rushed the summers I had spent in the ... house in the country. And then I remembered’].11 In his critical remarks about Sainte-Beuve, Proust is writing as himself in a fictional situation, imagining a conversation with his mother. This invented setting for a real person (Proust) commenting on another real person and his work (Sainte-Beuve) served as the incubator for the emergence of the Narrator’s full voice. In the Sainte-Beuve passages describing involuntary memory, Proust began to transmute his lived experience and his invented ones into the Narrator’s life. We can see the transition from essayist to novelist in many notations from Le Carnet de 1908. A strange but remarkably fecund symbiosis is being created in which Proust is himself and not himself as the Narrator. Although highly autobiographical, the Search is a true novel. The Narrator, who resembles Proust in many ways, is different in others. Although remarkably well informed about homosexuality, he desires only women. His mother, unlike Jeanne Proust, is not Jewish nor is the hero’s father a distinguished medical luminary. By the time he finished his novel, Proust would have created what is perhaps the richest narrative voice in literature, a voice that speaks both as child and as man, as actor and as subject, and that weaves effortlessly between the present, past and future. While writing about his dilemma as an author, Proust had been tracing, without seeing it, the answer to the question that had tortured him for so


William C. Carter

long. The Search is about a man who cannot write and spends his life pursuing the wrong paths (lost time, wasted time), until at the very end, ill, discouraged, and growing old, he discovers that his vocation is to write the experience of his life—now that he understands it at last and can transpose it into a work of fiction. This moment of illumination is described in Time Regained: Alors, moins éclatante sans doute que celle qui m’avait fait apercevoir que l’œuvre d’art était le seul moyen de retrouver le Temps perdu, une nouvelle lumière se fit en moi. Et je compris que tous ces matériaux de l’œuvre littéraire, c’était ma vie passée; je compris qu’ils étaient venus à moi, dans les plaisirs frivoles, dans la paresse, dans la tendresse, dans la douleur, emmagasinés par moi, sans que je devinasse plus leur destination, leur survivance même, que la graine mettant en réserve tous les aliments qui nourriront la plante ... je me trouvais avoir vécu pour elle sans le savoir, sans que ma vie me parût devoir entrer jamais en contact avec ces livres que j’aurais voulu écrire et pour lesquels, quand je me mettais autrefois à ma table, je ne trouvais pas de sujet. Ainsi toute ma vie jusqu’à ce jour aurait pu et n’aurait pas pu être résumée sous ce titre: Une vocation. (IV, 478) [And then a new light, less dazzling, no doubt, than that other illumination which had made me perceive that the work of art was the sole means of rediscovering Lost Time, shone suddenly within me. And I understood that all these materials for a work of literature were simply my past life, I understood that they had come to me, in frivolous pleasures, in indolence, in tenderness, in unhappiness, and that I had stored them up without divining the purpose for which they were destined or even their continued existence any more than a seed does when it forms within itself a reserve of all the nutritious substances from which it will feed a plant ... I began to perceive that I had lived for the sake of the plant without knowing it, without ever realising that my life needed to come into contact with those books which I had wanted to write and for which, when in the past I had sat down at my table to begin, I had been unable to find a subject. And thus my whole life up to the present day might and yet might not have been summed up under the title: A Vocation.] (VI, 258–9/304)

From Life to Literature


In 1909, while vacationing at Cabourg, Proust wrote Mme Straus and told her: ‘ ... I’ve just begun—and finished—a whole long book’ (Selected Letters II, 445–6). This ‘whole long book’ was the earliest draft of the Search, the opening section ‘Combray’, which establishes the major characters, locations, themes, and the conclusion, in which the Narrator understands the lessons from his apprenticeship. The most important word in the letter is ‘finished’. Since the days when he struggled unsuccessfully to complete Jean Santeuil, Proust had never been able to finish any work of fiction because he lacked the story and point of view. He had at last found the ideal structure for his narrative skills. Proust never composed in a linear manner or according to an outline. He always worked like a mosaicist, taking a particular scene, anecdote, impression, image, and crafting it to completion. In his manuscripts, there are many notes to himself about such bits, ‘To be placed somewhere’, or, if a remark or trait, to give it to a certain character or perhaps to another. As he composed and orchestrated the rich Proustian music, the structure expanded to include the war years and the Albertine cycle, partly influenced by his love for the doomed chauffeur Alfred Agostinelli. In the summer of 1911, Proust wrote René Gimpel, who had connections with the Japanese art world, to inquire if he knew le petit jeu japonais ... qui consiste à mettre des petits papiers dans l’eau [lesquels] se contournent devenant des bonshommes etc. Pourriez-vous demander à des Japonais comment cela s’appelle, mais surtout si cela se fait quelquefois dans du thé, si cela se fait dans de l’eau indifféremment chaude ou froide, et dans les plus compliqués s’il peut y avoir des maisons, des arbres, des personnages, enfin quoi. (Corr. X, 321. Proust’s emphasis.) [the little Japanese ... game that consists in soaking little scraps of paper in water which then twist themselves round and turn into little men, etc. Could you ask someone Japanese what it’s called, and especially whether it’s sometimes done with tea, whether it’s done with either hot or cold water, and in the more complicated ones whether there can be houses, trees, persons, or what have you.] (Selected Letters III, 43–4, and n. I. Proust’s emphasis.) Proust had returned to the image of tea and toast (from the essay on SainteBeuve) for the passage on involuntary memory, adding the madeleine dipped in tea and expanding the metaphoric role of the Japanese pellets to explain


William C. Carter

this phenomenon that revived the past. He intended to place the scene in the Combray section where it is the first such episode. He was curious about the pellets’ capacity to form houses and people because when the Narrator bites into the tea-soaked cake, the sensations that overwhelm him evoke the entire village from his lost youth: Et comme dans ce jeu où les Japonais s’amusent à tremper dans un bol de porcelaine rempli d’eau, de petits morceaux de papier jusque-là indistincts qui, à peine y sont-ils plongés s’étirent, se contournent, se colorent, se différencient, deviennent des fleurs, des maisons, des personnages consistants et reconnaissables, de même maintenant toutes les fleurs de notre jardin et celles du parc de M. Swann, et les nymphéas de la Vivonne, et les bonnes gens du village et leurs petits logis et l’église et tout Combray et ses environs, tout cela qui prend forme et solidité, est sorti de ma tasse de thé. (1, 47) [And as in the game wherein the Japanese amuse themselves by filling a porcelain bowl with water and steeping in it little pieces of paper which until then are without character or form, but, the moment they become wet, stretch and twist and take on colour and distinctive shape, become flowers or houses or people, solid and recognisable, so in that moment all the flowers in our garden and in M. Swann’s park, and the water-lilies on the Vivonne and the good folk of the village and their little dwellings and the parish church and the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and gardens alike, from my cup of tea.] (1, 54–5/64) The conclusion of the madeleine scene summarises the experience of involuntary memory, the means by which the Narrator can regain his past, whose elements he will, upon the discovery of his vocation, examine, comprehend, enrich and transpose into a work of art: Quand d’un passé ancien rien ne subsiste, après la mort des êtres, après la destruction des choses, seules, plus frêles mais plus vivaces, plus immatérielles, plus persistantes, plus fidèles, l’odeur et la saveur restent encore longtemps, comme des âmes, à se rappeler, à attendre, à espérer, sur la ruine de tout le reste, à

trans. 1956). See Marcel Proust. ‘Le Jardin de Marcel Proust’. 224.99. ‘Historique du premier roman de Proust’. 3. l’édifice immense du souvenir.] (1. On Reading Ruskin. the last sentence quoted contains two words that are the keys to the Search: loss and recapture.42–3. like souls. translated with an introduction and notes by John Sturrock (Harmondsworth: Penguin. In 1971. and bear unflinchingly. . pp. Proust recalled his ‘childhood when she would refuse to come back ten times and tell me goodnight before going out for the evening’. 7.32. 46) [When from a long-distant past nothing subsists.From Life to Literature 183 porter sans fléchir. more fragile but more enduring. On Art and Literature. Marcel Proust. See Corr. 1987).19. taste and smell alone. the vast structure of recollection. Louise Varese (New York: Crown. 11. 1963. 4. 28. remembering. pp. Cahiers Marcel Proust. introduced and edited by Philip Kolb (Paris: Gallimard. Études proustiennes 5 (1984).3–4. more faithful. 1948). Jean Santeuil. trans. amid the ruins of all the rest. 14. 9. 8. 1976. Pleasures and Regrets. in Saggi e ricerche di letteratura francese. waiting.99–100. 1978). 1988). 54/63–4) NOTES 1. See also Against Sainte-Beuve and Other Essays. IV. Philip Kolb. p. in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence. nouvelle série 8. p. See Denise Mayer. p. L’Indifférent.408. after the things are broken and scattered. Translation slightly modified. (1. On Reading Ruskin (New Haven: Yale University Press. 6. pp. in a brilliant public-relations initiative and unique example of reality yielding to fiction. 2. Illiers officially changed its name to Illiers-Combray. In a letter written after his mother’s death. VI. hoping. sur leur gouttelette presque impalpable. trans. 10. on the centennial of Proust’s birth. Gerard Hopkins (New York: Simon and Schuster. nouvelle série 12. remain poised a long time. Le Carnet de 1908 transcribed and edited by Philip Kolb. after the people are dead. more immaterial. 5. p. Sylvia Townsend Warner and with an introduction by Terence Kilmartin (New York: Carroll and Graf. By coincidence. Cahiers Marcel Proust. more persistent. 1997).


3 The collectively imagined community often turns out in Anderson’s book to be male-centred. ]. Une de ces inconnues poussait devant elle. une bande de mouettes [ . 1 (Spring 2001). are convincingly portrayed by historians such as Eugen Weber. no.2 Weber’s very title.. or: Women and French Identity during the Belle Epoque Seul.. aussi différentes.1 t is often suggested that French identity was reconstructed during the early years of the Third Republic. after the trauma of the Franco-Prussian war and the gradual elimination of attempts to revive either the monarchy or the Empire. and the national and republican pride instilled in French children through the primary school under Jules Ferry in the 1880s. located in previous internal civil I From Literature & History 10. This turns up again in Benedict Anderson’s analysis of ‘imagined communities’. with a recurring note of ‘fraternity’. as contributing to a unitary sense of nationhood. sa bicyclette. qu’aurait pu l’être. de toutes les personnes auxquelles on était accoutumé à Balbec. débarquée on ne sait d’où. —Marcel Proust.. and even of ‘reassuring fratricide’. par l’aspect et par les façons. points to some gender trouble. ] quand [ .SIÂN REYNOLDS Albertine’s Bicycle. ] je vis avancer cinq ou six fillettes. The consolidation of republican institutions. in his Peasants into Frenchmen (1977). A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs. 185 . © 2001 by Manchester University Press. however. of violence (‘dying for the nation’). de la main. je restai simplement devant le Grand-Hôtel [ .. in which France is a constant presence...

This paper will argue that attempts to construct a unitary French identity were in conflict with an alien notion: that of the New Woman. as reproductive. rather it was an age when relations between the sexes were a major and much-discussed preoccupation. The French state asked them to produce citizens. and had figured at the World’s Fairs of Philadelphia (1876). they are extraordinarily present in the literary and iconographic history of Belle Epoque France. The entry to the site was marked by an ornamental gate (‘Porte Monumentale’) of a staggeringly lurid nature. At the same time. she was recognizable as a ‘real’ woman. later described this effigy. scientists. à jupe plate. They were either of fullyclothed men—politicians. Fin-de siècle republican ideology explicitly viewed the role of women. But while historical discussion of French national identity has tended to marginalize women. they were still excluded from citizenship and from many civil rights taken for granted by men. rejetant au vent un manteau du soir en fausse hermine’. not to be citizens themselves.4 The Parisienne departed from the familiar allegorical representations of women. allegories of the Republic. were women supposed to adhere to? Although during the period usually known as the Belle Epoque. one of the pavilions at the Exhibition was the Palais de la Femme.186 Siân Reynolds strife. ‘landed none knew whence’. But the Parisienne was a woman fully-clad in contemporary costume. what kind of national identity. heroes of the Republic—or of less than fully-clothed women. Paris in the 1900s was filling up with statues. This idea had originated in the United States. Paul Morand. covered with newly-invented electric light bulbs and topped by a statue described as ‘La Parisienne’. With the overtly masculine language of fraternity being so closely linked to identity. Despite her symbolic hat. New Orleans (1884). in Paris 1900. a process sometimes described as ‘la statuomanie’. Anticlerical politicians moreover considered women overly subject to the influence of the Catholic Church. as ‘une sirène chapeautée au bateau de la Ville de Paris. as Proust described his first sight of Albertine and her friends. This was not a society without women. Let me start with a cultural event often viewed as emblematic of Belle Epoque France: the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. a small boy at the time. but it was the first time it had appeared in Paris. and especially Chicago (1893). one might inquire. as in the Jacobin republic a hundred years earlier. a question which was long to bedevil their claims for the suffrage. French women were beginning to see some changes in their status. significantly depicted as fashionable and frivolous: Belle Epoque iconography showed women as essentially decorative. The French version of the Women’s Pavilion was less serious than its American counterparts: described .

Prompt. the label itself first coined in an article by Ouida in an American journal in 1894. it had a basement devoted to ‘woman’s dress. en passant par la promenade au bois dans une victoria impeccablement attelée’. able. hygiene and coquetry’. has just ‘tied with the third wrangler at Cambridge’. she shakes hands with ‘a resolute and hearty grip’. written in 1894 (not performed until 1902 because too immoral).8 .7 She was a cultural construct. though the American delegates complained that French issues had predominated. Shaw’s stage directions describe her as ‘a sensible. but were very strongly resisted by the dominant French culture.5 There was also a library stocked with books by women authors. highly-educated young middleclass Englishwoman. depuis l’heure du thé matinal jusqu’à la parure pour le théatre ou pour le bal. One of the principal ‘Trojan horses’ during the Belle Epoque was the New Woman.6 My argument will concentrate on the French notion of ‘woman’ as symbolized by ‘la Parisienne’. an international conference about women’s rights was taking place—one of three women’s conferences organized under the aegis of the Exhibition. but the models had been in circulation some time. and of course a patisserie and restaurant. Vivie. but intends to be an actuary and make a lot of money—inspiring a male character to remark that she makes his blood run cold. and the clash with an American concept of ‘the woman question’. A number of destabilizing influences found their way in. selfpossessed’. a theatre. There was a strong American presence. This was neither the first nor the last time that this happened. Vivie rides a bicycle. Literary sources include Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Chernichevsky’s What is to be done? In George Bernard Shaw’s play Mrs Warren’s Profession. is instantly recognizable as a new woman.Women and French Identity during the Belle Epoque 187 in the official report as ‘delicately elegant’. Age 22. creating areas of conflict and resistance. Meanwhile in another building in Paris. confident. was under insistent pressure as never before from Anglo-American culture. art gallery. prominently displayed on stage. How much change in women’s status and identity could ‘Frenchness’ absorb? The New Woman was a genuinely Anglo-American creation. Mrs Warren’s daughter. or reformulation of what Frenchness was. A series of waxworks depicted ‘la journée d’une mondaine. the fashionable destination of so many travellers and tourists. and pressed their French colleagues to constitute a branch of the International Council of Women—which they eventually did in 1901. strong. but the cracks and contradictions introduced then would run through French culture to the present. The hypothesis which underlies what follows is that the turn of the century was a time when France.


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Some American scholars, notably Mary-Louise Roberts and Christine Stansell, have begun looking at the New Woman in a French context, but interestingly the Anglo-American version could not be said to transfer easily to France. To take just one aspect of the New Woman, her healthy athleticism was in part the result of organized sport in girls’ schools, something which was not on the whole to be found in France. There were of course plenty of strong, forceful individual French women, but Christine Stansell suggests that ‘New Women’ often take on the characteristics of the vamp or the femme fatale in Europe, inspiring fear rather than respect, let alone comradeship.9 The term ‘femme nouvelle’ does not appear to have caught on in France during this period, and when it does it appears to be associated with foreign influence. A Doll’s House was not performed in France until 1895, although it had been played in English in 1879; conservative critics associated it with an alien kind of modernism. As an article in the conservative L’Illustration put it on 10 February 1894, before Antoine’s Paris production had been seen: ‘Ibsen, Hauptman, Maeterlinck—Sweden, Germany, Belgium—a triple alliance against the spirit of France: it will resist them.’10 Was there any space for a new French woman? Putting it briefly, by the late 1890s, girls in France had started to receive a better education than ever before. The Jules Ferry laws had created not only state primary schooling for girls in every village, but also girls’ lycées and the superstructure of écoles normales and écoles normales supérieures. The woman schoolteacher becomes a core participant in almost any political and feminist activity from this period. The very first women were entering universities—in very small numbers, true, but it was no longer impossible. Thirty-two women were attending the Paris medical faculty in 1879, most of them foreign. By 1914, there were 578. In 1900, there was a total of 624 French women students in all faculties—their number exceeded that of foreigners only in 1912–13. One should not of course exaggerate the progress made by 1900–1905; educational change took more than one generation to work through. It was also a time when women’s economic activity began to become more statistically significant in jobs other than traditional farming or partnership in a small shop or firm. The post office for example was well on the way to being ‘feminized’ in 1906: 22% of its employees were women. In the same census, in 1906, 170 women per thousand were to be found in ‘commercial professions’, compared to 82 in 1866. Women clerks and typists were starting to appear, though not in dramatic numbers. Women worked in factories, in sweatshops and as outworkers, and in a range of fairly traditional jobs, as well as these new ones. In 1906, there were 206,000 domestic servants in Paris, 11% of the population, and 83% of these were women.

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They were hardly being emancipated by such work, but it meant that many were leaving their native villages to become Parisians, leading a very different life from their mothers and grandmothers.11 While the Belle Epoque could hardly be called an age of opportunity for Frenchwomen, it was nevertheless an age when old structures were starting to creak and leak. Very schematically, we could point to the inventions of those metallic geared machines, the typewriter, the sewing-machine and the bicycle, which had all arguably made more difference to women’s lives than to men’s. The sewing-machine was both a boon and a shackle—it made sewing easier, but swelled the numbers of women working at home for desperately low wages sewing garments. Similarly, training in typewriting soon became a woman’s passport to a white-collar office job (mainly after 1914), but it would confine most such women to subordinate positions as underpaid typists for years to come. The bicycle however really can be regarded as a symbol of liberation: it enabled women to get about in a fairly safe and rapid way, and it began to make a difference to their clothes and deportment. Ottilie McLaren, a Scottish pupil of Rodin’s who studied sculpture in Paris in the late 1890s, rode to the studio on her bike: I bike à l’américaine as the nicest French people do: a short skirt about 4 or 5 inches below the knee and long gaiters which go right to meet the knicker-bockers in case of one’s skirt blowing up. I always strap mine down.12 Note the American reference. Ottilie McLaren was an example of a phenomenon about which I have written elsewhere: the invasion of Paris by English, American and other foreign women art students in the 1890s and 1900s.13 These foreign students, who came to France as a land of freedom and excitement, disrupted the long-established studio tradition in which virtually the only women present were artists’ models (ironically, many models were Italian immigrants). Paradoxically, neither Paris nor any other city was liberty hall for most French women: foreign women in France were literally foreign bodies, operating by different rules. French bourgeois society in particular was still strongly marked by practices and habits of the nineteenth century, and the experience of foreign women in France is one of culture clash. Shari Benstock in Women of the Left Bank suggests that Edith Wharton and Natalie Barney, who in their various ways frequented avant-garde and bohemian circles, were ‘guests of a culture whose secret heart they never penetrated’.14


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A L B E RT I N E ’ S B I C Y C L E Is that secret heart to be glimpsed in Proust? Yes and no. The second part of this paper suggests that the New Woman, seen as in some sense non-French, sent a shudder through his world. Proust is at once a reliable and an unreliable source for a historian of the Belle Epoque. He did not of course set out to paint a realistic picture of his society, still less of ‘women’, in the style of Zola; nevertheless, we know him to have drawn on obsessive observation of those around him, consciously and unconsciously. Proust, as the photographic evidence tends to show, frequented the rarefied society of wellto-do Paris, in which women were important players. Unlike in most history books, women are everywhere in A la recherche, conducting games of power and love. The emotional economy of this novel, I would argue, provides us (rather surprisingly) with some kind of context for the New Woman. To illustrate the point, let us look briefly at four of the important women who appear in it, all of them French: Françoise, the family servant, Odette de Crécy, who becomes Mme Swann, Madame Verdurin, the society hostess, and Albertine, the narrator’s young lover. To give some chronological perspective, Proust himself was born in 1871. Gérard Genette’s projected chronology of his novel has the narrator (‘Marcel’) and his exact contemporary Gilberte Swann being born rather later than that, in 1878. Françoise, Odette and Mme Verdurin are from an older generation than the narrator, being adults before he was born, while Albertine is supposed to be a little younger than him.15 Françoise, a sort of compendium of la vieille France, with her picturesque habits of speech, her prejudices and her networks of power and communication among other servants, is a rather monstrous creation, for whom Proust probably drew on several family servants. But it is not difficult to locate her in a context where servants stayed many years with their families, becoming intimate with them and in time-honoured ways exerting the power of the powerless. J.-B. Duroselle, in his book re-titled La France de la Belle Epoque (1972 and 1995), has a section on domestic servants in which he cites several life-stories. For example, Françoise Remeniera, born in 1864 in the Corréze, was a sharecropper’s child who watched over the sheep as a girl. After her husband’s death from tuberculosis, she became a wet-nurse in a Parisian family, sending money back home to the village for her three children, who stayed with relatives, and whom she saw only in the summer. In 1899, she entered the service of another Paris household, where she stayed until her death in 1946, being completely devoted to this family and they to her. She had no real holidays or days off, apart from the three weeks in the

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year when she returned to the village. She reportedly ended up feeling more at home with the family she served.16 Duroselle remarks of this life-story that it is both touching and almost incomprehensible to us today—yet we can easily recognize Proust’s Françoise in this biography. She has a daughter for instance, who is only infrequently mentioned. In terms of a French identity, if I can put it this way, Françoise represents a countrywoman, a woman of the people, a source of mystery and fascination to the bourgeois narrator. Brusque and kind, devious and long-suffering, she could be recruited for a Barrèsian tradition of Frenchness rooted in ‘the people’ or ‘in the soil’, her attitude to her employers being loyal yet cynical, traditional, yet in obscure ways rebellious. Odette de Crécy is also a construct of a traditional kind, in its 1890s manifestation: the beautiful demi-mondaine, mistress to one or more rich and powerful men, but nevertheless received after a fashion in Parisian polite society—though not in the narrator’s bourgeois family home at Combray, even after she had married Charles Swann, the family friend. Originals whom Proust is said to have had in mind are Laure Hayman and Liane de Pougy. Odette is painted in a very hostile way much of the time, and the reader is left in no doubt about the superior intelligence, sophistication and to some extent moral fibre of Swann, who ends up reflecting that he has ‘gâché ma vie pour une femme qui n’était pas mon genre’, ruined his life ‘for a woman who wasn’t even my type’. Odette is unfaithful, ungrateful, silly, snobbish and so on. Yet at the same time, both for Swann and for the narrator, Odette holds an extraordinary fascination. In terms of the novel’s structure, she is located as the older sophisticated woman enchanting the narrator during his youth. In a passage at the end of Du côté de chez Swann, he remembers her with nostalgia in the Bois de Boulogne, either in simple elegance ‘à pied, dans une polonaise de drap, sur la tête un petit toquet agrémenté d’une aile de lophophore, un bouquet de violettes au corsage [ ... ] traversant l’allée des Acacias’, or in magnificent contrast lounging negligently in une incomparable victoria, [ ... ] ses cheveux maintenant blonds avec une seule mèche grise ceints d’un mince bandeau de fleurs, le plus souvent des violettes, d’où descendaient de longs voiles [ ... ] aux lèvres un sourire ambigu [ ... ].17 We are invited to think that this vision dates from the 1880s or 1890s, since this is one of the few passages in the novel where the narrator really steps out of the frame to look back. He has returned to the Bois de Boulogne


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in about 1912, trying to recall past visits, only to see in place of victorias motor-cars driven by moustachioed mechanics, and to find a horrifying transformation in women’s fashions: Mais comment ces gens qui contemplent ces horribles créatures sous leurs chapeaux couverts d’une volière ou d’un potager, pourraient-ils même sentir ce qu’il y avait de charmant à voir Mme Swann coiffée d’une simple capote mauve ou d’un petit chapeau que dépassait une seule fleur d’iris toute droite?18 The same passage, a page or two earlier, contains another precise historical reference in the form of a typical Proustian joke. The narrator recalls an older man remarking to him of Odette that he slept with her the day MacMahon resigned (that is, 30 January 1879, just after the narrator’s—and Gilberte Swann’s—birth, according to Genette’s chronology). However the overall tone of the passage is elegiac: the elegant procession of victorias (think of the 1900 Pavillon de la Femme) had vanished by 1912. Perhaps a few of the old demi-mondaines were still there, but like wraiths or damned spirits, shadows of what they were (‘vieilles et qui n’étaient plus que les ombres terribles de ce qu’elles avaient été’ [I, 427]). The narrator stands forlorn; the sun’s face is hidden. Proust here tells us quite directly that Odette is from the old world. She belongs with a society which would be completely swept away by the Great War, but which was already fading. In that world, the ‘pattern in the carpet’ of French urban society was a double standard for men and women, a kind of sexual tapestry which was not exactly prostitution, but a set of relationships between men and women based on money, adultery and hypocrisy. 14% of deaths in the 1900s were due to syphilis. It was a world of sex, lies and victorias, if you will; a world in which the Duc de Guermantes could boast of sending a telegram reading ‘Impossible venir, mensonge suit’. (This untranslatably brief formula could be decoded as: ‘Can’t make it: transparent excuse follows.’) It was still a world in which, as Charlotte Perkins Gilman reminded her readers in 1911, La Rochefoucauld had said there were thirty good stories in the world and twenty-nine of them could not be told to a woman. Proust was caught, like many of his generation, between nostalgia for this world and a reluctant attraction towards the new— his narrator treats both Françoise and Odette with wistful affection, but also with a critical eye. Indeed, he provides a transparently scornful narrative about Odette and her traditional feminine wiles. He shows even less sympathy for a tougher, and in a way more successfully modern character,

Women and French Identity during the Belle Epoque


Mme Verdurin; but he falls in love with an ‘thoroughly modern girl’, Albertine. Mme Verdurin is a monstrous creation, combining details from a number of society hostesses of the Belle Epoque. She likes to think she is of advanced views, particularly in art, and collects painters, writers and musicians, who are coded references to people like Whistler, Franck and so on, representing the modern. She is a bundle of contradictions, but after an initial wobble (‘she was ferociously antisemitic’), Proust decided that he would make her salon a Dreyfusard one, while Odette’s would be nationalistic. One of the models for Mme Verdurin’s salon was that of Mme Arman de Caillavet, whose ‘great man’ was Anatole France. She really was a Dreyfus supporter, like Proust himself, and suffered socially to some extent as a result, since the Faubourg Saint-Germain remained anti-Dreyfusard with only very rare exceptions (represented, rather unconvincingly, in the novel by the Prince and Princesse de Guermantes. It is not then so very strange—though the narrator expresses dismay at this ending—that Mme Verdurin should end up as the second Princesse de Guermantes in Le Temps retrouvé.) The point I would make about Mme Verdurin, however, is that it was from exactly this kind of person, and this pro-Dreyfus milieu—though predominantly from the Jewish and Protestant women of the upper bourgeoisie—that some of the leaders of the French feminist movement also came. Cécile Brunschvig, for instance, who later became the grande dame of French feminism, though younger, came into this category. It is a nice irony that her husband, Léon Brunschvicg, was a schoolfriend of Proust’s and one of the originals for the narrator’s annoying friend Bloch.19 Feminism is a particular aspect of the Verdurin type of modernism, but it never ruffles the surface in A la recherche—and one dreads to think what Proust would have done with it had he troubled to notice it. We shall return to feminism after looking at the last Proustian woman, Albertine. The story of the narrator’s agonizing relations with Albertine, in La Fugitive, La Prisonnière, etc., are to some extent marked by Proust’s relations with Monsieur Agostinelli, his chauffeur, and other young men. But it is as a particular kind of young woman that Albertine appears in the novel, in A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs. The narrator first meets her at the seaside resort of Balbec, as one of a ‘petite bande’ of frightening girls, full of energy, who jump over old gentlemen in deck chairs and thoroughly intimidate the asthmatic young Marcel. The girl later identified as Albertine is provided with a bicycle.

Incidentally. Albertine gardait la tête immobile. Il en résultait ainsi un son traînard et nasal dans la composition duquel entraient peut-être des hérédités provinciales. deux autres tenaient des clubs de golf et leur accoutrement tranchait sur celui des jeunes filles de Balbec. les lecons d’une institutrice étrangère et une hypertrophie congestive de la muqueuse du nez. and most of all the claim to independence (‘live my own life’). whatever the relation between Proust’s writing and his . les narines serrées. To make Albertine sufficiently threatening on her first appearance. et devaient être les très jeunes maîtresses de coureurs cyclistes. ne faisait remuer que le bout des lèvres. golf. En tous cas. Proust is using all the stage-props of the ‘New Young Woman’. since Britain was the world’s chief supplier of bicycles in 1895–1900. qui poussait une bicyclette avec un dandinement de hanches si dégingandé.20 The reader is given several glimpses of this bicycle-pusher: une fille aux yeux brillants. parmi lesquelles quelques-unes. particularly English influence. including foreign. une affectation juvénile de flegme britannique. Albertine’s bicycle was probably English-made.21 We might note several things about this passage. sous un ‘polo’ noir.194 Siân Reynolds Une de ces inconnues poussait devant elle de la main. ] que toutes ces filles appartenaient à la population qui fréquente les vélodromes. Secondly. Firstly. but I will hazard from these extracts the view that.. sa bicyclette. Proust’s narrator is analysing these strange creatures according to the ‘old world’ of Odette. se livraient aux sports mais sans adopter pour cela une tenue spéciale. He reacts with hostility to the idea of games-playing and loud speech from a woman. dans aucune de mes suppositions. he reinforces this point with a description of the way Albertine speaks. clubs.22 Space forbids more examples. the use of slang terms. il est vrai. but she affects an ‘Anglo-Saxon’ delivery: En parlant.. A few pages further on. Not only does she use slang terms like ‘tram’ and ‘bike’. the French text at this point is full of anglicisms: polo. ne figurait celle qu’elles eussent pu être vertueuses. en employant des terms d’argot si voyou et criés si fort quand je passais auprès d’elle parmi lesquels je distinguai cependant cette phrase fâcheuse de ‘vivre sa vie’ [que] je conclus [ .

they might still both agree about which moments constituted the crucial moments of division. homosexuals. In the male Parisian upper-class discourse of his time. and whatever he later does with the poetics of desire. A better term is ‘fraternal’.21 French men might disagree about many things during the Belle Epoque but arguably they shared a certain patriarchal discourse about women. Albertine’s role in A la recherche is that of an impossible partner for the narrator: she is eventually killed off in a riding accident. The fraternal discourse about women encompasses la Parisienne and the cocotte in the Bois de Boulogne. exsoldiers. We may not think of Proust as being a particularly ‘fraternal’ writer in the republican sense. as Simone de Beauvoir would later put it. How could Belle Epoque women respond to such a discourse? They could accept it and work entirely within it (like Odette). I could quote a parallel taken from Sharif Gemie’s book on nineteenth-century revolutions: Nationhood might be constituted around a shared sense of conflict or. women were. It does not extend to comradeship with sporty young women. who consistently undermines his narrator and puts him in embarrassing situations. would-be young novelists. witnessed the growth of second-wave feminism in France. they could seek to turn it to advantage by modifying it a little (Mme Verdurin). while also challenging them by the way he writes his novel. But he is not challenging all the discourses of his day. whether or not he noticed it.Women and French Identity during the Belle Epoque 195 environment. Perhaps patriarchal is not quite the right word—it seems inappropriate for Proust. ex-law-students. etc. There was a certain agreement among men about that. Proust’s generation. The challenge could be cultural (New Woman) or political (feminist). his initial depiction of Albertine and her friends as sporty aliens is significant. or they could break with it and challenge it. less violently. The movement had to contend with fairly entrenched antifeminism in political . and at some remove it shades into the political iconography which put up statues of beautiful (arguably maternal) goddesses of the Republic and Liberty all over Paris—but hardly any of real women. diversity. In other words. one which is drawing on the discourses of others. the Other. while monarchists and republicans might disagree about every element of their respective interpretations of the French past. In terms of the conceptualisation of French national identity. We see these female characters through a discursive narrative (Proust’s). but in practice he enjoyed the fraternity of various all-male groups: men about town.

which the organizers tried to keep decorous. They put up the Eiffel Tower in 1889. One of the components that was taken for granted.’25 CONCLUSION The cementing of nationhood and republicanism that took place during the first half of the Third French Republic—the creation of an ‘imagined community’—was indeed based on a literal fraternity. only through her husband. in 1894. misprepresentation and ridicule. though they were neither huge nor spectacular compared to what was happening in Britain. in 1904. but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object.196 Siân Reynolds circles. it made a distinction. The married woman had no real civil status in her own right. feminism was attracting support in many quarters. Governments of the turn of the century celebrated many centenaries related to the 1789 Revolution. rather than by the revolutionaries. and therefore virtually unmentioned. histories of nationalism and national . In particular. the French Civil Code had its centenary and despite the fact that it had been composed by and for Napoleon. was very different in tone from the meeting of American women at Seneca Falls in 1848—over sixty years earlier—which had robustly declared: ‘In entering upon the great work before us. not applied to men. Feminists did organize protests at the time. Contemporary feminists however saw the Code as enshrining principles which deprived women of their rights. and one of the biggest feminist demonstrations ever was held at the statue of Condorcet in July 1914—an unfortunate piece of timing. However most historians of French feminism are agreed that during the decade after 1900. books on republicanism.25 What the demonstrators chiefly had to contend with was the dread of ridicule among French women: the very idea of a demonstration for women’s rights in the world of A la recherche sends a shiver down the spine. a wife was granted the right to do what she wanted with her earned income (1907). we anticipate no small amount of misconception. The Condorcet demonstration. Ten years later. the occasion was used as yet another celebration of the Republic (on the eve of Separation from the Church). between married and unmarried women. in creating French nationhood—at least as constructed in textbooks. standard histories. A head of steam for suffrage and other rights was gathering by the spring of 1914. they celebrated the centenary of Condorcet’s death (without mentioning his championing of the rights of women). A number of particular but real amendments were made to the Code Civil: for example. when one thinks what Proust might do with it.

My concluding point therefore is that the kind of Frenchness which was voluntarily being constructed during the Belle Epoque had among its components a view of desired relations between the sexes which did not disturb fraternity. who have all written in recent years of the . of the sewing-machine family. whose support the French provisional government needed in 1944. Mona Ozouf. were a not entirely negligible influence on the decision from the Consultative Assembly in Algiers. Women were potentially disruptive and needed to be defused in some way. were active in the various international women’s associations which held meetings in Paris or at the League of Nations in Geneva. but one often senses their discomfort at the cultural milieu in France which expected ‘sophisticated’ rather than ‘militant’ behaviour. Françoise Giroud. in 1944. and avoiding the ideological stances of their Anglo-Saxon sisters. was not an option. being sensible. hating excess. the foreign German or Russian art student—was arriving on the scene. There is a condescending and rather lighting reference to an American woman who has married into the French ‘beau monde’ in Le Temps retrouvé. pragmatic. to which some lip service was paid in New Woman circles in American and Britain. I am thinking here of Elisabeth Badinter. and the prince le Polignac married Winnaretta Singer. They had to continue being what it was thought they had always been. subtle and determined. who included many determined characters. but nevertheless taken up even today by a number of French women who consider themselves feminists. is shown in Proust’s portraits of some of the women in his narrator’s life. whose sister also married a French aristocrat. What happened at this time however was that an even more disruptive woman than the French variety—the English suffragette. In the short term—and perhaps even in the long term—the resistance which French culture was able to put up to this gender-based threat was successful. But comradely equality. This went with some fear and distrust of contemporary women. in Shaw’s plays for example. having a special view of sexual relations which meant knowing how to deal with men. and not change into something weird and modern. One method was to stave off women’s suffrage until it could be no more postponed. there was a forceful cultural image of French women as being ‘not ridiculous’. mostly masculine in origin. We might even extend the argument of this article to suggest that the Anglo-Saxon Allies.Women and French Identity during the Belle Epoque 197 identity—was the unchanging nature of French women. the American New Woman. French feminists of the middle years of the century. ‘landed none knew whence’. Secondly. Some of Proust’s best friends actually did marry American heiresses to industrial fortunes: Boni de Castellane married Anna Gould. This distinction can be traced through a rhetorical tradition.

up to and including the 1960s. IV. open-topped. ]. One of these strangers was pushing. 4. was held in April 1901. The statue of the Parisienne shattered when it was taken down from its pedestal in the autumn of 1900. Paris. ‘feminine’. p. p. as different in appearance and manner from all the people whom one was accustomed to see in Balbec as could have been. Might one suggest that a different Belle Epoque for French women has come a hundred years later. 2. her hat in the shape of a ship representing the city of Paris. Florence Rochefort.. Marcel Proust. p. 36 ff. of which the very recent parity campaign is a rather striking example. L’Égalité en marche: le féminisme sous la IIIe République (Paris. from her morning cup of tea to dressing for an evening at the theatre or a ball. Scott Moncrieff. her bicycle’ (tr. The founding conference of the Conseil National des Femmes Françaises. charmingly different Frenchwoman who can conduct a civilized conversation with men. man-hating. in A la recherche du temps perdu (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. 1993). Equally. 1977). with one hand.’ Quoted in Pascal Ory. On the 1900 women’s and feminist conferences. p. vol. Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France 1870–1914 (London.198 Siân Reynolds gulf between American feminists—characterized as strident. it might be suggested that the most recent fin de siècle (from the 1970s to the present) has seen previously unthinkable changes in the status and life experience of French women. 1906). 1989). depended on an internalization of this dichotomy. 1962). Rapport. pp. [‘(T)he day of a society lady. 5.26 One could argue that ‘French identity’ for much of the twentieth century. 212. ‘I was simply hanging about in front of the Grand Hotel [ . Eugen Weber. A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs. which affiliated to the International Council of Women. p. caught in the pose of flinging back an evening cape of artificial ermine.. vol.] A victoria was a light.. Editions Gallimard.. by way of a ride through the Bois [de Boulogne] in an impeccably turned-out victoria’—my translation. Les Expositions universelles de Paris (Paris. four-wheeled carraige. a flock of seagulls [ . ] when I saw coming towards me five or six young girls. Within a Budding Grove [London. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (London. see Laurence Klejman. positive-discriminating. politically-correct—and the sensible. ‘[A] siren clad in a tight skirt. also Steven Hause with Anne Kenney. 81–82 (my translation). see Alfred Picard. as she came. landed there none knew whence. C. Exposition Universelle de Paris 1900 (Paris. K.. 137 ff. 788. 1922]. 122). 6. as the avant-garde Albertines of today ride off on their mountain bikes to become bankers and rocket scientists? NOTES 1. All further references to the French are from this edition. Women’s Suffrage and Social Politics in the French Third Republic (Princeton. On the Palais de la Femme as it was called. Benedict Anderson. . 1984). I. 3. 1982).

. a little toque on her head trimmed with a pheasant’s wing. her bicycle. A la recherche. Women’s History Review. 158 (1894). p. pp. 284–86). on her lips an ambiguous smile [ . A la recherche. and their attire generally was in contrast to that of the other girls at Balbec. who was pushing a bicycle with so exaggerated a movement of her hips. 15. 17. Within a Budding Grove. 1877–1946) is referred to in all histories of French feminism in the twentieth century. 122). 793. p. chs 10–12. Proust. 276–77. On Proust’s circle and the so-called originals of some of the characters in A la recherche. vol. pp. ‘One of these strangers was pushing as she came. a black polo-cap pulled down over her face. 788. Penguin edn. Reynolds. Women of the Left Bank: Paris 1900–40 (London. a bunch of violets in her bosom. A la recherche. ‘[O]n foot. Ouida. 65–66. 1922). Society and Politics (London.. 10. 1997). France and Women. France and Women 1789–1914: Gender. I. S. 327–44. ]’ (tr. 212. two others carried golf-clubs. in Plays Unpleasant (London. girt with a narrow band of flowers. some of whom. went in for games. S. 27 November 1897. 19. 2000). ‘How can the people who watch these dreadful creatures hobble by. usually violets from which floated down long veils [ . 419. or with a tiny hat from which rose stiffly above her head a single iris?’ (tr. ‘[in a] matchless victoria [ . 1965). 425–27. Swann’s Way (London. James F. with one hand. Paris fin de siècle: culture et politique (Paris. For full details. Cf.. crowned with a close-fitting lilac bonnet. Gérard Genette.. in a “polonaise” of plain cloth. Quoted in Christophe Charle. 16. 35–36 and passim. McMillan. North American Review. Wallace Papers: MSS 21535. Shari Benstock. 270–76. 1992). Proust. I. Mrs Warren’s Profession. National Library of Scotland. p. 1987). C.. vol. p. based on up-to-date research on the social circumstances of women in fin-de-siècle France. Swann’s Way. Scott Moncrieff. Women’s Suffrage. 14. Manuscript letter from Ottilie McLaren to William Wallace. 12. La France de la ‘Belle Epoque’. 1998). pp. Figures III (Paris. who also sees ‘the New Woman’ in the Anglo-American style as a doubtful presence in France. ch. ] her hair now quite pale with one grey lock. 21. ‘Running Away to Paris: Expatriate Women Artists of the 1900 Generation from Scotland and Points South’. 9. 2nd edn (Paris. 1972). 1946). see for example Hause and Kenny. Rochester. 8. delivered at the 1999 Berkshire conference on Women’s History. J. p. 78. with an air borne out . pp. vol. A la recherche. Unpublished papers on the New Woman in France.-B. see McMillan. see George Painter. ‘[A] girl with brilliant laughing eyes and plump colourless cheeks. it is true. NY.Women and French Identity during the Belle Epoque 199 7. 9:2 (2000). pp. See Sally Ledger. I. vol. pp. Marcel Proust (London. 18. hastening along the Allée des Acacias’. 8. George Bernard Shaw. but without adopting any special outfit’ (tr. 20. 13. 215. Proust. 10. 2. ‘The New Woman’. Proust. ].. I. The New Woman: Fiction and Feminism at the Fin de siècle (Manchester. Cécile Brunschvicg (née Kahn. Duroselle. 11. beneath hats on which have been heaped the spoils of aviary or garden-bed—how can they imagine the charm that there was in the sight of Mme Swann.

23.. . 22.–Nov. passim. Within a Budding Grove. 26. A la recherche. since that article appeared. In any event.200 Siân Reynolds by her language. Within a Budding Grove. Significantly these writers have on the whole been unsympathetic to the recent parity campaign. France Between the Wars: Gender and Politic (London. 1995). France and Women. on international links. Proust. Albertine kept her head motionless. On feminist campaigns of this period see Hause and Kenney. p. Women’s Suffrage. Les Filles de Marianne: histoire des féminismes 1914–40 (Paris. On the unsuspected riches of French feminism between the wars. her nostrils closed. the teaching of a foreign governess and a congestive hypertrophy of the nose’ (tr. a juvenile affectation of British phlegm. 24. in none of my suppositions was there any possibility of their being virtuous’ (tr. p. new legislation has been introduced in France to ensure the equal representation of men and women in all elections where the list system is used (excluding therefore the National Assembly. ] that all these girls belonged to the population which frequents the racing-tracks. Sharif Gemie. ] I concluded [ . vol. Feminist Studies.. 183–210. ‘In speaking. On the debate over French vs American feminism. ch. see Christine Bard. see ‘Femmes: une singularité francaise?’. 877... 25. The result of this was a drawling nasal sound. into the composition of which there entered perhaps a provincial descent. Le Débat. 117–46. 10. see S. kindly sent me by my forme student Ingrid Omand. p. 25:1 (1999). ‘Sexual Difference and Politics in France Today’. 128). 87 (Oct. but covering most other elections). I. ch. Reynolds. French Revolutions 1815–1914: An Introduction (Edinburgh 1999). 12. and must be the very juvenile mistresses of professional bicyclists. which was so typically of the gutter and was being shouted so loud when I passed her (although among her expressions I caught that irritating “live my own life”) that [ . p. 1995). 7. 246). allowing only the corners of her lips to move. McMillan. on the background to which see Danielle Haase-Dubosc. 1996). Quoted here from a facsimile of the Declaration.

The rigorous N From Modern Philology 99. finds the sequel to the pages on Gilberte (“Autour de Madame Swann”). A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs. of which eleven form a prelude which seems to announce far more than what we read in the sequel. and he looks back with poignant nostalgia to the days. there are just a few pages outlining the early stages of the protagonist’s calf-love for Gilberte. After the 184 pages of “Combray” and 191 pages of “Un Amour de Swann” (in the Pléiade edition). and twelve comprise a spectacular conclusion in two parts: in the first. when the Bois was colored by the elegance of Mme Swann and by his unconditional admiration for her. PUGH The Ending of Swann Revisited o reader of Proust has reached the end of Du côté de chez Swann without being puzzled by the ending of the volume. 201 . now gone forever. 3 (February 2002). the young protagonist drags the longsuffering Francoise to the Bois de Boulogne to see Odette Swann drive by. © 2002 by The University of Chicago. both manifestly constructed with great care. in the second.1 Between the prelude and this conclusion. coveting other girls. and we realize that the prelude we read in the first volume was preparing us for this new episode.ANTHONY R. followed in turn by a section where the protagonist is in Normandy. we are told that the man who is narrating the story in the present has recently (“cette année”) revisited the Bois to see the autumn leaves. The reader who continues and opens the next volume. the last part has a mere fortyfive pages. no.

It is therefore time to revisit the question and give a fuller account than Vigneron was able to do. which he dated. along with the typescript that was the intermediary between the latest of the manuscript cahiers and the first proofs produced by his editor Bernard Grasset in 1913. and rearranging. The new evidence is of two kinds. we are more confident about the dates of the letters. even if in the most general terms our conclusion (that the ending was due to the exigencies of commercial publication) is unchanged. the evidence at our disposal is massive. and as a consequence. Moreover. Pugh structure is again evident. These documents do not always yield their secrets without a struggle. we can reconstitute the stages which led to the text we are saddled with.” and he argued that the pages about the Bois set in the present were added after November 1912. Vigneron relied on what letters had been published. each time amplifying.202 Anthony R.2 Vigneron demonstrated that part of the present ending was transferred from the ending of what we now call “Autour de Madame Swann. who was able to show. and much ingenuity. The first . and we are left wondering why Proust chose to break his first volume at such an awkward place. using Proust’s correspondence. The answer to the reader’s question was given over fifty years ago in a pioneering Modern Philology article by Robert Vigneron. His method was to rewrite his novel several times. citing Proust’s (frustrated) desire to visit the park at that time. derived from Albert Feuillerat’s study and hypothetical reconstruction of the first version of the summer in Normandy. Vigneron’s demonstration has stood the test of time. obliging himself to invent a conclusion at a point where the narrative line required none. the hesitations and the compromises he was obliged to tolerate. and one has to salute the insights of someone working from incomplete evidence.3 We now have far more letters than we had then. however. these proofs are also accessible. THE MANUSCRIPTS Proust began work on his novel in 1909. that the conclusion to the first volume was a makeshift affair. Now. augmenting. but if we are as meticulous in our day as Vigneron was in his. With meticulous precision. Vigneron reconstituted the route Proust had followed. and on secondhand information about the galley proofs. we have virtually all the exercise books that Proust used to elaborate and rework the various parts of his novel. forced on Proust when his editor pointed out that the material Proust had supplied for volume 1 was too copious and that he would have to make the break between the volumes earlier. In general terms.

409–14). pp.” Late in 1911. It includes (fols. In this version the young boy first sees Mme Swann. Here the informant is simply “un collègue de mon père.” after which Proust turned to Gilberte.” numbered 2 and 1.” Gilberte emerges out of that double preoccupation. he felt ready to give to a typist at the end of the year. Once he is with his great-uncle. with the various “jeunes filles. Pléiade. and he is sometimes fortunate enough to be noticed by Mme Swann. there is nothing of Gilberte. Later in 1909 Proust produced a version of “Combray” which.” reproduced in the Pléiade edition as Esquisse LXXXIV (Pléiade. 983–86. 34–42a) an incident corresponding to the indication on the “Plan” “Emotion . simply noted ideas for key incidents. The narration that follows covers the first stages of the adolescent boy’s love for Gilberte. and his indiscreet effusive greeting embarrasses the older man.. there was to be an incident taking place at the Bois. In the cahier numbered 27. some of them elaborated for a few pages. In this version. This is one of the few places where our documentation appears to be incomplete.6 there are references such as “Voir [dans] manuscrit” or “dans le 1er Cahier” that imply a source which we do not have.] pour sa mère au bois” and “Je retrouve aux Champs-Elysées ses [amis del. Pléiade. attended by a group of admirers. cf. Proust applied himself to the task of producing a manuscript of the sequel that could be typed out. and began again in Cahier 21. She is mentioned in the first part (the protagonist’s mother inquires after her when Swann visits them at Combray).] amies. On those occasions when the text of Cahier 20 was deemed adequate.The Ending of Swann Revisited 203 ‘version. although it was not complete. Swann has a daughter. and Swann greets them.5 With the typescript behind him. 13) with a “Plan.4 She also appears in the sketches for a continuation to the typescript. This prompts the protagonist to enlist Françoise in his regular trips to the Bois. both subsequently developed in A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (cf. pp. ran into several obstacles. pour sa mère au bois. son institutrice. the typescript of “Un Amour de Swann” complete.” which includes the two sentences “Emotion pour Swann[. Proust could tackle “Un Amour de Swann” and the Normandy episode. respectively. Cahier 27 opens with material for “Un Amour de Swann..’ if we allow that term. p. At the end of this sketch is the germ of M de Norpois’s revelations concerning Odette’s male friends and the reason that Swann married her. seen by the protagonist one day as he and his parents walk past Swann’s property. at the Bois when he is with his father. continuing in Cahier 24. So we know that from the beginning. he started with Cahier 20. For the section on Gilberte. beginning (fol. 457). Proust would not bother to copy it out. and when he came to .

430. Pugh number his pages for his typist. lines 7–12) and Gilberte’s parents. to p. pp. to p. p. Proust then rewrote some of the earlier incidents. A one-sentence transition was all that was needed (Pléiade. Pléiade. because she did not much like to be seen in public with a teenage daughter. 431. that Monfort influenced his father concerning the boy’s desire to write (fols. he says. 406. The youth is obsessed with all things to do with Swann: the maître d’hôtel (cf. 24–29). he copied the introductory remark of Cahier 21 (fol.]” and then centered on the line below: “Paris. He tries to imitate Swann (cf. the actress La Berma. From folio 50 to folio 58 of Cahier 20. preparing for the dinner. p. 4. 411). p. 50–51. many times. the protagonist anxiously watched to see if the sun would come out (cf. Striking the words “Morceau sur le Bois” (that incident would have to come somewhat earlier). tells us that on inclement days.” We may assume that he had in mind to go back to the pages in Cahier 27 and revise them in order to use them here. 431. p. Proust constantly reread Cahier 20 when he amplified and improved his text in Cahiers 21 and 24. He sees Mme Swann more rarely. In Cahier 20 the first stages of the relationship are worked over many. sketched quite early in the exercise book (fols. by chance (cf. in order to incorporate the nine pages describing the conversation. This phase includes his invitation to Gilberte’s house and (to precede that invitation) the dinner with a former ambassador. which.” but he did not follow it up. Proust wrote “Morceau sur le Bois. the typist (aided by Proust’s amanuensis Albert Nahmias) generally managed to follow. Pléiade. 431. Pléiade. Pléiade. line 36). 409. p. lines 28–29). lines 6–27). 399. Pléiade. Pléiade. his mother suggested going to the theater to hear La Berma. 431.). followed in turn by a new paragraph saying that Monfort had influenced his father’s decision to let him go to the theater (fols. When Proust went back to Cahier 20. 426 ff. p. 49v–50v. One incident. On the facing page. M de Monfort (later Norpois). p. Pléiade. he weaved from one exercise book to another in a complex way. line 30 ff.). p. line 25. 388). for which he created a new character. Pléiade. line 5). to her credit. line 41. line 2). p. he decided that he would allow Monfort/Norpois a role in persuading his father to lift the interdiction on visits to the theater. This leads smoothly into the existing sentence on Cahier 20. who encourages the protagonist in his ambition to become a writer and who actually dines with the Swanns (cf. This gives a new thread to the tapestry of themes connected with the dinner and the conversation.204 Anthony R. Proust returned to the episode briefly sketched a few pages earlier: the visit of M de Monfort. Pléiade. At that point on folio 50. we find (centered) “[Morceau sur le Bois del. But he did come across her once. . The first of the amplifications was a completely new episode. 400. especially Swann himself (cf.

2 of Cahier 24). cf. 624. 563.3 and 65. or came. It continues directly from the end of fol. beginning at Pléiade. 624.8 . une fois que les beaux jours furent venus. 207) contains the missing flyleaf of Cahier 24 (which we can call fol.The Ending of Swann Revisited 205 In Cahier 24. fol. lines 27–28. and we can call it fol. 630. in Cahier 27. We see. 564. in the version preceding the mise-au-net of 1911. p. at the very end of Cahier 24. mounted so that the recto side (which is what interests us here) appears to be the verso. One is now in NAF 16703. If we put it together with fol. after the young man has become a familiar visitor at the Swanns’ house. to say nothing of Bergotte. line 6. 208r (that is. The conclusion leads off with the words “Quand j’eus commencé à connaître Mme Swann.2. to the carriage entrance of the Swanns’ house. to the street where Swann goes to visit his dentist. p. we find a text describing Mme Swann at the Bois de Boulogne. 65 (“Cet homme pervers et qui n’appréciait pas M de Norpois/m’avait trouvé”. 65. all three have left their physical trace behind in the cahier. 65. In 1911 the only comparable incident to be written out came at the end of the episode.2. it was reduced to a simple mention. Once again the typescript enables us to reconstitute the missing page. but it was still there when these pages were typed. 65. the second of the exercise books in which Proust expanded the text of Cahier 20. but we can identify them from a dossier of “fragments manuscrits” (NAF 16703) and reconstitute the original version. The relevant pages were torn out. and the typescript went as far as the end of the discussion of Bergotte.4) and the versos of folios 65. the verso of the page we have identified as fol. 65. The allusion to the Bois is not elaborated. 208. line 27. and it continues to Pléiade.3). p. Cahier 24 ends with folio 65.4). p. Two pages plus the flyleaf were removed from Cahier 24 at this point. line 41. line 27).7 The same dossier (NAF 16703. 65. using the flyleaf (fol. just after Proust has begun to say that the protagonist’s parents did not appreciate his frequenting the Swanns. The young boy trots Françoise round to the Bois. fol. then. comme je savais qu’avant le déjeuner (etc). It comes. Pléiade p. We do not appear to have the next page (fol. and that the incident was in fact written. As we now have it. immediately to a conclusion.” as Pléiade. This corresponds to the “Emotion pour Swann” in the 1910 plan. he returned to the question of the boy’s fetishism for all things associated with Swann. We must count this as a second visit. in a shorter version. that the intention of describing the spectacle of Mme Swann at the Bois de Boulogne was always part of the plan. In 1911. however. in 1910. We can see that Proust went from Pléiade. independent of the one alluded to in Cahier 24 and drafted.

but there would then be no point in writing on the following page. one would expect each of the two instructions to be two pages further along. The lines are struck. although the next page. The dossier NAF 16703 contains seventeen sheets. the “finir ici” would be a way of avoiding unnecessary questions about what to do next. with an explanation of the way he had paginated it. taken from an unidentified exercise book (fols. In this way a portrait of Mme Swann is insinuated into the text and prepares us for the closing incident. One would expect the typescript to have extended to the end of the episode. but the portion that was typed stops at the bottom of folio 65. Proust sent Nahmias a check for him to settle with the typist (Correspondance 11:84 [letter 39]). A whole new segment was written on the delights experienced by the protagonist once he has been accepted as a regular visitor to the Swann household. At its end (fol. if he had already removed the three pages. It is possible to date this activity. and on March 1 he said that he was just about ready to embark on this collaboration. he left the conclusion unnumbered.” On the following page he has written “Ne pas s’occuper de cette page. 190–206). Thus the first visit is given the status of a flashback.206 Anthony R. was probably also numbered in sequence.” evidently an instruction to Nahmias. Pugh The ending just defined arrives somewhat abruptly. Proust warned Nahmias on February 23 that he had more work for him. on which the episode was concluded. and the second visit was set aside. however. in a letter which may reasonably be assigned to the beginning of March (Correspondance 11:86 [letter 40]). in order to work further on the conclusion. 18). beginning at folio 10. The last page numbered is folio 65. and it is not surprising to find that Proust wished to insert more material between the discussion of Bergotte and the conclusion. and we see that Proust has explicitly written “finir ici. Proust appears to be about to evoke a time when the protagonist knew Gilberte only at the Champs-Elysées and would admire Madame Swann’s toilette. if the exercise book was still intact when Nahmias received it. . This is surprising.2.11 What we find there are the two passages not yet written: not only the first visit to the Bois. Proust therefore spent some time on a new sequel and conclusion to the main text of Cahier 24. as Proust had second thoughts. When he paginated Cahier 24. No text describing the first visit to the Bois was supplied to the typist. paginated from 1 to 17. following the second in the narrative sequence. All of this happens in another exercise book. who prepared the often confusing manuscripts for the typist.9 Proust sent Nahmias the manuscript of the Gilberte section. therefore. cataloged as Cahier 23.10 On March 29. and pointing the contrast between now and then. in the middle of a sentence.

At the break where the true epilogue (the third visit) begins.)”14 The letter has been variously assigned to October 1911 and to January 1912. Elles se suivent.”16 Miss Hayward left Proust’s employ in June 1912. 419. celle de Cabourg.” fol. line 34). exactly? The answer to this question depends on how we date a letter to Nahmias in which Proust is quite explicit about her first task (Correspondance 11:25–26 [letter 4]): “La chose commence par une vingtaine de pages détachées que j’ai mises dans le cahier rouge. writing from the standpoint of the present. line 33). the English stenographer who had typed the first part of “Un Amour de Swann” at Cabourg in 1911.13 When. The most plausible date is later still: mid-May. elle est à Paris et m’a demandé de la recommander. 196). elles ont une pagination spéciale (Ayez la bonté de paginer 560 la première feuille de dactylographie qui sera faite . it finishes at “une majesté dodonéenne” (Pléiade. sachant qu’elle s’y promenait autour du lac [sic]” (cf. y aurait-il possibilité de votre part à ce que vous choisissiez comme dactylographe Miss Hayward.” THE TYPESCRIPT This new concluding portion was typed by Miss Hayward.The Ending of Swann Revisited 207 but what we can call the third visit. Pléiade. The text of this final portion is not quite complete. which puts paid to Vigneron’s hypothesis that the idea of including a nostalgic evocation of the Bois came to Proust only after he had tried unsuccessfully to go there in company with Mme Straus in November 1912.12 By concluding with the narrator. Cher Albert. p.15 In view of the fact that the first typist appears to have been paid off at the end of March 1912. undertaken in the present by the narrator. Proust took a new sheet (“7.” which is where he wanted Miss Hayward to start once she had typed the new ending to “Noms de pays: le nom.. p.. The passage begins “Pour [l’del] apercevoir [Madame Swann add]. A gap of six weeks since having Cahier 24 typed would have allowed Proust time to work at “Noms de pays: le pays. but May 1912 seems a far more likely date. but the hypothesis falls by virtue of the undoubted fact that the sentence in question had been typed in the spring of . implying that it followed directly a text which ended with the name of Mme Swann. Proust neatly balances the opening of the entire novel: “Longtemps je me suis couché de bonne heure.17 It is true that the first of the letters Proust wrote to Mme Straus on the subject seems to attribute the idea to her and that there are a couple of similarities between the text of the letter and that of the novel. 409. it would appear that Miss Hayward came back on the scene no earlier than the end of March or the beginning of April.

p.208 Anthony R. This was to be followed by the second visit. comme incomparable au reste. but the organization was not altered. me faisait considérer22 tout ce qui entourait la fille de Mme Swann comme doué d’une existence extraordinaire.20 The page numbers of the typescript are adjusted so that the pages Miss Hayward typed first. line 11: “Mais la beauté”). is where it will finally be located.18 A fortiori. p. of course. The first visit. they are paginated 1 and (presumably) 2. It was a last-minute correction to the typescript. the vast majority of the changes were made. This addition leads into the evocation of earlier excursions to glimpse Mme Swann.19 Miss Hayward typed this conclusion and “Noms de pays: le pays” before she tackled the new material on the protagonist’s cultivation of Mme Swann (Cahier 23. Pugh 1912 and revised in the summer. we remember. That. Because folios 65. 626 (from Pléiade.. beginning at page 560. those three pages detached from Cahier 24. Subsequently. follow in sequence.2 and 65. the first visit remembered as a flashback. Proust added to the typescript a new transition to move from the second series of visits to the Bois into the earlier visits. quand mon amour pour Gilberte . however. They have been renumbered to follow the “17” of Cahier 23. in 1912. before the protagonist knew Mme Swann. we cannot postpone the visit to the following year. The transition from the second series of visits to the Bois to the preadolescent pilgrim. and the third visit. on what is conventionally called the “second” typescript. with the . and copied to the “first” by Proust’s valet. is uncommonly awkward. as the old Pléiade edition did. is reproduced as part of variant b to Pléiade. The typescript therefore gives us the proper conclusion to the narrative of “Autour de Madame Swann” and a three-part coda: the second visit. now greatly augmented). that is where it stays. The text. The idea is that he would not have found Mme Swann so elegant had he not had a predisposition to believe it: “Et cette croyance aurait dû naître en moi un peu plus tôt. but the change we are considering was sketched on the first typescript and copied by Proust himself onto the “second” one.. which Proust improved when he himself copied it from one copy of the typescript to the other. 1427.3 had not been typed. Nicolas Cottin.23 The typescript Proust sent to Bernard Grasset in March 1913 therefore included the three visits at the end of the long section on Gilberte.” He wonders if she recognized in him the young adolescent of two years before.21 But for the time being. found on the typescript. The typescript was heavily corrected. had originally been conceived as part of the first half of the Gilberte story. and the text of Cahier 23 starts with page 3 and runs to 17.

At that point was a truly purple passage. The appropriateness of these paragraphs to conclude the volume is demonstrated by the fact that Proust moved them from that position to the actual end of A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs. et ainsi cela en fera 670” (Correspondance 12:222 [letter 99]). Maybe Proust would have come to realize that the first visit would have been more fitting where he had originally located it.24 The first run of galley proofs.”) or galleys (eight pages each). Dès que j’aurai pu trouver comment finir. comprised ninetyfive “placards” (hereafter “pl.. begun on March 31 and finished June 7. THE GRASSET PROOFS It was soon obvious that the first volume was excessively long. as part of the ritual followed by the young boy. 24 above). Proust told Louis de Robert that there were ninety-five galley sheets and that he would finish the volume at an earlier point (Correspondance 12:211 [letter 94]). and to Jean Cocteau he wrote: “J’ai dû couper la fin du premier volume car cela faisait 850 pages. attached to all that was part of Gilberte’s world.The Ending of Swann Revisited 209 first visit sandwiched between the second and third. on the view of the sunlit sea from the bedroom window of the hotel in Normandy where the protagonist is staying with his grandmother. The pages concerning Gilberte run from pl. for things took a different turn.. Je vais donc être obligé de reporter au commencement du deuxième volume ce que je croyais la fin de celui-ci (une bonne dizaine de placards) . je vous renverrai les premières et les secondes épreuves. 75. Je vois maintenant que j’ai reçu toutes le premières épreuves. une fin n’est pas une simple terminaison et .25 Allowing for the inevitable expansions that would take place when Proust corrected the galleys. je ne peux pas couper cela aussi facilement qu’une motte de beurre. Proust is sending back the first forty-five galleys. c’est-à-dire très prochainement. 83 of the galley proofs (see n.. The necessity of breaking the first volume earlier than was intended surfaces in a letter Proust wrote to Grasset around June 24. Proust was probably thinking of the passage identified earlier as page 633 of the typescript. and he explains why he did not return the last fifty sheets earlier: “Comme je vous avais dit.. j’étais très impatient de savoir à combien de pages nous allions . we can understand why there are references to a volume of 800 pages.. dans quelques jours.27 . Cela demande réflexion et arrangement. 53 to pl. which comes on pl.. dated from May 15 to June 6. leaving just two paragraphs in the original place.”26 In like vein. que le volume aurait plus de 700 pages. But we cannot know. chiffre que nous avons dit de ne pas pouvoir dépasser.

His first idea was to conclude with the “rayon de soleil sur le balcon. including Georges de Lauris. but on the third proofs. Ce que je ferai comme petit volume si je m’y résigne.” He said something similar to Robert himself: “Le volume n’aura pas huit cents pages. 388. wanted him to plan separate volumes of 400 pages each. and several others from the first ten days of July. line 17). line 38. 408. imply that Proust was thinking about ending the volume earlier still. to whom Proust wrote on July 11: “La difficulté est que des petits volumes. was originally located at the beginning of the section. Si vous y attachez une énorme importance. Other correspondents were brought into the discussion. that very acceptable compromise had to be abandoned. Or je me demande si c’est la peine de tout bouleverser. 405. the transition to joy is effected by the sight of a shaft of sunlight on the balcony. line 21) there are two incidents. he told Cocteau. it appears at the end of the volume. but Proust refused to countenance breaking before page 500: “mais ce sera affreux. the division is not signaled on typescript or galley proofs) nor at the point when the protagonist receives an invitation to have tea with Gilberte at her home (pl. 67). quand un premier volume de 700 pages allait si bien” (Correspondance 12:228–29 [letter 102]).” In the end he abandoned this idea and returned the incident to its original place. The break would come. d’avoir une fin de volume idiote pour cela. as it would leave the first volume still too long. ce sont des volumes de 520 pages. But he would have to rework the previous pages. 392. la chose est trop en train pour que ce soit encore possible. Robert. p. before Pléiade.28 In the passage moved (from Pléiade. so that the volume did not seem to end on a muted note. Pugh Unfortunately. Proust does not seem to have considered breaking where “Noms de pays: le nom” yields to “Noms de pays: le pays” (pl. before the long episode of the dinner with Norpois (Pléiade. line 38. to p. Proust had settled for a first volume of 500 pages. both moving from despondency to happiness. 75/7. 59. après y avoir fait toutes les modifications destinées à en assurer l’unité” (Correspondance 13:396 [letter 228]). so he might as well allow himself 660 (Correspondance 12:224 [letter 100]). p. p. by the arrival of Gilberte at the Champs-Elysées. on pl. Grasset nailed him down: “Il est donc entendu que vous me renverrez corrigées les 500 premières pages destinées à constituer notre premier livre.210 Anthony R. in the second. mais environ six cent quatre-vingts. he decided. By the next day. line 40. je me résignerai peut-être à le couper pas tout à fait au milieu et à le faire de 500 pages environ” (Correspondance 12:217–18 [letter 97]). The two incidents . the passage which now follows Pléiade. In the first incident. But soon after that he told Robert that it would be unthinkable to finish before page 550. chaque page étant le double d’une page ordinaire. p. 408. The letter to Cocteau.

The Ending of Swann Revisited 211 have been reversed in order to end with the poetic passage on the sunlight. Other evidence shows that Proust returned this material to Grasset at the end of July. 398. then. going to p. p. The last columns of pl. 25]). changed to 60) has been written on pl. three-quarters of the way through “Un Amour de Swann. p. at this stage the page on the “pilgrimages” (Pléiade. they concluded with the sunlight on the balcony. 390 “variant a” and p. 59 (from which columns 7b and 8 would have been removed).32 and in NAF 16753 there is a second copy of pl. That was because the passage had originally served as a transition between the two halves and was no longer relevant. We do have a trace of this other set. to p. p.29 The new link connecting Pléiade. 55/6b). 58/2.34 In his instructions sent on July 29 to Charles Colin. 390. 55/3b–6a which does just that [NAF 16753 fol. 55/8 (bcd) was attached to pl. to p. p. 392 “variant a”). 408. 318. p. therefore. page 392. inserted after the description of the young boy’s fascination with the world of the Swanns. 408. Proust’s intentions are to be inferred from the new page numbers. 26v). and they had formed the basis of the “second” proofs. line 13) after pl. line 21). 388. was actually made three lines earlier on the third proofs (we call the bridging lines pl. 392 “variant a”) has been added by hand. So Proust incorporated it in a later passage by attaching another copy of column 8c to pl. On this set. that when Proust sent the galleys back to Grasset. line 38). line 21. Proust may have made his new arrangement clearer on the set which went to the printer. 56/3. 409. Grasset’s secretary. p. line 17. p. We can assume. 392. The galleys preserved in NAF 16753 show something of this modification. to p. 55 have been removed in order to paste pl. the old lady reading the Débats (Pléiade. 405. line 39.30 A page number (59. both awkward (see Pléiade. 55/8c (the old lady reading the Débats) was struck. Proust had to add two new transitional sentences.” and dated from May 30 to July 15. 390. on May 23 (Correspondance 13:384 [letter 218]). The rest of pl. and from it pl. line 40 (p. The inversion is not very convincing. indicating that the newly organized passage was to go in after pl. line 17. 388. p. The break on Pléiade. line 33) came before the other examples of his fetishism (Pléiade. to page 388. Louis Brun. line 40. 55/6c–8a (Pléiade. the printer. lines 13–32) was moved and attached to a later passage that brought in the same character.31 The number 56 has been written onto pl. . which comes at line 39 on the set we have been considering. 398 “variant a”).33 He had already sent off the first forty-five galley sheets. p. As we have said. 56/1 (fol. The passage that had originally served as a transition between the two halves (Pléiade. 56/2 (following Pléiade. 55/8bcd.

He restored the episode of the sunlight to its rightful place (toward the bottom of p. 56. and the third set of proofs are dated from July 31 to September 1. 55/6c–8. with the two halves in their original order.” But we have seen that Proust numbered one copy of the transferred sunlight episode 60. 55/6 after. The next modification involved moving the opening page of the concluding section and putting it at the end (pp. where they would have closed the first volume in a poetic. 500b–504). Once Proust received the new proofs (at the beginning of September).38 .35 On this set Proust included the whole of pl. 408–9). manner.” but he immediately adds “car les placards 60 à 95 feront partie d’un deuxième volume” (Correspondance 13:399 [letter 231]). he could incorporate his new ending into them. 55/6b (Pléiade. which figured on the galleys as a flashback at the very end of the Gilberte portion of the novel.36 Pages 479–84 of the proofs are therefore replaced by the ten pages of the galley proof (pl. which would have the protagonist waiting at the Bois de Boulogne to see Mme Swann pass.37 Proust had to copy a few lines at the end of the intercalation. a place had always been reserved for a mention of the Bois at this point. as pl. not just the first two sheets. if not very relevant. Proust had come up with a better idea. 478 of the proofs). and with the original transitional paragraph (pl. and putting them into page 500. to end the first volume. This change was undoubtedly occasioned by the need to make a smooth transition into the new ending. and not before. 106). The switching back of the two halves of this section meant moving the second half of page 495 and the top half of page 496. 56/8 does not quite join onto page 485 of the proofs (fol. lines 36–39). Pugh speaks of “les premières épreuves corrigées des placards 45 au placard 60. and the text of the third proofs resumes with page 485. the sentence we identify as pl.212 Anthony R. It may have been the passing reference to going to the Bois which suggested to Proust that a more effective solution still would be to use the first visit to the Bois. 55/8c) reinstated. 55/6b–7 are considered a single page). and if he did the same on the copy sent to Grasset. that would make sense of Brun’s apparent contradiction. 56. au bas duquel se terminera le premier volume. however. The printer set to work with a will. The pages on the sunlight. have of course been moved to follow after NP 408. 59/7a. By the time he corrected the page proofs. with the two halves inverted. As we have seen. It is unlikely that the galleys returned by Proust went beyond pl. with complicated written indications to show the new order. preceded by pl. augmented by the “rayon de soleil. Rather than use the last pages of the new proofs (pp. 388. p. he went back to his galleys and inserted into the set of proofs he returned to the printer (NAF 16756) a fresh copy of pl. and he cut pl.

le livre sera divisé—et stupidement sans qu’on puisse dès le premier volume se douter de ce que cela sera. 74/1.The Ending of Swann Revisited 213 As for the actual ending.” p. 74/1 and pl. The page proofs were not sent back to Grasset until October 10 (Correspondance 13:401 [letter 233]). 60v). do not support this. “C’est à peu près ici que commence la nouvelle fin” (this indication should have come two lines before the bottom of pl. Proust’s intentions would have been made more precise on the proofs sent to the printer). fol. fols. “ne fait pas partie de ma fin nouvelle. Je n’allongerai cependant pas le livre. line 32.40 Daudet read them immediately. The proofs. 75/7). and so all he had to do was to attach them. The nine galley sheets that were transferred are paginated 501–9. Proust has conserved only pl. with the lines that were transferred struck out (NAF 16753. Proust wrote to Robert: “Je ne laisserai pas la fin telle que vous l’avez lue. he wrote in blue pencil at the top of pl. 62v–63r). On the copy which would have stayed at the original place. One sympathizes with Vigneron all the same.39 On the copy of pl. 74/5–8 is missing. to make the conclusion even stronger. 74 which Proust transferred (NAF 16753. Because nothing is ever simple with Proust. we have to add that pl. en trois volumes)” (Correspondance 12:254 [letter 115]). 74/1. Traces of the rethinking of the ending can be found in letters around the beginning of September. The published ending of volume 1 is just too spectacular for the context. however. 462) and assumed that only the first half (the first visit) was considered and that the epilogue proper (the third visit) was added later. and we know that the epilogue was always connected to the protagonist’s earliest memories of the Bois. though it is needed for the coherence of the narrative. After pl. J’ajouterai seulement cinq ou six pages qui se trouvent au milieu du second volume et qui feront un couronnement un peu plus étendu” (Correspondance 12:271 [letter 119]). Vigneron observed that the new ending went beyond “five or six” pages (“Structure. 74/1b to 75/6. Shortly after this. Toward the end of August. following page 409. So. Proust has added by hand the next lines (taken from pl. 75/7–8. 75/6. Proust offered to send Lucien Daudet “si cela pouvait vous amuser de parcourir les épreuves de mon premier volume (car hélas. we have pl. he wrote: “J’avais justement envie de vous écrire parce que j’ai eu l’idée d’interpoler un peu les dernières pages que vous avez (ou plutôt de leur rendre leur ordre primitif) et d’ajouter pour la fin du volume quelques pages qui venaient plus loin et que vous n’avez pas” (Correspondance 12:257 [letter 116]). He did send Daudet his proofs. 74/2.” and on pl. again. . within two days. and Proust replied to his comments at length. In his reply. we have seen that Proust had prepared his galleys. followed by the word ‘Fin’.

based chiefly on internal evidence. Albert Feuillerat. when the last page was moved.214 Anthony R. but not in the details. however reluctantly.” Proust frankly overstretched his material. CONCLUSION Vigneron’s explanation of the ending of Du Côté de chez Swann. with an explanation of how the previous pages had been changed.” and he continues. n. Vigneron unfortunately had his own idea of the original order. was able to track down a .. 440–42 and p.” pp.. and placing it at the end of “Autour de Madame Swann. mais j’y vois de grands avantages . incorporates the new ending. but it is very elliptical. But by bringing forward a third visit. 47). Pugh The next set of proofs. Another pioneer in the field of genetic studies on Proust. 442. The “inconvénients” which Vigneron details all go back to the time when Proust paginated his cahiers. the order Vigneron finds incoherent was already there. is sound in its general thrust. He deployed much ingenuity in showing how. and it did not really help Daudet to reconstitute the full passage. of which he received only the new ending. the fourth. and it has no basis at all in reality (“Structure. Proust sent Lucien Daudet a copy of the last pages. One could add a curious postscript. which overwhelms a narrative that had barely begun. Vous jugerez bien si cela termine mieux que le soleil sur le balcon. it necessitated moving the others and redistributing them in order not to render incoherent some of the detail in what Proust had already in place. which was to end volume 1 with a first visit to the Bois—something already drafted in the very first sketches and alluded to in the typed version. What emerges when we marshall all the evidence now available to us is that Proust already had the solution to his problem.” It works extremely well. the proofs tell a different tale. It would be unethical to meddle with the text Proust approved. admirably suited as a conclusion if the volume had been able to reach the climax of the second visit. “Et ce n’est qu’après eux que je mettrais (ce qui en ce moment est un peu avant): ‘Les jours où Gilberte ne venait pas.42 As I have said. but nothing prevents readers from postponing their reading of the third visit to the end of “Autour de Madame Swann.’” This account of what he had done to his text does mention the two principal changes. les jours où je vois du soleil sur le balcon” would come “quelques pages plus haut.”41 He told Daudet that the only difference between the new text and the one Daudet had read was that “le jour de neige. “Je vois des inconvénients à finir par ce morceau.

J.-Y. Hereafter the 1978 reprint will be cited parenthetically in the text as “Structure. cited parenthetically as Pléiade by page and line numbers. 1:409–14 and 414–20. and not the constraints of a publisher’s deadline. A la recherche du temps perdu. Marcel Proust. and they do not figure in Grasset’s proofs. unless otherwise stated. edited by Armine Kotin Mortimer and Katherine Kolb. 430–66.” Modern Philology 44 (1946): 102–28. 1104. 1. 3 above). This reference does not survive in the published novel. By that time. But Proust constantly came up against the difficulty of organizing the episodes suggested by his teeming brain. “Structure de Swann: Prétentions et défaillances. 3 vols. He too overstated his case. all references are to vol. arguing that Proust’s modifications marked a decline in poetic sensibility. Comment Marcel Proust a composé son roman. however. reprinted in his Etudes sur Stendahl et sur Proust (Paris: Nizet. 1987–89). NOTES A shorter version of this article was delivered as a paper at the Proceedings of the Proust Colloquium held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in April 2000 and will appear in Proust in Perspective: Visions and Revisions. But in one respect his research has not been challenged: following Feuillerat. to be published by the University of Illinois Press in 2002. (Paris: Gallimard. Robert Vigneron. and Feuillerat lost credibility as a result. waiting in the wings. 1934). and when he was faced with the challenge of producing a readable draft of his novel. pp. Only when he was tackling his second volume seriously did he reintroduce the girls. copyright 2002 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. that they were introduced at a late stage in the elaboration of the second volume. 2.The Ending of Swann Revisited 215 sufficient number of proofs of A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs to demonstrate Proust’s original intentions for that volume (see n. so too do the manuscript cahiers show that Proust always thought of populating his seaside resort with a group of enigmatic schoolgirls. Subsequent references to this edition appear in the text. 4. Tadié et al. without the girls. the contents of volume 2 had been announced. Yale Romanic Studies 7 (New Haven.: Yale University Press. quotation on 1:414.. p. ed. The exercise books of 1910 are full of experiments involving these girls. But they were there. 1978). and this time it was the freedom afforded by the war. . 21 of the Pléiade edition: see Pléiade. But just as there was always an idea to have a “Morceau sur le bois” in the first pages of the section on Gilberte. which pushed Proust into restoring his original intentions. everyone assumes that the girls themselves were not intended by Proust for the first visit to Normandy. Conn. but it will be found in “variant a” to p. 1. he shelved the idea. Albert Feuillerat.” 3.

with two carbon copies. 1911 (the rest of “Combray” plus 16731 and 16734. three-quarters of “Combray”). ed. line 41. 625. Correspondance 11:85 [letter 39]). placed where it is because most of it has to do with Normandy.” was typed out. Only a few pages of the third run survive. 12. NAF 16730–16732 (commonly. 626.” begun at Cabourg by Miss Hayward and completed and in part retyped in Paris by someone else). but most of the other two runs are in the Bibliothèque Nationale collection. in 1909 (16730 and 16733. 65 of Cahier 24 in March and completed . p. The typescript shows that the next word was “louanges” (later changed to “tous les éloges”). which he says appears to follow one made in a letter dated with certainty March 29 (“Avez-vous dit à monsieur votre père combine je lui étais reconnaissant. (Paris: Plon. 8. It seems to me more likely that the second reference must follow the first after a gap sufficiently long to have made Proust guilty for not having found time to write. Philip Kolb. b). His argument is based on an allusion to Nahmias’s father (“J’ai tellement souffert que je n’ai pas encore écrit à Monsieur votre Père”). Pugh 5. line 27. lines 32–36. but we cannot speculate further. It is obvious from the appearance of the exercise book. Pléiade. It was typed in stages. we know that there were lines scored out. Pléiade. lines 3–6 differently ordered (see p. line 16 (“tous les plus beaux raisonnements que j’aurais pu faire. Nahmias indicates that the pages come from a “cahier noir. 135. that nothing is missing from Cahier 23 at this point. p. p. as those dozen lines would not have filled a manuscript page. 630. The entire manuscript. Je n’ose pas après si longtemps lui écrire”. although the manuscript cahier that Proust was following contained about twentyfive pages on the “deux côtés. line 2. All subsequent references to the correspondence are cited parenthetically in the text as Correspondance by volume and page numbers followed by letter numbers in brackets. possibly first versions of the passage that was typed. which will be part 4 of the novel. 988–91. to p. 626 var. Most of the exercise books Proust used at this period were black. 10.2) took us to Pléiade. line 23. Marcel Proust. pp. 564.” typed as far as fol. 625.” which might point to Cahier 23. 134. 564. 7. known as the first typescript) and 16733–16735 (the so-called second typescript). lines 22 and 26–39. Folios 190–206. The typescript of 1909 did not go further than p.216 Anthony R. p. “Noms de pays: le nom. if inaccurately. toutes les”).” 6. Correspondance. The last two pages were much rewritten before Proust came to the version we read now. 9 to the end) is reproduced as Esquisse LXXXVI. Pléiade. however. The numbers are therefore not in themselves a guide to the chronology. 9. The missing page evidently included Pléiade. line 23. The numbers attributed to the cahiers by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France classify the exercise books according to the part of the novel most implicated and within each division follow a chronological sequence. 626. Kolb places this letter at the very end of March. 21 vols. 629. 11:46. to p. Cahier 27 has the call mark NAF [nouvelles acquisitions françaises] 16667. 624. which went as far as the end of “Noms de pays: le pays. 1970–93). 51 [letters 17 and 20]. 65. The text of all the second half of this epilogue (from the middle of p. and 1912 (16732 and 16735. 13. “Un Amour de Swann. The previous page (fol. p. p. then p. Pléiade. 11. and p. although they are not arbitrary. lines 7–19.

“18” and “20. 14. 11 of the Correspondance was published. and the conjecture that Proust added the third visit when he made the transfer. ed. p. 1284–85. The manuscript mentions “feuilles mortes” and his difficulty in sleeping (but in a different connection from letter 128). 1971). which comes directly after “Autour de Madame Swann. “Structure” (n.” 15. p.” 21. p. 66. They clearly belong in sequence. pp. 1954). Cahier 23. 19. in the Bulletin de la Société des Amis de Marcel Proust 7 (1957): 280–81.” entirely typed by Miss Hayward in June). a. and Shuji Kurokawa (“Remarques sur le manuscript et la dactylographie du ‘Récit de Cricquebec’” [Paris: unpublished memoir. 1280. The note in the Pléiade edition also implies the connection (Pléiade. The first editor. as Kolb suggests (see his n. 18. 1996). and June by Kolb. 125. 409 var. p. in my view. n.. See Vigneron. 17.. Henri Bonnet. 462. the one which starts at the end of “Noms de pays: le nom” and continues with “Noms de pays: le pays. In an article which counts as my opus 1 (“A Note on the Text of Swann. The other piece of “evidence” accepted in that article.-Y. The word ‘nostalgie’ (letter 148) is not imported into the novel until the typescript is corrected (see Pléiade. See the “chronologie de Marcel Proust” in Marcel Proust. May. n. which was not known at the time vol. “il faut que je finisse pour la dactylographe les dernières pages de mon premier chapitre” (Correspondance 11:32 [letter 11]). The “cahier rouge” is not Cahier 22.. 3). in which Proust says. 3 vols. see also his study Comment a été conçu “A la recherche du temps perdu” (1959. but Cahier 70.2v) are pp. dated it September or October 1911. The twenty loose pages are obviously the seventeen sheets we have just described. (Paris: Gallimard. “Alors. b). 414 var. the Normandy section. 291 [letters 128 and 148]. Tadié.e. “17.” and the two sheets we have (65. 70).. 1278. 2 above). Kolb’s dating rests on a remark in a letter to Robert de Billy that Kolb plausibly dates January 19. I pointed out (p. Pierre Clarac and André Ferré. addressed to Nahmias and dated January. 1).” Adam International Review 260 [1957]: 101–4). rien ne me causait plus d’émoi . Kolb assigns it to early January.The Ending of Swann Revisited 217 by Miss Hayward in May–June. can however no longer be sustained. 104) that the statement that comparison of the fourth and fifth proofs shows that the passage was added in the autumn of 1913 is ill founded.” . which should read “et jouait aux barres avec sa fille. 1988]) adopted this suggestion (p. 676. fol. and “Noms de pays: le pays. the typescript of which does indeed begin at p. 69. Letters 4. Cahier 70 is the manuscript for “Noms de pays: le pays.” The traditional dating is accepted by the Pléiade editor: see Pléiade. 560.” in Bulletin d’informations proustiennes 17 [1986]: 7–20) suggested early June (p. 414. and 78 of Correspondance 11. but that still antedates the letters to Mme Straus. be reassigned to mid-May. pp. reprint. should all. 12). But it seems reasonable to assume that Proust was referring there to the whole of the Gilberte Swann section.4 and 65. 16. and J. Françoise Leriche (“Une nouvelle datation des dactylographies du Temps perdu à la lumière de la Correspondance. Correspondance 11:239. A la recherche du temps perdus. 18 is p.” i. Paris. 1:xxxix. 20.” We need to restore the words omitted at the end of the sentence on p. Marcel Proust (Paris: Gallimard. whereas the request to Nahmias accompanies another part of the typescript altogether.

2:65. 53–59 were not with them. 12 and are included in vol. where col.218 Anthony R. pl. 55/6b.) to indicate the first column of galley 56. We can see from the next proofs that the corrections received by the printer do not entirely coincide with those we read on the sets that we have. “Votre manuscript contient une matière formidable. n. 28. Vigneron’s argument that there were more than ninety-five galleys (“Structure. lines 11–17. “Sur le copiste de la première dactylographie. Correspondance 13:392 [letter 225]. 157–58. Neither set is complete. The pagination of the galleys skipped from pl. fol. the rest having been cut out when this provisional solution was abandoned and the original text restored. I discuss this suggestion in the next paragraph of the main text. lines 20–34. 59. 29. where we include more than one unit. pp. n. fols. 4). 2 above]. The . The Bibliothèque Nationale has two runs of the third proofs. 56 is fols. see my article. we use suffixes. 1. 1 (for example) is on the sheets foliated 1v and 2r. 95r). n. 163. also p. of a set Proust did not correct. 26. after several lines that have disappeared. See also Pléiade 2:1367. These two sets are independent of the one which was corrected tidily and sent to the printer (see n. 1989). 115–21. and from 65c that it concluded. 1490. Word omitted from the Pléiade transcription. 55/6bcd. Vigneron identified the allusion correctly (“Structure” [n. pp. 27. 59 (NAF 16753 fol. 24. fols. Placard 55 is NAF 16753. Consequently pl. lines 15–37 and (with a different link) 306. lines 20–21. one uncorrected (NAF 16757) and one corrected (16756). NAF 16753 contains several such sheets. 23v and 24r. Pugh 22. 88 was not quite right. NAF 16754 likewise contains several sheets. 164. 55/6a. and pl. 437. 43) does not hold water. 431. 26v and 27r. We see from variant 64b that the passage began with the lines now at 305. We use the code pl. ‘Bricquebec’: Prototype d’ “A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs” (Oxford University Press. The last two sheets of pl. he would suggest breaking at p. Copied from NAF 16732. though his conjecture that it came on pl. 633 of the typescript (Correspondance 11:257 [letter 135]). 58. 58). 56 to pl. On the identity of the copyist. Pléiade. thus: pl. 36). but unfortunately pl. n. n. Proust had entertained doubts as early as the end of the previous October. 459–60. pl. and 306. when he told another editor he approached that if it should prove quite impossible to accommodate all the typescript in one volume.” Grasset wrote on March 5 (Correspondance 20:632 [letter 368]). It can be conveniently read in Richard Bales.” p. continuing on fol. The first 52 galleys of the set which went to the printer’s were bought by the Bodmer Foundation in Geneva in June 2000. 31r) are both missing. with 306. and where we have to distinguish different portions of a column. 25. 30. 56/1 (etc. 31. but several letters of 1913 came to light too late for inclusion in vol. On fol. 23. NAF 16754.” in the Bulletin d’informations proustiennes 31 (2000): 23–30. traces remain of this half sheet: just the very end of each line. Volume 13 of Kolb’s edition of the Correspondance is devoted to 1914. 28v of 16753 (pl. It was taken from a virtually uncorrected set of galleys. 8 has been cut after 8a (fol. of a run which Proust corrected. The eight pages of each galley have been pasted on the two inside pages of a large double sheet. 13 as an appendix. 2. to the margin of NAF 16735.

returned July 13 (Correspondance 13:397 [letter 229]). but wrongly on p. with p. clix. acknowledged receipt July 29 (Correspondance 12:236 [letter 106] and 13:398 [letter 230]). Proust took pp. 32. 411:28 to 414:39 were suppressed. and the printer. 479–85. 38. 56 after the second column. which broke at line 40. I fancy that all that happened was that the pl. 705. the Pléiade editors. 55/8. Louis Brun. as it was in place on pl. 6 (see n. The only difference. Proust is not likely to have started his cut in the middle of a sentence which just happened to be where the two halves of the galley divided. as fol. and he made the same cut without thinking. as the text of pl. which included the three lines of 388. The reference to a mistake (“entêté” for “étêté. had to be restored to its original position as the transition between the two halves of the sunlight episode. 495–96 (each pair of pages is of course printed recto/verso). p. p. 288. n. Cahiers Marcel Proust. NP says that pp. 7). 495 (lower half) and p. This is recorded correctly on p. September 1 is the last date stamped on the third proofs. Correspondance 12:287–88 [letter 128]. who speak of “les 95 placards des deuxièmes épreuves” (Pléiade. They are still in 16753. which came from pl. 56/3–8 had already been set by the printer. 1049). was that the paragraph stuck onto pl. 478 of the third proofs. He added the missing sentence by hand to p. 1 above. 55/8. as does Tadié (n. 23v–24r. 5 (Paris: Gallimard. with the result that p. pl. Autour de soixante lettres de Marcel Proust. 495. 41. 111). so that one sees p. 9 above). 67. vol. and more spectacularly.” 414:41) does not help. 112). 2). Proust left Paris hastily on July 26. 485quater. 56/7.The Ending of Swann Revisited 219 first lines of pl. 59/7 would have been copied. Lucien Daudet. 485bis. 500. the printer needed galley 46. which could have been handled simply by striking the lines he no longer wanted. 9 above) makes the same mistake (Correspondance 12:207. onto the following page (the one marked “60”). cxxxii. 61r. 496b first. 1929). 39. 33. 2). Another copy of p. n. quoted by Kolb in Correspondance 12:256. One can see from the third proofs that the text sent to the printer gave a longer transition at this point. p. 55/6b is that Proust had his working copy. 55/1–6b). on the back (fol. struck. 493 (it is struck out). n. suggesting it was to make space. 40. p. 110). The antecedent of these transferred pages is in NAF 16753 (fols. as the fourth . The inserted galleys are paginated (by Proust) pp. 495b. 37. and he turned the lower half round. adapted to the new context. 74/5–8 got left behind by an oversight. and cut it into two. 485ter. It would not have had to be recopied. Page 495a he attached to p. 34. The Pléiade variant (390a) records the new transition (between 408:38 and 390:33) as it appears on NAF 16753. 494 (NAF 16757. fol. n. This letter is unfortunately difficult to date (see Kolb. 496 (top half) was inserted into p. For the second proofs. 35. It is surprising that he did not cut pl. Page 497 follows (fol. in front of him. 36. where the final date is given as September 1. the rest is written in by hand. but only for a portion of p. but it was probably written toward the end of October. Kolb (n. but this seems arbitrary. Page 485 of the proofs is now renumbered 485quinque. one assumes. The most plausible explanation for the omission of pl. 496a appears to be attached to p.

petit. 464. étêté.” For a full list of the possible “inconvénients. p. Pugh proofs give “un seul. “Structure” (n.” see Vigneron. But the original order is what Vigneron gives in his n. “Structure. 42. . 463–64. trapu.220 Anthony R.” and Proust has simply moved the word so that it follows “trapu. but which had to be upset when Proust revised his ending. 72 (with the proviso that his units 4 and 5 were reversed). 2 above).” pp. Vigneron posited an original order which was coherent. presented as if it were the result of the changes forced upon Proust.

la dérive. in the light of this discussion. the definition of the term texte. the special case represented by Proust’s corpus. The aim in this discussion is twofold: to suggest. © 2002 by Dalhousie University. a wider definition of the term avant-texte.MAUREEN A. le prévisible. ni par un finalisme simple. The main debates have centred around the documents to be included in the term avant-texte.. il est beaucoup plus difficile de définir leur véritable spécificité [ . a rather reluctant acceptance of the term and its import in literary criticism. ].. la linéarité assurée. (Spring 2002). mais relevant plutôt de la combinatoire. (Lebrave 11) [L]a genèse d’un poème ou d’un roman n’obéit pas entièrement à un programme préexistant. given the unstable boundaries dividing the texte from the avant-texte. (Levaillant 13) T he definition of an avant-texte has undergone numerous changes on the way to what continues to be. and the general purpose and validity of this branch of literary criticism. la perte. and to examine. d’une logique autre que celle du déterminisme de cause à effet. l’imprévu ont une fréquence hautement plus probable que l’économie. Genèse non pas organique. et n’est régie ni par un processus unique. the relation of the avant-texte to the finished work or texte. and in particular his early novel Jean From Dalhousie French Studies 58. RAMSDEN Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte: A Case for an Extension of the Term? [S]’il est facile de décrire négativement les brouillons par ce qu’ils ne sont pas. ni même par le développement harmonieux d’un modèle. in the case of some critics. 221 .

for example. article. This meant that the texte could be viewed in a wider context—its historical. back and forth. poème isolé—pourvu qu’il y ait un titre et un point final” (1972:17 and 14). public texte and have acquired the status of a canonical work. linguistic. les « variantes ». les épreuves. an unfinished work. published or unpublished. of a series of avant-textes (Melançon 53). cultural. les manuscrits. in reference to which an avant-texte is usually defined. they are now a much published. defined as “le texte « définitif » ou plus exactement le dernier état d’une élaboration. genetic perspective. had an important role in the macrogenesis of À la recherche du temps perdu. The liberation of the texte from its structuralist isolation led to a tacit acknowledgement of the possible value of sources outside the texte in elucidating its full significance. for example. appeared both to free the new area of genetic studies from its early association with the work on ancient manuscripts. Ramsden Santeuil which. At what point can a work. it will be argued. quand celui-ci est traité comme un texte. was forced by censorship to produce a very different second edition of the Fleurs du mal from the one he originally published. as simply the end. Despite their original form as avant-textes. vu sous l’angle de ce qui précède matériellement un ouvrage. is itself problematic. les dimensions n’importent pas: livre. the various assumptions it makes can be challenged. and the edition which is published today. was not sanctioned by Baudelaire. There are cases of changes in later editions and in the typed copies and the proofs. difficulties over definitions immediately arise. Pascal’s Pensées are an obvious. the definition of a texte. coined by Jean Bellemin-Noël. Baudelaire. An author can even move between different brouillons. et qui peut faire système avec lui” (1972:15). This is doubly the case when a work has not been given the final imprimatur by the author. What then of Bellemin-Noël’s idea that a finished. finished or unfinished. However.222 Maureen A. and to establish the purpose and perimeters of this field of study.2 The distinction made between a public (published) texte versus a private (unpublished) texte is equally problematic (Grésillon 1994:16). literary.1 Bellemin-Noël distinguishes between le texte. signé par l’écrivain” and l’ouvrage. However. one possible end. been seen as a chance occurrence. with the “condemned” poems appearing in appendices. there has been no consensus as to its exact meaning. and finally. He defined the avant-texte as “l’ensemble constitué par les brouillons. defined as “un écrit particulier publié sous la signature de quelqu’un (l’écriture). For example. be accepted as a texte? The texte has. published work should be signed by the . much-quoted case. although the term was taken up by most critics. The term avant-texte. until one version is designated (by him/her or an editor) as texte.

comme privée de sa fin attendue. ou bien l’inachèvement est interne et touche des unités plus réduites. He thus adds the dimension of the acceptance of the reading public. mises au net and also notes on . with its particular literary and cultural norms. brouillons. in his discussion of Jean Santeuil. They can also involve the important role of an editor. Marion Schmid has discussed different factors which are brought into play when an avant-texte is finally published and accepted as a canonical texte (1998).”3 Rather than simply suggesting a closed and rather narrow definition of a texte. second. voire un mot. on the particular writer and his style of writing. known as “programmatic” writers. mais un chapitre. and his involvement in its general presentation: “What we consider to be a text depends. They include the style of a particular writer and the point at which he decides on publication. The avant-texte can appear in different guises. who decides to present unfinished work for publication. Most nineteenth-century writers such as Zola and Flaubert. while the internal level concerns smaller units of the work—a level on which some incompletion does not upset the transmission of the essential meaning of the work. The material form which the avant-texte commonly takes—the plans. une phrase. Louis Hay cites four commonly received factors in the acceptance of a texte: “auteur. on which documents they decided to release to the public) and.4 He suggests that the means of defining a work as a texte lies in the degree of completion at what he terms the external and internal level of the work: “l’inachèvement peut être externe. société” (153). to the factors already cited by Marion Schmid. on what has been established and presented as a text by publishers and editors” (Schmid 1998:20). planned their work ahead in great detail. œuvre.Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte 223 author (or given the final imprimatur) (1972:17)? The definition of a texte becomes increasingly problematic. ébauches—depends. lecteur. scénarios. leaving large numbers’ of plans. d’où l’impression d’éclatement et d’instabilité” (17). The definition of texte therefore seems to rely on a dynamic interplay concerning a combination of factors whose relative importance might change with the work of individual writers. brouillons. as Marion Schmid has pointed out. non pas le texte dans sa globalité. leading Jacques Petit to state that “[l]e texte n’existe pas. first. by extension. essential to its overall understanding. Another useful approach to the problem is offered by Thanh-Vân Ton-That. lorsque l’œuvre développée et bien construite semble brusquement interrompue. Thus the external level appears to relate to the overall plan and structure of the work. on the literary æsthetics of individual authors (and. The definition of an avant-texte is equally problematic.

themes and stylistic methods he chose to leave aside when he embarked on new directions. and can even change status several times in the course of revisions. Acknowledging the fact that the later brouillons are often potential units of texte. Furthermore. the public texte itself can be reclaimed by the writer as he makes changes in later editions and thus the texte can be said to revert to the status of an avant-texte. However. créant des réseaux et des trames. As mentioned above. but would allow their work to develop in the act of writing (Schmid 1998:xv and 43-44). The private texte can also be seen as inferior to the public texte. toutes les . seldom used written plans. is often viewed essentially as a private texte. The avant-texte is therefore seen as unfinished. the avant-textes can be seen as part of a teleological process. and of seemingly little relevance in the development of the texte. by definition. As Bellemin-Noël expresses it. Writers such as Proust and Joyce. and must therefore be included in the term avant-texte and given equal importance. as opposed to the public nature of the published texte (see Grésillon 1994). the material which was rejected by the writer in the development of his final texte is important for the ideas. for long not considered as publishable material. an avant-texte. As Grésillon remarks: Les manuscrits littéraires nous confrontent en effet bien souvent à cette image des sentiers qui bifurquent. the imperfect versions in this process. Nevertheless. embrassant toutes les possibilités. a narrow definition of avant-texte. Here the approach reflects a particular aim and genre. “[les brouillons] portent témoignage d’un labeur et du passage de l’imperfection à la perfection” (1977:5).224 Maureen A. Their avant-texte therefore mainly consists of brouillons. seen from a teleological perspective. and also 43-44. the brouillons are. unclear. can also bring about the exclusion of large amounts of material which can appear to represent very different departures from the material admitted in the final texte. known as “immanent” writers (their method being described also as écriture à processus). as necessary workings and reworkings—recognisable different stages in the evolution of the final texte. indéfiniment. where she notes the importance of Louis Hay’s work in this area). corrections and editions. Bellemin-Noël has seen the avant-texte as being defined in retrospect—when the finished work has been established (1977:6). and therefore not worthy of publication. In addition. When the texte is considered to be the perfected version at the end of a period of trial and error. The definition of the avant-texte has also depended on its relation to the finished work or texte. Ramsden historical events (Schmid 1998:xv.

(19) . However. He comments as follows on this work. Although Bellemin-Noël’s definition is somewhat broad here. he also wrote an earlier work which was also called L’éducation sentimentale.Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte 225 virtualités. lui accorder un fonctionnement plus autonome. le plus souvent même en termes de progrès. a further important shift in critical thought meant that the avant-texte itself came to be viewed as an autonomous work by critics. is that of the relation of earlier works of the writer to a later texte. (1994:12) A further problem relating to the definition of the avant-texte. we would argue that they must be considered as discrete textes. but can it be said that the first Éducation sentimentale acted as an avant-texte for the later work? The question of this particular case cannot be answered in this discussion. His definition of avanttexte. could encompass earlier unfinished works (1972:15). devenir texte. the questions it raises will be analysed later in the discussion. with their own individual significance. and even to question past definitions of the term avant-texte is of particular importance in a study of the avant-texte in Proust’s corpus. in 1845. but are there any circumstances in which the earlier works of a writer should be included in the avant-texte of a later work? If the earlier works of a writer have been published with his/her consent. written in his youth: “Novembre suivra le chemin de L’éducation sentimentale. which is not often considered. rather than as avant-textes for a later work. although Flaubert wrote several such discrete works which were published before his L’éducation sentimentale in 1869. as the need to examine closely. but Bellemin-Noël suggests general criteria which might be adopted when analysing such cases. lui accorder sa propre poétique. Raymonde Debray-Genette. a view which seemed to be strengthened by the publication of many avant-textes in recent years. which includes material which can be seen to “faire système” with the finished texte. Ah! Quel nez fin j’ai eu dans ma jeunesse de ne pas le publier! Comme j’en rougirais maintenant!”5 Flaubert thus points out the lack of maturity in his early work. et restera avec elle dans mon carton indéfiniment. Finally. which he did not publish. n’eût été la funeste biffure. for example. Intertextual references and echoes are commonly studied. tous les excès jubilatoires qui ont existé pendant le temps de l’écriture et qui auraient pu. describes this trend as follows: si l’on a pensé jusqu’ici la génétique en termes d’évolution. il semble qu’il faudrait incliner à la penser en termes de différence.

“seule la mort l’a empêché de tout refaire. alluding to his manuscripts. published the avant-texte of his own poem Le pré (poem of 1964). given rise to the texte. Proust used mainly brouillons. sur la multiplicité des états possibles in statu nascendi. As Grésillon and Lebrave express it. together with the poem itself in La Fabrique du pré. the canonical work. (Grésillon 1990:18) The problem of the boundaries between texte and avant-texte is particularly pertinent in Proust’s case. for example. was not finished when he died. voices this concern: “Or la pensée ne m’est pas très agréable que n’importe qui (si l’on se soucie encore de mes livres) sera admis à .6 Thus when is a work a texte and when is it an avant-texte? There appear to be no very clear-cut distinctions between them. even the question of their literary hierarchy can be called into question. by a process of evolution.226 Maureen A. many of which were very close to the “final” texte (Schmid 1998:xv and 44). and a wider definition of the term avant-texte (and also of the term texte) would seem to be called for. was very aware of the importance the avanttexte might come to assume in the eyes of critics and he was wary of misinterpretations. In 1971. de son unicité et de la nécessité du ne varietur. structuralist notion of texte. rather than drawing up detailed scénarios or plans (as in the case of Flaubert). The finished texte can be said to mark out what is finally excluded as avant-texte (Bellemin-Noël 1977:6). As mentioned above.. Ponge. le texte s’ouvrait sur l’ensemble mouvant et fragile des « avant-textes ». Equally it can be stated that it is the avant-texte which has. In addition. Not only are the frontiers continually changing. Ramsden Thus the avant-texte appears as an important public texte in its own right. Once we move away from the isolated. the method he used in writing. À la recherche. There are also difficulties in establishing boundaries due to the particular temperament and health problems of the writer (one wonders whether he would ever have finally completed his opus). ] annule la frontière entre avant-texte et texte en publiant à côté le texte et son brouillon” (9). de tout métamorphoser—de ce qui n’était pas encore publié” (1986:84). who preserved a large quantity of the manuscripts of both his finished and unfinished works. In his correspondence Proust. the borders between texte and avant-texte become less clearly defined: Sorti de sa clôture et de sa fixité. and also the nature of À la recherche—a modern work which has the potential to expand infinitely on an internal level. and even threatens to invade the literary space of the texte. As Jean-Yves Tadié expresses it.7 Proust.. “Ponge [ .

is generally accepted as a texte. 1924).. Contre Sainte-Beuve and even À la recherche as textes? Is it also possible to class both earlier unfinished works. For any reader who has no knowledge of the background to the publication of À la recherche. À la recherche du temps perdu. and much work was left for the editors before the texte could be presented to the public.”8 It can be argued that such misunderstandings have indeed taken place concerning the status of Proust’s early works. an unfinished work also seen as a public texte. from La prisonnière to Le temps retrouvé. sur l’évolution de ma pensée [ . as avant-textes for the “unfinished” À la recherche? Looking at the claims of À la recherche to be a canonical work. Given the . and in particular Jean Santeuil. 1971a). Thus. and publication was already well advanced when he died in 1922. the most compelling argument for considering the published novel as a texte is the fact that Proust himself intended to publish this last work. ]. à en induire des suppositions qui seront toujours fausses sur la manière de travailler. Given this situation.Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte 227 compulser mes manuscrits. Considering first of all the three major works as textes. However. is it possible to challenge the status of Jean Santeuil. As Louis Hay expresses it. and that the term avant-texte has been given too narrow a definition in regard to the works.. and Jean Santeuil. Proust’s work as a whole is commonly divided by the critics into the early works. when Proust died. and Contre Sainte-Beuve has been published twice as a work in its own right. but one which is of little importance in comparison with À la recherche. Jean Santeuil has twice been published as a novel (1952. Les plaisirs et les jours is usually dismissed as a dilettante work. Les plaisirs et les jours (1896. à les comparer au texte définitif. which preceded À la recherche. 1971b). whereas Jean Santeuil. the work might be seen as a finished texte. the later volumes contained much material about which Proust had not always made a clear decision regarding publication. so creating the boundaries between texte and avant-texte. although Proust’s intention to publish the final volumes of À la recherche was clear. “[la décision de l’auteur] tranche le cordon ombilical de la genèse et fait basculer l’avant-texte dans le texte” (154). Contre Sainte-Beuve. public texte. The early works include various articles. though unfinished. Jean Santeuil and Contre-Sainte-Beuve. with a different emphasis between the narrative and critical strands in each edition (1954. and the final. Thus the large amount of avant-texte which existed for the volumes published during Proust’s lifetime was excluded from the final texte. with some obvious errata and omissions. which is situated at the mid point and is seen as a turning point in the work as a whole. and even Contre Sainte-Beuve. the imprimatur had not been given to the last volumes of À la recherche.

before the fourth and final version of the sentence. and later Jean-Yves Tadié. qui ne l’était pas encore en 1922. a certain degree of incompletion does not mean that a work must be rejected as a texte. Pierre Clarac and André Ferré.”9 The strength and clarity of the novel’s external structure was largely in place when Proust died. The published texte had thus on the whole been considerably improved at the internal level. as Tadié has pointed out. et qui ne le sera jamais” (9). As concerns the internal structure. there is considerable justification for calling À la recherche a texte. en insérant des passages laissés en notes par nos prédécesseurs [ . qu’il crut achevée en 1913. Speaking of Tadié’s edition. Ramsden personality of the writer and the modernist cultural climate. when they published À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs. On the other hand. en rétablissant des corrections voulues par Proust. “[l]e dernier chapitre du dernier volume a été écrit tout de suite après le premier chapitre du premier volume. The final sentence of Le temps retrouvé.. The first editors. Tout l’ « entre-deux » a été écrit ensuite. in the Pléiade edition of 1954 (3 vols. as well as the work’s acceptance by the public. was reworked several times and the word “fin” appears in an earlier version. The overall shape and thrust of the novel had been clear from the first drafts and facilitated the editor’s work. As Proust himself explained. physically.). ]” (Proust 1987:I:clxxii). so that it does not appear. with the help of Proust’s brother. an important element in examining incompletion in a work is the level on which it is found—internal or external. at the end of the manuscript (1986:84). As Gérard Genette expresses it. the amount of material Proust might finally have . in the Pléiade edition published between 1987 and 1989.. “[j]amais [Proust] n’aura connu l’authentique achèvement de cette œuvre. As Ton-That has pointed out. Thus on the level of the near completion of the external structure (and to a lesser extent the internal structure). The NRF completed publication of the posthumous works. in relation particularly to the unfinished volumes. qui ne l’était plus en 1914.228 Maureen A. simply acted as intermediaries in an attempt to be true to Proust’s intentions. However. having taken over responsibility for the whole work in 1919. the status of À la recherche as a texte can also be challenged on the level of the amount of intervention of the editors. However they differed in the text they presented for the unfinished volumes. used the NRF edition for the work published during Proust’s lifetime. Tadié points out that all the latest corrections were not available to the editors in 1954: “Nous avons pu améliorer le texte posthume. Proust might indeed have continued to expand his novel. Marion Schmid has remarked that “most critics agree that the new Pléiade provides the most authoritative text of À la recherche du temps perdu to date” (1995:56).

and both the finished and unfinished volumes were accepted by the reading public. even by the well-known publishing house NRF. even assigned a title to the work and to the . for example. je la lui soumets et la lui développe. (1981:321. This was reproduced in the structure of the novel so that any set of units or echoes could be added to in order to produce further links and echoes.Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte 229 included and any further additions he might have made cannot be known. the idea of the acceptance of a texte by the reader and the public is particularly helpful when considering À la recherche. Proust did not resolve this problem for Contre Sainte-Beuve. or some slight confusion regarding names and characters. is of little importance given the novel’s overall richness and coherence. woven around the ideas of the literary critic. l’Essai de Taine en mille fois moins bien [ . which itself embraced incompleteness. and it remained an unfinished project in Proust’s lifetime (Schmid 1998: Part II. Maman vient me voir près de mon lit. he effectively abandoned the work. The method of his writing. as described by Bernard Brun. (Du côté de chez Swann was published by Grasset in 1913 and the NRF finally agreed to publish all of Proust’s novel to date in 1919. The editors of these editions played a much bigger role in presenting the unfinished material than did the editors of À la recherche. Sainte-Beuve. The absence through incompletion of several links in the narrative.. he seemed unable to decide between writing a more formal essay of literary criticism and presenting his ideas in the form of a narrative piece. were thus recognised by the editors and the reading public. no. du réveil.. Finally. by Pierre Clarac and Yves Sandre. As Bellemin-Noël expresses it. and both unfinished versions were left in manuscript form. Proust shows his hesitation over form in a letter to a friend. Despite its unfinished state. the novel was finally published. The case of Contre Sainte-Beuve is more complex. Though at first it was misunderstood. Though Proust had intended to have the work published. Madame de Noailles. Bernard de Fallois. in 1908: La première [étude] est l’essai classique. À la recherche was also awarded the Prix Goncourt in 1919. je lui dis que j’ai l’idée d’une étude sur Sainte-Beuve. La deuxième commence par un récit du matin. Contre Sainte-Beuve was finally published in 1954 with a preface by Bernard de Fallois. chapter 2). shows a “stellar approach” (“écriture en étoile” [5]). ]. and also in 1971. “[le texte] nous est offert comme un tout fixé dans son destin” (1979:116).) At the literary and cultural level the special qualities of this modernist novel. 171).

he selected one for publication (Proust 1954:27). in his introduction to the texte. rather than setting all the material aside. in its original state. was not sufficiently advanced to categorise Contre SainteBeuve as a texte. omitting the narrative elements of the manuscripts (Proust 1971a:829). were published and given textual status. In addition. and parts of it have been claimed as avant-texte for À la recherche (Tadié 1983:19). De Fallois. c’est une idée de livre” (Proust 1954:28). and those which had the form of a narrative. often somewhat changed. le coucher de Combray. Mais en montrant ces applications. Parts of the work. However. He also brought together. but too selective. in different episodes and parts of À la recherche. Tadié argues against both editions. and where there were several versions of a passage. le séjour à Balbec.230 Maureen A. the question of the form the work was to take had not been resolved. presented in two very different editions. la poésie des noms et les deux « côtés »” (Proust 1954:11). In Tadié’s view it was Proust’s attempt to bring together such an abundance of material. the parts of Contre Sainte-Beuve which existed in the form of an essay. Clarac and Sandre focus on the manuscripts relating to the critic Sainte-Beuve. the status of Contre Sainte-Beuve as texte might be challenged in relation to both editions. In the 1971 edition. in his edition. la rencontre des jeunes filles. Proust began to develop the narrative side of Contre Sainte-Beuve and parts of it reappear. himself concludes that “Contre Sainte-Beuve au fond n’est pas un livre: c’est le rêve d’un livre. Maurice Bardèche describes the turning point as follows: “[Proust a essayé] d’illustrer en quelque sorte la théorie qu’il professait en en montrant des applications. while at the same time attempting to reconcile two very different stylistic approaches. seeing the first as being representative of Proust’s aims. which led him to abandon his original idea. while the second presents only the argument against Saint-Beuve’s method of criticism and neglects the narrative elements of the work. Thus Contre Sainte-Beuve assumes a rather schizophrenic existence. However. Forme and fond were seemingly irreconcilable. c’était son roman que Proust écrivait sans le savoir très clairement peut-être” (168). However. Pierre Clarac retained both the title and the general arrangement of the fragments of text of the first edition. De Fallois cites six episodes found among the feuillets intended for Contre Sainte-Beuve which reappear in À la recherche: “la description de Venise. However. it can be argued that these “textes” . with the result that “[c]e livre inachevé explosait sous l’effet des tensions internes” (1986:79). especially at the external level (the arrangement of the nucleus of the principal ideas). It can be argued that the work. Ramsden different sections of it.

Finally.. rather than abandoned. It might therefore.Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte 231 should have been published as avant-textes both because Proust did not intend them to be published as textes and because they remained incomplete on both the internal and the external level. it was the first editor who gave the overall title of Jean Santeuil to the work. As in the case of Contre Sainte-Beuve. paradoxically. However. ] ce n’est pas sans scrupule que nous livrons au public une œuvre que son auteur a gardée pour luimême et n’a pas achevée” (Proust 1971b:986). What then of the status of the early “novel” Jean Santeuil. Clarac describes De Fallois’ approach as follows: Il a rassemblé ces pages détachées en chapitres suivis qu’il a groupés euxmêmes en dix parties. et finalement abandonnées par l’auteur” (1983:15). mean that. amalgamer des développements distincts. modifier parfois les noms propres. the manuscript was published posthumously in the guise of a novel. made to serve as an avanttexte to the earlier unfinished work. and then by Pierre Clarac in 1971. Pour donner à l’ouvrage ainsi agencé une cohésion apparente. non classées. to date.. little work has been done on establishing links between À la recherche and Jean Santeuil. Contre Sainte-Beuve can also be considered to have been finished. There are numerous examples of unfinished sections and sentences and unfinished . as well as subtitles to the many short sections in this confused mass of manuscripts. appear to bear some of the important characteristics of an avant-texte. leading Clarac to express his reservations about the approach adopted as follows: “[ . first by Bernard de Fallois in 1952. Tadié describes the original manuscript as “mille pages. because it becomes the novel À la recherche (Tadié 1986:83). He also organised the work by reference to the finished novel À la recherche (Tadié 1983:123 and 139). il a dû procéder à des interversions et à des suppressions. though there has been a lot of discussion concerning the links between Proust’s final novel and Contre Sainte-Beuve. réparties en chapitres inachevés. finished work was. (Proust 1971b:981) The 1971 edition is more faithful to the unfinished original. Thus the canonical. more importantly. and the very different reading experience they provide. as a private piece of writing and as an unfinished manuscript. begun in 1895 and abandoned in 1900? Both the number of years that separate the writing of Jean Santeuil from that of À la recherche. unpublished.10 Proust had intended to write a novel. but left the work unfinished and. and somewhat paradoxically.

]. much of it had not been put in any order. For example the first “chapter.” as marked by Proust. More importantly.232 Maureen A. n. unlike the practice of the earlier edition... both on himself and on his surroundings. Mais Jean avait beau se plaindre de ce temps: le long du chemin plutôt brillant qu’ensoleillé. although he had written many pages of his first novel. Thus in September 1896. in a letter to his mother.. some episodes do not have any clear point of insertion in the work. becomes the prologue in the 1971 edition. “[« Jean aimera la poésie »]” (211). and these are presented in a separate section of “Fragments” at the end of the 1971 edition (880-98). consisting of no more than about twenty lines of text. Proust’s manuscript was not only incomplete. In the section to which Clarac has given the title “[Le « parc » au petit jour]” not only is the last word incomplete. However. is placed before the prologue (Tadié 1983:123). il avait le sentiment d. puis replongés dans l’ombre. dans les champs au bout desquels la présence du soleil se trahissait par un vague rayonnement [ . Proust wrote: “[ .. many of the different sections end abruptly and appear unfinished. The general rule used by Clarac in organising the material was a mixture of chronology and associated themes (Proust 1971b:982). Ramsden or missing words.. is also unfinished: Il faisait lourd. “[le collège]” (230). As Clarac points out.. the titles invented by the editors are placed in square brackets. with subsections such as: “[le baiser du soir]” (202). However.. and the unfinished introduction. The first section is named “[Enfance et adolescence]” (1971b:202). il se sentait vivre à la fois dans cette journée et dans des journées pareilles d’autrefois.11 Consequently. 2). (Proust 1971b:296-97)12 Titles have been suggested by the editor for the many sections and subsections of the novel to which Proust had not given a title or chapter heading. it was not near completion because he had not discovered the overall “message” which he wished to convey. which once again highlights the incompletion of the text. et dans les iris pendant quelques instants éclairés de plus en plus jusqu’à étinceler. Proust reveals in his correspondence that. but the full meaning of the long sentence which attempts to express Jean’s impression of the effect of the weak sunlight in an overcast sky. ] si je ne peux . “[d]ans la première phase de son travail Proust lui-même ignorait quelle place il assignerait aux diverses idées qui traversaient son esprit” (Proust 1971b:982.

De Fallois and Clarac do not always agree on what material should be included or completed in their editions. ]” (1952:135. However. and also into named chapters within the parts.” and “[Ernestine]” (1971b:277. There are in addition unnamed sections where a break in the text appears within a chapter. The 1971 edition is divided into named parts and subsections (often in square brackets. the second section has the overall title of “[À Illiers]” and covers much of the same material as the earlier edition. “M. the second part or section of the novel (concerning the Santeuil family’s stay with relations in the country).” “Les rues.” belongs to a section within a chapter (probably in “Les soirées de Dieppe.” “Lilas et pommiers.” “[Petite ville dévote]. The first five divisions or subsections.” “M. Sandré.” though M. In Part I of the 1952 edition (61-131) the first four titles are “Les soirées de Saint-Germain. ]. 278..Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte 233 pas dire que j’aie encore travaillé à mon roman dans le sens d’être absorbé par lui.” “[Lilas et aubépines]. showing that they are the work of the editor).” etc.. In the 1971 edition. Santeuil n’avait pas trop à faire [ . given in square brackets and thus added by the editor. quand M. . Sandré. “Headings” or loose indications of the content of a part are given at the beginning of each new section of the text. In the 1952 edition. de le concevoir d’ensemble [ . are as follows: “[Arrivée]. (the titles being given at the beginning of the second section [133]). the text is divided into both parts. However. 65). Some of these headings are the same as the chapter titles. The first chapter of Part II of the 1952 edition is entitled “Étreuilles” and the second chapter is named “Journées de vacances” (135. The titles and content of these subsections do not always correspond with the divisions in the 1952 edition..” and “Marie Kossichef. 280. or on the order and general mode of presentation of the material to be adopted..” “[Lilas et pommiers]. which are numbered. the divisions into subsections within each part of the 1971 edition are much more numerous than in the 1952 edition.” “Ernestine. no.” “Les soirées de Dieppe. begins in the same way in both editions: “Quelquefois à Pâques. 143). puisque avant je travaillais sur des feuilles volantes—ce cahier est fini et il a 110 pages grandes” (1976:124.” Three of these titles belong to a chapter but the exception. Sandré is also mentioned in the chapter headed “Marie Kossichef”). 281). some sections only consist of half a page of material. The result of the unfinished nature of the manuscripts and of the different editing styles is that the reader is presented with two rather different “textes” in the 1952 and 1971 editions. le Cahier que j’ai acheté et qui ne représente pas tout ce que j’ai fait. The material found in the first four divisions of the second part or section of the 1952 edition is given the titles “La maison d’Étreuilles. 1971b:277). There are no obvious divisions into chapters.

was published posthumously. differ in the two editions. as in the case of both Contre SainteBeuve and Jean Santeuil. As Clarac observes: Il n’y a pas à se demander pourquoi il a abandonné Jean Santeuil. the changing position of the dining-room chairs before and during meals. at this early hour. Tous les thèmes qu’il portait en lui et . appear several sections later (in the section entitled “[Après le déjeuner”] [304-05]). as stated above. The description of the family enjoying a leisurely digestion follows this account without any obvious link (155-58). just before the meal begins (Part II. in Part II. Is it not therefore possible to argue that Proust later reworked the material of Jean Santeuil in À la recherche to the extent that it became an avant-texte of the canonical work? In fact Proust drew widely from the material of his first novel as he did from Contre Sainte-Beuve. entitled “Journées de vacances. it is not to begin something new. who undertook to present the works in a readable form. Il ne l’a pas abandonné. In the 1971 edition the order appears even less logical. the texte lacks closure because Proust himself had not discovered any satisfactory overall plan for his novel.” there is a reference to the fact that Jean often returns home for lunch to find the chairs already around the dining-room table (154). When Proust appears to abandon a project. as in the case of Contre Sainte-Beuve. parts and sections. that the content and the order of the material.234 Maureen A. while the descriptions of the chairs. “À Illiers.” section entitled “[Farniente après le repas]” [1971b:286-89). Ramsden Looking more closely at the placement of the material within the different sections. it is questionable whether Proust’s intentions concerning this work were clear enough to warrant their publication as textes. chapter 2. set either around the table. or against the wall in the dining-room. and the description of the family’s leisurely digestion. are still aligned against the wall (154). An example of the different ordering of material in the two editions concerns the descriptions of the family gathering for lunch while staying at Étreuilles or Illiers. In the 1952 edition. This is followed by a reference to the days when he spends much of the morning reading in front of the dining-room fire and the chairs. However. and which also owed much to the intervention of the different editors. but to present the same nucleus of inspiration in a different way in an effort to translate his vision. Such differences in the text of the two editions of Jean Santeuil are largely due to the unfinished nature of the work which. More importantly. The reference to the leisurely digestion comes immediately after the return of Jean and his grandfather from the park. as well as the means of dividing it into chapters. Jean Santeuil reveals many echoes of À la recherche and could be said to pave the way for the later novel. it is evident.

which resembles. in Jean Santeuil as shown. as well as the method of their presentation.” were first introduced in Jean Santeuil.14 Many episodes and themes found in À la recherche are also prefigured in Jean Santeuil. where he develops an obsession for a playmate (Marie Kossichef in Jean Santeuil and Gilberte Swann in À la recherche) who does not form part of his social circle. Looking first of all at the material of Jean Santeuil in comparison with that of À la recherche. which have been added by the editor to the different episodes in Jean Santeuil. but also the themes. although there are changes in both the names of the characters and of places. In terms of an artistic vocation. particularly those found in “Combray. Episodes which occur in both novels include the drame du coucher (sometimes referred to as “le baiser du soir”) and the description of wealthy arriviste social circles. moins objectivement qu’ils ne le seront dans la Recherche. On the level of themes. particularly the pink variety (1971b:330-33).. Many of the characters of À la recherche. find their echo in the résumé of the latest Pléiade edition of the novel (Proust 1987).” (Proust 1971b:983) Although Clarac might be said to be overstating the case here in seeing Jean Santeuil as a more important source for À la recherche than Contre SainteBeuve. many episodes and characters. the Verdurin clan in À la recherche. These include the young hero’s visits to the Champs-Élysées. Thus both young heroes experience the way in which separation increases and even creates their feelings for the loved one. found in À la recherche. were prefigured in Jean Santeuil. many of the experiences in love described in À la recherche are prefigured in Jean Santeuil.. by the way in which Jean shares Marcel’s love for the hawthorns. and the much-loved mother from whom the child can hardly bear to be separated. plus étroitement rattachés au détail et aux hasards de sa propre vie. and the great-aunt (Madame Servan or Sureau in Jean Santeuil and tante Léonie in À la recherche). Jean Santeuil can be usefully analysed as an avant-texte for À la recherche.Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte 235 autour desquels s’organisera son œuvre maîtresse y sont déjà posés. ]. to a limited extent. Therefore. using the criteria discussed above. such as the Cresmeyer family. particularly at night). Marcel’s poetic sensibility is already apparent. it is evident that Proust reworked not only the characters and episodes of his early work. Although there are some allusions in Jean Santeuil to the .13 Thus many of the headings. C’est de Jean Santeuil (et non de Contre Sainte-Beuve !) que la Recherche est sortie [ . such as his parents (the rather authoritarian. in its obsession with social prestige. for example. These include members of the child’s close family. but unpredictably kind father.

they are much less numerous and less emphasis is placed on them than in À la recherche (for example. 1971b:247-48 and 897-98 in the “Fragments divers”).”15 Jean Santeuil is written in the third person. dans ces heures de déchirure où elle découle. One of Proust’s greatest difficulties in Jean Santeuil was to transform the particular experiences of life into the more widely familiar and useful material of fiction. It is therefore possible to state that Jean Santeuil fulfils a very important criterion of an avant-texte—that of being part of the developmental process . rather than the first person found in À la recherche.” while there are few references to Marcel’s schooldays in À la recherche. which are a more important part of À la recherche. In the quotation placed by the editors just before the opening of Jean Santeuil. in the early work we learn more of the hero’s days at the lycée. In addition. An example in the earlier novel would be the comment on the lack of harmony in the feelings which people experience towards each other at different times: “Hélas! les heures n’apportent pas à chacun les mêmes pensées” (1971b:412). in the form of maxims. as are the generalisations. Marcel’s love of literature and his slow discovery of his artistic vocation are a more important part of the basic structure of the novel. Ce livre n’a jamais été fait. obvious differences between Jean Santeuil and À la recherche. In À la recherche.236 Maureen A. Proust points out his difficulties over form: “Puis-je appeler ce livre un roman? C’est moins peut-être et bien plus. the central character. as in À la recherche. The many abrupt endings to the different sections can be seen as pointing to a structure designed by means of association. including their often violent disagreements. In addition. The structure of the early novel follows. for a means of expressing it. in a stellar structure (cf. Memory. Beulier’s “classe de philosophie. There is also greater interaction between the hero and his family. the chronological order of Jean’s life. Brun). In Jean Santeuil there is a much larger amount of biographical detail. one of the cornerstones of À la recherche. by association. some of the episodes are grouped. is treated only briefly in Jean Santeuil (for example. The preface (originally chapter one of the work) has a similar aim. on the other hand. more importantly. This point of view appears to distance the reader from the experiences of Jean. Such techniques are characteristic of a modernist work such as À la recherche. 1971b:211-15). l’essence même de ma vie recueillie sans y rien mêler. to some extent. of course. There are. including Jean’s experiences in M. Tadié even suggests that this technique was not simply a manner of working. There are also some similarities and differences in the two novels on the level of technique. il a été récolté. Ramsden hero’s desire to write. The early novel was a product of Proust’s youth when he was still searching for his material and. but points to an integral part of Proust’s style (1986:76).

is too often overlooked. though this status. On the other hand. une étude philosophique? Suis-je romancier?” (Carnet I. The fact that Proust incorporated large parts of Contre Sainte-Beuve into À la recherche means that Contre Sainte-Beuve has quite rightly been considered as an avant-texte. The fact that the experience of reading Jean Santeuil and Contre Sainte-Beuve is so different from that of reading À la recherche can be explained by the fact that. In conclusion. if not the internal level. He had experimented with both a narrative form and a dialogue.Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte 237 (“système. Proust constantly drew on this earlier material on the level of both fond and forme. given their state of incompletion on the external as well as the internal level. therefore. but the differences can be seen as part of an overall development which made the later novel possible. his use of the material in terms of his style and vision changed quite radically. Both Jean Santeuil and Contre Sainte-Beuve have been published and largely accepted as textes. Their appearance as finished textes is mainly the work of editors. the important links between Jean Santeuil and À la recherche have been neglected for too long. À la recherche can be accepted as a texte because it shows completion on the external. and experiment with a more modern stellar structure in which groups of episodes develop out of one another by association. whose contribution. quoted by Bardèche 171). Contre Sainte-Beuve was not completed or published mainly because Proust failed to find a suitable form for his material. the cahiers and separate sheets of brouillons. Both works were left mainly in the form of notes and brouillons by Proust. which evolved into the later novel before its own form had been finally established. but continued to pose the question: “Faut-il faire un roman. Jean Santeuil. though Proust often worked and reworked the same material. to depart from the familiar chronological and causal structure of nineteenth-century realist fiction. the status of Proust’s major works. the avant-texte must include the early unfinished novel. . Given these circumstances. Contre Sainte-Beuve. In Jean Santeuil it can be argued that Proust experimented with different forms. At the same time he was impelled to move in yet another direction. Not only are there similarities and differences between the two works on the level of both content and technique. In Proust’s work the term avant-texte has thus a wider definition than is commonly the case.” to use Bellemin-Noël’s term) which gave rise to À la recherche. fol. More importantly. who did not intend to publish them. as in the pastiches. and was intended for publication by Proust. It includes not only the carnets. both in terms of content and the working out of a final form for À la recherche. can be challenged. 2. but also an unfinished earlier work. both as textes and as avant-textes. but failed to develop a suitable technique for presenting his ideas. is questionable.

qu’il essaya ensuite de combiner et de « monter » selon différentes formules et dont l’assemblage ne donna finalement un chef-d’œuvre que lorsque Proust eut découvert le « rythme » selon lequel ils allaient pouvoir s’ordonner? (12-13) Closer inspection also shows that the whole corpus of Proust’s work. It is a work which broke away from the the realist Jean Santeuil. both by what they contributed. which grew out of this material. but not at the external level. part of which remained unfinished at the internal.. Contre Sainte-Beuve is a work of criticism which is turned in upon itself. whose subject concerns the process of writing. and by what they withheld. Both Contre Sainte-Beuve and also the early “novel. is a narrative work underpinned by Proust’s theory of art.” Jean Santeuil. . in manuscript form. que Proust avait écrit la Recherche du temps perdu pendant toute sa vie [ .. characterised by its potential for the endless reworking of its boundaries. ] toute l’œuvre de Proust pourrait être placée sous le signe de l’inachèvement” (26). can be seen as a crossroads.238 Maureen A.. rather than simply stating it as in Contre Sainte-Beuve. que Proust avait construit son œuvre avec une certaine quantité d’éléments préfabriqués dont un grand nombre étaient déjà « fondus » et prêts dès les années de jeunesse de l’écrivain.. Ramsden À la recherche du temps perdu. À la recherche du temps perdu. which. ]. It becomes self-reflexive. is both a discussion about Proust’s ideas on art and a narrative. Bardèche’s description of the role of the different avanttextes for À la recherche can be applied both to Contre Sainte-Beuve and to Jean Santeuil: Était-il vraiment indifférent d’apprendre. en étudiant ces manuscrits. were instrumental in fashioning the final work. in reworked form. which enables Proust to move on to the final phase in his writing. The more didactic Contre Sainte-Beuve. et fallait-il négliger la constatation qu’on pouvait faire alors. which itself barely emerges in canonical form from the mass of avant-textes. so that new routes could be pursued. As Ton-That expresses it. is a continual reworking of one novel. and which is itself a texte. it contains the germ of explicit auto-criticism. This led to the emergence of a modern novel. À la recherche is a modernist work which demonstrates its own æsthetic. and especially Jean Santeuil and Contre Sainte-Beuve. “[ .

” the sentence is barely begun before it is broken off.Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte 239 NOTES 1. They have. 6. though a longer version is used in the latter. Sandré]. Grésillon refers here to the study by Anis. 2. 14. On p. at the end of the section entitled “[M. The second edition of 1861 contained 126 poems in all. appeared in 1857. censored by the courts. 3. inserted as a prologue in the Pléiade edition. See Clarac in Proust 1971b:990. Proust also allowed publication of a page of his original manuscript in a volume of his work published as a special edition. but not the idea which is only broached. 259). Ton-That looks at different levels of incompletion in Proust’s first novel. 4. stated firmly that he would finish his work: “Je veux tout de même [ . 15. including whether the incompletion is internal or external. Many such studies have appeared in the Cahiers Marcel Proust and the Bulletin d’informations proustiennes. comme voulait bien le dire un critique. See other exemples in greater detail in Marc-Lipiansky 227–39. However Proust. The page sequence. he refers to it in a letter (1981:295). in a letter to Paul Souday in 1919. was at least intended for publication by the author. . pour que je cesse d’écrire À la recherche du temps perdu” (1981:536). starts at page 1 and finishes at page 105 (numbered pp. including chapter 1. consisting of 100 poems and five sections. 20–87 in the manuscript).. The sentence could be considered finished. or pp. a looser. however. 9. if not published. 8. 7. 5. ] vous donner l’assurance qu’il n’y a pas besoin de ma mort.” However. See Ramsden on the evolution of the character of the great-aunt (Mme Servan or tante Léonie) from Jean Santeuil to À la recherche. In this discussion. Letter (1919) to Paul Souday (Proust 1981:536). 10. several poems from the first edition. Jean Santeuil. 202–242 in Clarac’s edition. working definition of a texte will be used as a starting point—that of the completed or nearly completed work which. See also Clarac. see the end of the section entitled “[Matinée au jardin]” (Proust 1971b:300). 13. The first edition of Baudelaire’s Les fleurs du mal. were omitted. and six divisions. quoted by Hay 147. 12. including a new section. Preface to his first Éducation sentimentale of 1845 (see Flaubert 19). been included in some posthumous editions.. For other examples. and Mme Schiff (1993:372–73. Petit in Les manuscrits. no. 11. Proust had however numbered some parts of the work. Letter (1922) to M. “Tableaux parisiens. 245. numbered by Proust in the manuscript. This fragment is used as a prefatory note in the printed texte in the 1952 and in the 1971 editions (1971 b:181).

“Le statut de l’œuvre : sur une limite de la génétique. Grésillon. Bernard de Fallois. Paris: Flammarion. ——. 1977. ——. 1976. 1980. Colloque. La naissance du monde proustien dans Jean Santeuil. Jean Santeuil. Jean-Louis. 1980. Hay. Proust. 11–24. signification. présenter les brouillons. Grésillon. Paris: Garnier-Flammarion. “Préparatifs d’un texte : La fabrique du pré de F. Paris: Les Sept Couleurs. 1971a. and Jean-Louis Lebrave. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. Paris: Nizet.” Revue d’histoire littéraire de la France 5–6 (1971):804–14. VIII. éditions. Marcel Proust romancier. 1988. Marc-Lipiansky. ——. Bellemin-Noël. “Lecture et analyses des brouillons. Paris: Seuil. Jean Santeuil. 7–12. établir un avanttexte. Mireille. Paris: Plon. Bernard. Paris: Plon. Clarac.240 Maureen A. Pierre. Marcel. Philip Kolb. Pierre Clarac and Yves Sandre.” Essais de critique génétique. Paris: Presses universitaires de France. Correspondance. Paris: Calmann-Lévy. Almuth. 1975. Gustave. 1974.” Bulletin d’informations proustiennes 21 (1990):3–5. 1981. ——. “Lecture psychanalytique d’un brouillon de poème : « Été » de Valéry. Paris: CNRS-ENS. Paris: Gallimard. L’éducation sentimentale. 1954. Vol. Pref. Ramsden WORKS CITED Anis. 1952. 1979. Les plaisirs et les jours. ——. 1982). 1972 Le texte et l’avant-texte : les brouillons d’un poème de Milosz. Les plaisirs et les jours. Lebrave.” Poétique 16 (1985):147–58. 1896. 1990. Bernard de Fallois. Paris: Gallimard. 1971. 103–49. Métamorphoses du récit : autour de Flaubert. Jean. Ponge. “La place du Contre Sainte-Beuve dans l’œuvre de Marcel Proust. Robert. Proust à la lettre: les intermittences de l’écriture. Paris: Gallimard. Philip Kolb. Correspondance. “La question de l’écriture.” Langages 69 (March 1983):73–83. Raymonde. Contre Sainte-Beuve. Melançon. Charente: Du Lérot. Paris: Larousse. Maurice. Lille: Presses universitaires de Lille. Paris: Gallimard. Flaubert. ed. ——. Paris: Seuil. 1924.” Recherche de Proust. Brun. Genette. Les manuscrits : transcription. 1971b. Eds. Almuth. “« Le texte n’existe pas » : réflexions sur la critique génétique. “Reproduire le manuscrit. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. Eds. ——. Levaillant.” Littérature 28:3–18. Louis. Debray-Genette. J. Vol. Ed. . Paris: Gallimard.” Langages 69 (March 1983):11–23. Ed.” Langages 69 (March 1983):5–10. Introduction. Ed. ——. Éléments de critique génétique: lire les documents modernes. Pierre Clarac and Yves Sandre. “Avant-propos. ——. “Avant-propos. Contre Sainte-Beuve. Gérard. 1994. II. Écriture et génétique textuelle. ——. Bardèche. Jean.” Études françaises 28 (Autumn 1992):49–65.

Ed. Schmid. “L’inachèvement dans Jean Santeuil. “Un autre Marcel ? Analyse structurelle et génétique du rôle de la tante Léonie dans « Combray ». 4 vols. ——. XXI. XVIII. Thanh-Vân. Vol. Philip Kolb. 1998. Oxford: Legenda. Paris: Plon. 1986. Paris: Plon.” Bulletin d’informations proustiennes 25 (1994):17–26. Ton-That. “Proust et l’inachèvement. Correspondance. Philip Kolb. Proust. Ed. 1995. ——. Jean-Yves Tadié. Paris: CNRS. communication. 1987–89. 1990. Paris: Belfond. 1993. création. “Teleology and Textual Misrepresentation: The New Pléiade Proust. 1987. À la recherche du temps perdu. ——.Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte 241 ——. Ed. Processes of Literary Creation: Flaubert and Proust. ——. Jean-Yves. Vol. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade.” Le manuscrit inachevé : écriture. Ramsden. Maureen A. Tadié. 1983. . Correspondance. Marion. Paris: Gallimard.” Bulletin d’informations proustiennes (forthcoming).” French Studies Bulletin (Autumn):15–17.


One narrative posits that aesthetics is the late-twentieth-century answer to ideology. and the Work of Beauty iterary study may currently appear to be invested in a reexamination and revaluation of the aesthetic.1 The reasons for such a renewed interest in beauty and its kin equally may seem obvious from some perspectives. In the drive to bring theory and practice closer together. a can’t-we-all-get-along response to the perceived fracturing of the academy brought about by ideological and critical conflict. this explanation may be correct. at its best. © 2002 by the Johns Hopkins University Press. but a turn to aesthetics can be differently explained and holds different value for critics who recall the powerful role aesthetics plays in Enlightenment philosophy. raises compelling interest. as a theory of the relationships between readers and texts. is only about as accurate as one might expect. a mode of sensibility through which texts L From Eighteenth-Century Studies 35. The response in the 1990s to the barely accessible complexities of such theory has been. and their followers. 243 . Meaning. though satisfying in the way of all neat reductions. Hand in hand in recent years with a turn to history. to integrate theoretical acuity within accessible writing about art and culture. the discontinuities and processes through which texts and meaning are made. Foucault. 3 (Spring 2002). no better than it should be. In some cases. a legacy whose revision was at the heart of the critical theory of Jauss. it is.G A B R I E L L E S TA R R Ethics. like many a Victorian heroine. Such an approach. the aesthetic. Lyotard. to resituate literary criticism. no. we find a turn to beauty.

244 Gabrielle Starr enter into and change the worlds of the people who read them.2 This essay sketches a pattern common to ethical and hermeneutic approaches to the aesthetic both then and now. Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) undertakes to resolve the foundations of both public and private virtue as a rebuttal of “licentious systems” like Mandeville’s utilitarian approach to vice (and simultaneously provides the framework by which a capitalist economy can be made a civil one). and at the core of the conflicts surrounding turns to aesthetics—both in the eighteenth century and at the start of the twenty-first—are problems of labor and meaning. if aesthetics matters. but in turning to aesthetic theory. Swift. even briefly. As Ronald Paulson points out. The pressing questions are those of discipline. what role might both the question and its answers play in current reformulations of literary study? The merging of aesthetic inquiry with ethics or hermeneutics has its most explicit statement in the eighteenth century and is reinforced by latetwentieth-century critique. in turn. in large part. at bay. and Proust—an unlikely grouping. I bring together works by Hogarth. But the return to the aesthetic. Kant’s Critique of Judgment (1790) steps in to resolve the apparent conflict between the first and second Critiques and to reconcile or unite . raises significant questions about how literary studies as a discipline is constituted. what does aesthetic inquiry produce that no other form of questioning can? And second. First. most literary study of the aesthetic proceeds from Shaftesburian assumptions and suppresses or ignores the serious challenges offered to this strain within the eighteenth century by “less respectable” thinkers like Hogarth. examining the reasons aesthetics tends to become an appealing object of contemporary theory-as-hermeneutics and a de facto domain within the larger field of ethics. a response to the perceived moral crudity and inadequacy of Hobbesian philosophy. Major texts in the early years of British and continental aesthetics tend to emerge as answers to problems that on the surface do not concern the aesthetic at all. like the return to history. all but replaced by ethics or hermeneutics. Recent work by critics like Elaine Scarry has made bold and intelligent statements about the potential of the aesthetic. In opposition to this tradition. many contemporary critics tend to reenact the melding of categories at the heart of the emergence of eighteenth-century British aesthetics: aesthetic experience and aesthetic inquiry are compressed and frequently conflated. and aesthetic inquiry is. The theories of aesthetics promoted early in the century by Shaftesbury or Hutcheson are. This pattern is in part the result of giving precedence to the Shaftesburian tradition of aesthetic theory. perhaps—in order to explore what happens when the temptations of hermeneutic and ethical approaches to the aesthetic are held.

they take on meaning through their implications of community and can be made to build it. Enlightenment aesthetics is accordingly the object of a landmark hermeneutic enterprise. or Eagleton. .” but its peculiarities also make it seem an answer to scholarly dreams of interpretation. holding up precariously balanced philosophical projects and offering a way to challenge their integrity. For De Man. Common sense signifies a “sense of public weal. Eagleton argues that aesthetics provides a key support for the precarious stability of the bourgeois liberal subject. the aesthetic often seems ready or able to “intervene. national identity. Meaning. mediating larger cultural practices and concepts to shape knowledge so that it is eminently serviceable. Aesthetic judgments signify the productive commerce of social beings. Whatever aesthetics may be. subject for critical dissection. it is a turn to the social. class. Derrida finds aesthetics at the heart of what he reads as the fundamental Enlightenment antipathy to insuperable difference. gender. What is intriguing here is an oft-noted characteristic of Shaftesbury’s thought: the relative indeterminacy of the borders of the philosophical or disciplinary areas surrounding taste (ethics in particular). When Shaftesbury turns to beauty.4 The apparent position of aesthetics as a cultural and intellectual in between—mediating questions of cognition. the fruit of a care for the relationships between judging subjects. For twentieth-century critics like Derrida. love of the community or society.” to function “as a dream of reconciliation. De Man. the actions and claims of a conversational circle of educated men and women. aesthetics does a lot of work. and the Work of Beauty 245 freedom and necessity.6 A judgment of beauty is the considered product of societal commitments.Ethics. even ethics—means it seems the perfect. and of the common interest. This is the essence of the Whiggish common sense Shaftesbury places at the basis of taste.5 For these theorists.” requires social support. and the natural equality there is among those of the same species. or that sort of civility which rises from a just sense of the common rights of mankind. even in “sense. humanity. aesthetics holds within itself a fracture “fatal” to the culturally enforced unity of philosophy and ideology. economics.3 It is thus that Enlightenment aesthetics becomes tempting fruit: to quote Terry Eagleton. if overdetermined. natural affection. Such an understanding of aesthetics makes a great deal of sense: the ease with which the aesthetic slips into other disciplinary modes seems one of its fundamental characteristics in the Shaftesburian vein of the tradition. Aesthetic theory then becomes a critique of this disciplinary role. its critical capital comes from the way it performs in larger systems.”7 Shaftesbury’s grounding of beauty. obligingness. Aesthetics in this sense is a discipline par excellence.

and has given us strong Affections to . In cases such as this. to its importance. If aesthetics is merely the lesser sibling of ethics. sometimes as ontological principle—is apparent in almost every significant essay on the subject in the period. aesthetics is less a philosophical discipline than a practicum for artists and viewers. about the constitutive shape of aesthetic experience. In more theoretical treatises. though certainly correct. independent). It is also insufficient. There is of course nothing in British philosophy called “aesthetics” (prior to Alexander Baumgarten’s 1750 treatise) in the same way that there is “ethics” or “metaphysics. to excite our pursuit of it. My concern here is rather the constitutive boundaries of the aesthetic as a mode of inquiry. and any need for grounding is satisfied by providing rules of creation or criticism. terms. First. two methods of approaching the issue. is rulebound..8 Aesthetics is grounded in natural law.” but noting neither the absence of a name nor the absence of a classical model gets at the heart of the peculiarity of aesthetics as it comes into being. historical. understood as a science of art. as I stated the question above. does it require its own tools. there is the possibility that aesthetics. There are.246 Gabrielle Starr It would not be amiss to wonder. and aesthetic judgments are justified by that law. The problem is at bottom one of ground: on what basis might one stake a claim to aesthetics. the rules of art as juridical ground usually appear subordinate to the implications of taste as a cross-disciplinary principle. whether for him there really could be any such thing as aesthetics at all. and coherence? This is not a Kantian question about the (supposed) autonomy of aesthetic objects. or inquiry at all? Could we not merely be satisfied with its ontological and disciplinary superiors? And finally. : He has made Virtue a lovely Form. While Hutcheson does not equate the moral sense and the sense of beauty. political. disciplinary integrity. arguing that our internal perception of ideas and objects allows us to find beauty in actions (and hence in virtue) as well as in objects of sight or hearing: “The Author of Nature has much better furnish’d us for a virtuous Conduct. he gives them the same ground. though not isomorphically. hence. nor is it simply the more familiar Shaftesburian question about the status of an aesthetic judgment (as disinterested and. it is also eventually. the problem of aesthetics as discipline or branch of knowledge is this: what does aesthetic inquiry provide that ethical. in general. as in Hutcheson’s Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725). given Shaftesbury’s arguments. sometimes as a basis for pleasure. than our Moralists seem to imagine .. to note that Shaftesbury tended to combine disciplinary modes throughout his writing. as with much neoclassical literary criticism. or hermeneutic inquiries do not? The recognized necessity of finding an aesthetic “ground”—sometimes as a basis for taste.

The imagination. Statues. To meet this problem. Meaning. must be saved for the ethical and communal because without due care. to take one aspect of aesthetic experience. it seems to lead to private. the Addisonian imagination is a mediating force. Much like the sense of beauty. for example. However.”9 Beauty in this formulation does not have a unique ground in the mind or the world. oriented toward the outside world. This is true of Joseph Addison’s arguments in The Spectator. . working through an inner eye. doing work that reconciles individual with community. “[T]he Pleasures of the Imagination . and balance. The ground of aesthetic taste is analogic and relative to the ground of neighboring philosophical divisions. God’s law of justice is spelled out with a clarity and precision that no aesthetic induction based on taste could ever match. Aesthetic criticism disciplines beauty. and the Work of Beauty 247 be the Springs of each virtuous Action.. aesthetic experience is supposed by its theorists to work to create ethical community. aesthetic criticism seeks to make beauty produce some meaning that goes beyond itself. 411 (1712). is the faculty that has the potential to link our inner and outer worlds. the balance between the presumed privacy of any emotional or aesthetic experience and its communal properties is not an easy one—it must be elaborately theorized (by Shaftesbury or Smith) and carefully maintained.”12 The pleasures of vision are pleasures of the imagination because they are not the result of qualities that inhere in objects but rather of things the mind does to our perceptions: producing the sensation of color from the perception of reflected light. Even without an explicitly moralist standard of origin. by implication.. For Addison. the perception of beauty is a specific result only of God’s interest in our motivations.10 While ethics may be closely related to aesthetics. unconsidered consumption. but it is also perceptual. . he links aesthetics and morality. assigning it duties of its own. inside with outside. discipline.Ethics. it seems somehow incomplete—for critical purposes.11 The imagination emerges as the faculty of perception most profoundly associated with the aesthetic. As he puts it in The Spectator n.. but he grounds his discussion of beauty in faculty psychology. when we have them actually in our view” as well as “when we call up their Ideas into our Minds by Paintings. Descriptions. just as the balance between imagination as introspection and perception must be defended against the problems of the quixote and the solipsist (as in the cases of Charlotte Lennox or Samuel Johnson). the imagination is introspective. early-eighteenthcentury theories of the aesthetic tend to make its ground relative and designate its primary field of jurisdiction as mediation between competing goods and values. Beauty. even more than sight. Unless beauty is absorbed into a discourse of use. arise from visible Objects. or any the like Occasion..

a radical. Scarry holds that aesthetic inquiry and education step in to fill the gaps aesthetic experience appears to leave behind. Scarry’s investigation of beauty. teaches little about justice (history offers few examples to support a claim to such educative power).16 The odd form of labor that Scarry posits—beauty’s work as preparation for justice—is not its only task. Scarry points out that latter-day critics of beauty tend to see the beautiful object as liable to ethical violation. is loose. of our world. In defending beauty against these attacks. or many other theorists). eager participants in the imagined communities built around it. providing training in features of ethical life that are indispensable to being and pursuing the just: “Through its beauty..” tenuous. the judging subject is seduced without regard to the ethical demands of being in the world. and aesthetic experience and aesthetic inquiry may be collapsed. justice and a foundational care for object and world (something like what Heidegger associates with Dasein). From the other end. In all of these cases. Elaine Scarry’s On Beauty and Being Just. democratic aesthetic. an inclusive literary practice and canon.”14 Such perceptual care becomes the basis of a broadened and refined attention to justice: “Beauty seems to place requirements on us for attending to the aliveness . Hogarth. too). and it remains so in recent aesthetic inquiries. and for entering into its protection. and . even in those whose authors claim allegiance to beauty itself. for Elliot. There is potential for a category mistake here. for Armstrong.248 Gabrielle Starr Beauty is not enough in the early years of British aesthetics. Scarry’s suture of beauty and justice goes side by side with her concern for the training and shaping of individuals responsive to the beautiful.”15 This proposition. though attractive. one whose ethical standards are tied up in attitudes of care. As Shaftesbury before her.. but in a much more considerable move. and nowhere near the clear call of necessity that generally belongs by right to ethical principles (although ethical necessity could be debated. “voluntary. Hutcheson. in being wantonly seen and adored. One of the best of recent books on the subject. argues that beauty prepares us for justice. situating beauty in regard to community practices: for Scarry. Scarry and other critics like Emory Elliot and Isobel Armstrong follow the pattern of eighteenth-century critics before them. it is objectified. may be more productive. seeks to defend beauty from antagonists who assert its ideological perversion or insufficiency. too. the connection is temperamental. beauty is expected to be a workhorse of magnificent proportions.13 Scarry does not equate beauty with justice (nor does she explicitly discuss Shaftesbury. Beauty itself. the world continually recommits us to a rigorous standard of perceptual care. I venture to uphold. however. Beauty becomes the foundation of an academic community.

Ethics. Scarry. learn. or Derrida. would not so soon have been bewildered in their accounts of it. interpreting beauty as object or experience and showing how it points to something else. perhaps tautologically.” If ethics is the supreme legislator of our existence as humans. to our capacities for justice or to our capacities to teach. Meaning.18 Against the assumptions of dominant strains of aesthetic inquiry. if aesthetics makes sense at all. also tautologically. The strength of his contribution comes not only from his challenging the stance of disinterestedness fundamental to Shaftesbury’s aesthetics but also because he argues that the search for an ethical equivalent of beauty is the product of and leads to a misunderstanding: It is no wonder this subject [beauty] should have so long been thought inexplicable. and obliged so suddenly to turn into the broad. by translating aesthetics. whether it is ethics. “right. ideology. Eagleton. Aesthetic criticism here is both ethical and hermeneutic. De Man. The treatment of inquiry in the realm of aesthetics as interpretation of aesthetic relations is a tactical choice and as such has clear value even if. and the Work of Beauty 249 it is to “work” in our discipline or in our lives by meaning something else. and for affect. otherwise those ingenious gentlemen who have lately published treatises upon it . ethics trumps aesthetics. works like Shaftesbury’s Characteristics (1711) or Burke’s Enquiry (1757). “[W]e have no (or few) terms of analysis. and this replacement may seem. as Armstrong puts it.. Hutcheson. aesthetics fundamentally involves affect. aesthetics may well be uninteresting without such transformation. or politics. and his deferral of ethics and interpretation in favor of affect is probably one of the reasons that far fewer literature scholars pay serious attention to the Analysis of Beauty (1753) than to works more concerned with interpretation. Hogarth believed it did. The problem begins with the fact that.19 .”17 To think about what aesthetics “means”— usually a hermeneutic process—seems. it leaves the aesthetic behind. both then and now. Hogarth’s work is revolutionary. since the nature of many parts of it cannot possibly come within the reach of mere men of letters. it might appear that thinking the aesthetic all but requires its immediate translation into something else. and read. in order to extricate themselves out of the difficulties they seem to have met with in this. but treating aesthetics as ethical inquiry fails to answer aesthetic questions—that is. Smith. What might the investigation of beauty offer on its own? Given the examples of Shaftesbury. On the other hand. and more beaten path of moral beauty. there ought to be nothing wrong with ultimately referring the aesthetic to the ethical.. more “significant” than any other approach.

250 Gabrielle Starr Hogarth refuses the complicated and. but centrally important... and all sorts of objects. a pineapple. The Analysis opens up the question of what happens if. or a woman (to use Hogarth’s examples). therefore. for him. any automatic ethical condemnation of Hogarth’s ideals of beauty would be faulty because aesthetic relationships are not all-defining. and a woman are in no way equivalent. social. any reason for its aesthetic value.20 If there is any significance to this line. that leads the eye a wanton kind of chace. Ethical condemnations of the aesthetic do it the disservice of granting it a legislative and definitive power it otherwise lacks. is unacceptable. the material completion of a smokejack. and serpentine rivers. and from the pleasure that gives the mind.. form is not the suspiciously abstract entity contemporary scholars tend to associate with formalism. which compose it. whose forms . this call (for some of us) insists that Hogarth’s pineapple. always embodied. Yet. and that ignoring this inequality. intitles it to the name of beautiful. For him. and theorization of ethical standards based on an abstraction from aesthetic conduct ignores the contingency of the aesthetic and the boundedness of all emotional experience. disingenuous stance of connoisseurship. even for a moment. Beauty is smaller than that and is only one part of any encounter in the world. What is difficult about Hogarth. a line. Intricacy in form. It would be foolish to argue that the beautiful. There is always a call to ethics in human life. it is. The eye hath this sort of enjoyment of winding walks... or hermeneutic importance: Paulson’s critique of The Analysis reveals that with clarity. Hogarth thinks and imagines in material terms—those of pleasure and of form.. is that two things are in play. But what must be emphasized even more strongly is that neither ethics nor hermeneutics can answer aesthetic questions.. I shall define to be that peculiarity in the lines. italics original) . the waving and serpentine lines. Beauty is just one part of the complex web that ethical analysis works to resolve in any instance. or the ugly does not have ethical. it is its incitement to pursuit: It is a pleasing labour of the mind to solve the most difficult problems . the sublime. are composed principally of . Hogarth stops with what he considers irreducible—what he calls the serpentine line. at its best. (33. especially with an ethics like Shaftesbury’s. even for a moment. a pretence toward knowledge that substitutes schema for experience. Hogarth will not displace the beautiful with anything else. the unique disciplinary potential of aesthetic experience is made central.

unique role aesthetics plays in human experience. drawn on by pleasure). Hogarth’s inquiry into aesthetics suggests that aesthetic experience involves a mental drive (something prefiguring perhaps Schiller’s play drive—a strain of investigation that has born excellent fruit in recent philosophical inquiry.and twentieth-century aesthetic theories that enact similar relations. and sensory perception does not rule the day.21 The aesthetic is thus freed from dependence on its manifestation—problems can be as beautiful as waterfalls. turns to a text that melds the two principal strains of early eighteenth-century approaches to the beautiful. Scarry turns to Proust to support her claims about beauty. most notably in the work of Kendall Walton). or rewrites the ethical but what. while Proust celebrates the importance of pursuit in the experience of beauty. The mind’s desire to pursue challenges is the foundation of the pleasures of aesthetics. if any. I here juxtapose eighteenth-and twentieth-century literary texts by making an appeal to eighteenth.22 An aesthetic structure of appetite is one that privileges pursuit over attainment. The pleasure associated with a particular composition depends upon the mental response to visual or intellectual challenge. unique information aesthetic inquiry produces and what. and in doing this. opening up broader possibilities for modeling aesthetic thought. a project deeply compatible with Hogarth’s The Analysis. The juxtaposition of Swift and Proust offers a literary dimension to the historical trace I pursue in aesthetic criticism.23 Aesthetics. the test that aesthetic inquiry must face is not how it violates. it does not have a formal origin. Based on readings of the relationship between aesthetics and the imagination in Swift and Proust. However. valuing disinterest and connoisseurship.Ethics. his work also participates in the Shaftesburian vein of aesthetic thought. then. Meaning. if any. To return to the question I introduced earlier. but coming from within (the mind) rather than from without (objects with definite form). This double . is not grounded in objects or in perception but in the way individual subjects approach both ideas and things. I suggest it is possible to imagine other answers— literary answers—to the question of the possibilities of aesthetics. Proust’s pursuit of memory is a pursuit of beauty that has passed away. form itself is not legislative and is crafted in response only to a mental principle. This has formal consequences. the requirement that the mind be enticed to pursuit (or as Coleridge might say. supports. complicates. and the Work of Beauty 251 Hogarth extends this criterion to the nonvisual from the start and puts the question of labor firmly onto the mind and not onto beauty itself. Hogarth’s use of a mental principle to ground the aesthetic is suggestive. Hogarth argues that the unique role aesthetics plays is that it structures appetites (both physical and mental).

as in the opening of Shakespeare’s sonnet sequence: “From fairest creatures we desire increase. whose exact terms can never come again. (706–7. I could not take my eyes from her face. this is one of the basic reasons why beauty prepares us for justice. even in . I was speeding away from the dawn. She fastened on me her penetrating gaze.. Marcel sees a beautiful milkmaid on the train to Balbec: “Flushed with the glow of morning. an experience of beauty is unique not just because of the singular character of every object of beauty.”24 This woman is unlike any other Marcel has seen: So. but because each experience is tied to a unique moment of perception. completely unrelated to the models of beauty which I was wont to conjure up in my mind when I was by myself. that would be realized by my staying and living there by her side . her face was rosier than the sky. to think in an aesthetic manner. First. For Scarry.. and it offers a starting point for comparatist analysis.” In her view.. Proust’s ceaseless return to the beautiful valorizes care for both the fragility of aesthetic experience and the fragility of those of us who live it. Second. I felt on seeing her that desire to live which is reborn in us whenever we become conscious anew of beauty and happiness. like a sun which it was somehow possible to stare at and which was coming nearer and nearer.. no two aesthetic experiences are alike./That thereby beauty’s rose might never die. a desire to prolong contact with it. In the episode Scarry cites.. this handsome girl gave me at once the taste for a certain happiness . to reproduce the beautiful both as something and as someone in the world. I saw her leave the station and go down the hill to her home... Above her tall figure. the impulses to create art.252 Gabrielle Starr involvement is a useful reminder that theoretical oppositions are not always realized in their purity. letting itself be seen at close quarters. Scarry cites an excerpt from À la recherche du temps perdu to illustrate an attitude of care toward the beautiful. Pléiade 2: 17–18) Scarry draws some general hypotheses about experiences of beauty from this and similar passages. it was broad daylight now. and even to procreate. human fragility is at the basis of Scarry’s ethics and Proust’s urgency. which grew larger as she approached.. but doors were being closed and the train had begun to move. the complexion of her face was so burnished and so glowing that it was as if one were seeing her through a lighted window . dazzling you with its blaze of red and gold. to keep it close and safe. are born of a desire to make beauty eternal.

and to keep thinking it is in our possession even if it is not. in a general and disinterested [générale et désintéressée] manner. Pléiade 2:18) Human beings have problems with the unique. however. mechanical. The drive to reproduce and hold on to beauty in words. when the impulse to . or think it to the metaphorical or analogic. we may want to make beauty like other things. art. as Shaftesbury claims. at the same time. to call it up wholesale. to continue to bring about the circumstances which may make it recur—which. goes on to point out something about this episode that Scarry neglects: what happens when beauty encounters the pressures toward “general and disinterested” analysis? The train pulls out. practical. and the sunlight of the girl’s face disappears: But alas.Ethics. we wish. are forever wrapped up together—“For all beauty is truth”—it is perhaps because beauty moves those who see it. analyzed. while giving us no clue as to the real nature of the thing. in Proust’s view.25 Making metaphors is good. If beauty and truth. Proust. active. the mind prefers to imagine it in the future tense. as long as viewers recognize that newness and transformation. for it turns all too readily aside from the effort which is required to analyze and probe. even theory (the drive at the core of Scarry’s argument). if we cannot get the thing itself. images. However. can transform beauty into something else. an agreeable impression which we have received. even desirable—no one could regret Proust’s metaphors—but both maker and reader must recognize them for what they are. a project which had the further advantage of providing food for the selfish [intéressée]. feel it. we want to be “practical” about it. we wish to continue to think of that impression. a life which I could resign myself to accept only by weaving plans that would enable me to take the same train again some day and to stop at the same station. centrifugal tendency which is that of the human mind. memory. indolent. and it is also thus that beauty seems (but only seems) to resist the analytic. to approximate it as closely as possible. and this is not always good. and enjoyed. and the Work of Beauty 253 imagination. which itself may be interrogated. (707–8. And since. she must be forever absent from the other life towards which I was being borne with ever increasing speed. saves us the trouble of recreating it within ourselves and allows us to hope that we may receive it afresh from without. Having experienced a moment of beauty. gripped in habit. Each transformation through metaphor may produce new beauty. Meaning.

whether political. whether critical or creative. Scarry turns to Proust for a literary exemplar. and instead of really linking us with the world. or ethical. and even desire—is not itself beauty and can. was forced to apply the last Remedy by giving it suck. Compare the ideal scene that appeared in Proust with what approximates a satirical version of it in Gulliver’s Travels (1726).27 Swift is acutely aware of the contests that may be staged between ethics and aesthetics (often framed for him in terms of real and imaginary value). It stood prominent six Foot. who has closer affinities to the aesthetic positions of Hogarth than those of Shaftesbury. turn us away from the aesthetic entirely. and I standing on the Table. in the desire to analyze and interpret. the analogic seems to belong to aesthetic criticism. In Brobdingnag.28 . the land of the giants. Proust gives us a reminder of the slippery relation of aesthetic experience to aesthetic criticism: as with the dreamer Marcel. The Nipple was about half the Bigness of my Head.26 The movement that beauty may initiate—one toward metaphor. that nothing could appear more nauseous: For I had a near Sight of her. Gulliver sees a horrible version of a milkmaid: The Nurse to quiet her Babe . Shape and Colour. theorists can be drawn away from the goal and may end up doing something more like substitution than analysis. and could not be less than sixteen in Circumference. in returning to the eighteenth-century origins of her Shaftesburian ethical position (and seeking an alternative to it). so as to give the curious Reader an Idea of its Bulk. Pimples and Freckles. They—perhaps we—may only imagine. the figure of the milkmaid. I must confess no Object ever disgusted me so much as the Sight of her monstrous Breast. problems multiply. which I cannot tell what to compare with. If the metaphorical belongs to the experience of beauty. and he provides a contemporary context for interrogating the tensions surrounding the aesthetic. This is what happens when theorists turn beauty into an ethical or hermeneutic shadow of itself.. we find ugliness much more than beauty in Swift. Swift. literary. can be habitual. At first glance. and the Hue both of that and the Dug so varified with Spots. I turn to an eighteenth-century author. It is useful to think about what the resistance of metaphorical or analogic translation of aesthetic experience can produce. she sitting down the more conveniently to give Suck. The imagination. in fact.254 Gabrielle Starr transform and refigure shifts from the purely metaphorical to the analogic.. repeatedly. where beauty is often placed in analogic relation to truth or justice. analogy. can just turn us closer in upon ourselves.

to focus simultaneously on the possibility of unique experience and on its eventual repeatability. With Marcel. This is at bottom. merely a characteristic of the fictional that Swift’s scene intensifies. . however. and they come from the combination of aesthetic experiences with other aspects of the mind. Swift thus calls on us to think the imagination as a preface to thinking beauty in a way Proust encourages and Hogarth might approve. just as with the reader’s experience of Marcel’s maid. of loathing and fascination. uncredited. and her breast. and this rather Hogarthian drive to pursuit can help produce (but never fully account for) the cultural or individual significance of fiction.Ethics. Meaning. but it is both appropriate and functional. to feel again). Swift pushes us toward a breaking of habit within the mind’s eye (a not-quite-realist defamiliarization) to produce an image without compare. the milkmaid’s face produces elaborate similes born of or linked to the desire to prolong contact with the beautiful and renew it in the imagination. while being nearly large enough to make the simile work. the giant breast is only and can only ever be (in Swift’s world) an experience of the imagination. and the Work of Beauty 255 This milk bearer is no maid. nonexistent—to something one chooses to see again. is nothing like the sun. read again. What in Swift or Proust. the other. enabling me to break the habit of metaphorical thinking. In the aesthetic terms I borrow from Proust.” The hermeneutic possibilities here are enormous. one an object of beauty and desire. experience and imagination. We have two images of women laden with milk. We may pass from the unique via the pull of desire (to see again. to think again. the separation between experience and memory. Ethical complications are readily apparent—issues of objectification. The transformation from nothing— something unimagined. but the Nurse’s breast for Gulliver is beyond “compare. and feel again is at the heart of aesthetic experience.29 All of these compete for attention. A Swiftian detour through the ugly may seem like a roundabout way to get at the aesthetics of the beautiful. colonization. This is to say. Ethical and hermeneutic principles reveal some of the political and psychological implications of this passage as well as of the aesthetic experience that is depicted or that may be produced: but what happens once these strains of inquiry have come into play? The startling thing to realize is that Gulliver’s experience of disgust and the experience of reading about it approach an exaggeration of the experience of reading about Marcel’s experience of beauty. And whether that leads to justice or not it is one thing that ensures the viability of cultural artifacts. Marcel wants to make images for himself more and more like that of the woman. distance. this basic characteristic of fiction has more precise implications for aesthetic sensation. He breaks down the problem Proust identifies.

aesthetic experience is fundamentally timebound. for beauty’s labor. aesthetics is timebound.256 Gabrielle Starr during these moments of stunned apprehension. In Proust’s example. as we read a poem or view a painting and imaginatively return to it. the cavernous surface of the breast) as a tool to create new images and new metaphors. But the analytic pursuit of beauty as object and experience can invite rather quixotic movements toward the concrete. is static. Both of these moments are experiences of magnification. In an important sense. To take one aspect of the aesthetic. answers to the call of aesthetic inquiry? What might aesthetic inquiry reveal that no other mode of thought could? First. it should address how aesthetic experience is constructed or prepared by the text: the experience of the beautiful milkmaid’s face in imagination or that of the giant. the inquiry shifts from what we expect aesthetically significant objects to mean. Swift also reveals the potential of aesthetic experience to make the invisible matter by committing emotional response to imaginary creations. is something different from the labor of aesthetic investigation. while the result of aesthetic experience is harder to pin down. and its power seems a power of substitution. Aesthetic experience works in both these instances by using attention (focusing on the sun of the girl’s face. like the bizarre Burkean determination that . Dreaming by the Book). of fixing attention subsequently on each new imaginative iteration—in constant pursuit. pinning down some core part of aesthetic experience seems necessary. It should also take as a fundamental condition of analysis and interpretation that aesthetic experience constantly evolves in the mind (and sometimes decays). it is not enough to claim that the task is difficult. and it is on this level that fruitful contrast can be made. however. for good and ill. Swift’s example has something else to say: it begins with the ability of the mind to fill itself completely with images that had previously seemed inconsequential or beyond the power of vision. where perception is structured so that figments of the imagination are confronted as sensible (but not material) particulars. If aesthetic inquiry makes sense. if it engages in any. Hogarth would argue the fact of pursuit is paramount. as well: how the responses of Marcel or Gulliver are sketched and structured. The labor of beauty is not to produce justice—this is the work of ethics. limited in duration and extent. by comparison. the labor of beauty is not to produce or supplement meaning—this is the work of hermeneutics. to how the aesthetic functions as a process of experience. It should inquire how this experience is prepared for in the text. bloated breast (something Scarry attempts successfully in another recent work. Justice concerns material conditions. In focusing on beauty as an aesthetic event. Meaning. what labor they must do in showing us their significance. these are all mistaken formulations.

The problem is that aesthetic inquiry has to fold investigation of objects and experiences together. and the Work of Beauty 257 beauty can be recognized through the bodily experiences of “sinking. But for Swift. Or if thought’s rolling globe her circle run. An element of quixotism also appears in Scarry’s recent work. Meaning.Ethics. Swift always exhorts himself and his readers to look outward. deduction’s broken chain Meets.. Taking a single (and by no means legislative) example of poetry. It is here again that Swift may offer timely aid. Turns up old objects to the soul her sun. how can they ever return. [and] languor. melting. as for Proust. Or whether dead imagination’s ghost Oft hovers where alive it haunted most. Or loves the muse to walk with conscious pride O’er the glad scene whence first she rose a bride. and salutes her sister link again. and loss. Her postulation that an increase of care and a decentering of the self are the concrete result of experiencing beauty may reveal more about Scarry (and others of like mind) than about aesthetics in general. while keeping track of both and avoiding the pitfalls of introspection. how the same objects strike At distant hours the mind with forms so like! Whether in time. maturity. or the rhapsodic poetry of The Moralists—Shaftesbury’s highly individual attempt to represent the process of aesthetic creation as the best means of approaching aesthetic experience itself. Comes back with joy to his own seat at night.31 The opening of the palinode Occasioned by Sir William Temple’s Late Illness and Recovery (1693) is a rare attempt in the Swiftian canon to address the problems of the muse. not inward: Strange to conceive. .. The opening phrase is somewhat startling: most of the time. by a circling flight.”30 Hogarth’s elevation of the pineapple.32 How is it that aesthetic and imaginative experience may be recreated? If emotion and inner vision are ephemeral. he gives a sketch of the challenges to careful aesthetic inquiry. it is not strange to conceive that seeing the same object again and again produces similar sensations and similar associations of ideas. this persistence of the past may be a sign of illness and deception: accidents of perception hold us in their grip without . as they seem to do. and how can they ever matter? The poem posits a problem about the continuity of emotional and aesthetic response in the face of frailty. Or hunted fancy.

shadowy attempts at reliving the past). And since thy essence on my breath depends. 147–54) The problem is not just that the muse historically has become an awkward fiction. Thus with a puff the whole delusion ends. neither beauty nor disgust. and from this hour I here renounce thy visionary power. For him. in the fictitious body of the muse. The sense of seamlessness that emotion is apt to produce—the way that the same objects may strike the mind at distant hours so like—may encourage critics and theorists to forget the changeability of aesthetic experience not just in one person from one hour to the next. recovery). it is new and only “so like” (again. is an unsatisfying self-deception. things whose pursuit may turn attention away from beauty entirely. or that Swift is generally suspicious of the flattery of the imagination. The metaphors and substitutions that aesthetic experience may promote balance on a cusp of ephemerality and permanence. more likely to become Pope’s Goddess of Dulness than the spur of creativity. metaphor). the muse and her temporality are tied up in the instability and precariousness of the poetic career. Aesthetics leads to other things (analogic connections to ethics. Attempts in literary study to refocus attention on aesthetics and on why aesthetics matters are also attempts to focus attention on why our discipline matters—why reading texts and teaching others how to read them is significant.33 The key here is that imagination can never hold anything in perpetuity. (ll. of self-difference (as the poet’s experience of maturity. or any perception of beauty at all. merely putting an outward dress of universality on the quixotic material of the poet’s own mind: Madness like this no fancy ever seized. forgetting. mood. never to be pleased. Swift’s poem—as both paean and palinode—has disciplinary echoes. but much more broadly. But we must be careful to recall how much of an intervention aesthetic inquiry actually is. for example.258 Gabrielle Starr a standard of judgment that could adequately explain any vision. any truth. illness. Since one false beam of joy in sickly minds Is all the poor content delusion finds.— There thy enchantment broke. The final lines of the ode insist on the acceptance of mutability. Swift sees the contours of the problem of aesthetic inquiry. from one culture . Still to be cheated. and closure in aesthetic experience. even though the image may return. The attempt to ground aesthetic experience in metaphor. simile.

Meaning. For those who are skeptical of the teaching powers of beauty itself as they appear.34 Moreover. academics outside of the humanities are certainly recognizing this now. In seeking to know beauty better.26). and it does so because it always disappears. what it does and how it works. and the Work of Beauty 259 or time to another. He begins with a waving line. More than suggesting merely that objects of beauty are fragile.35 It is useful for critics to remember that literary study and aesthetic inquiry can be important without having all the answers.Ethics. I close with a final look at Hogarth in the hope of suggesting further how beauty may enter disciplinary inquiry. that beauty’s rose (like the rose of the world) may in fact die. The experience of beauty is a process structured by disappearance. folding into one another. Hogarth’s serpentine line suggests that the experience of beauty is predicated on transience. it is perhaps more clear that inquiry about beauty may teach us a great deal—as Scarry’s work also shows—by offering to increase our knowledge of and dialogue about what matters in our disciplines. A small but influential group of scientists is interested in the role aesthetics plays in human development and how the aesthetic. as a fundamental characteristic of mental life. drawing one on to pursuit. as we follow the imagined curve of the line away into space. and what we choose to pursue. Aesthetic inquiry ought always emphasize the tenuous nature of connections between texts and world. in Scarry’s On Beauty and Being Just. it is imperative to keep in mind that what theories accomplish and what their objects produce are two different things.36 But getting at the significance of the aesthetic in any discipline requires first an awareness of the difference between aesthetic experience and aesthetic inquiry. This for Hogarth is the foundation upon which the experience of beauty is laid. can give clues to how the brain works. for example. The serpentine line itself will not decay: it is an abstraction that continues into space even when one cannot see it. At the heart of The Analysis is Hogarth’s theory of what he calls the serpentine line. how we think. then imagines that line wrapped around a cone so that it curves and winds in all three dimensions (see Hogarth’s plate 1. no matter how significant those connections may be. The certainty of disappearance is what leads the mind to pursue the object. a line moving sinuously on two axes. passing up and behind and out of sight as it curves away from the eye. it is foolhardy to forget that they remain distinct. Such a serpentine line invites pursuit. and it is that drive . Even in apprehending something as unbreakable (the serpentine line in the mind’s eye). If it is important to bring theory and practice closer together. beauty comes into being because we can imagine disappearance and presence together. critics must be careful not to substitute acts of criticism for the effects of beauty at a given time.

However. Any move to analyze beauty should not wholly reenact the effects of substitution that Proust associates with the beautiful. and Jeffrey Freedman for their careful readings of this essay and helpful suggestions. and the Aesthetics of Rare Experiences (Cambridge. chapter 4 of The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. Mass. Christopher R. Mass.: Blackwell. Studies in Criticism and Aesthetics. Press. and James Engell. Kant writes.. 306–314. Peter Fenves. “Judgment .. then. From Classic to Romantic: Premises of Taste in Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge. Adam Smith. Ronald Paulson. Hutcheson. whose gifts as teacher and thinker leave me deeply indebted. David Marshall gives a cogent discussion of Shaftesbury and Smith in The Figure of Theater: Shaftesbury. querents keep trying to keep beauty in sight. Denis Donoghue. xi.: Harvard Univ. The Beautiful. As beauty dissolves into ethics in Shaftesbury.: Harvard Univ. it is perhaps just doing what it does best. Mass. On the connection between the third Critique and the rest of Kant’s system. see Walter Jackon Bate. Hutcheson. is a kind of homage to beauty’s ineluctable and indispensable disappearance. On Beauty and Being Just (New York: Princeton Univ. Miller. 2000). of Minnesota Press.” Journal of the History of Ideas35 (1974): 671–82. the exchange of one (sometimes beautiful) object for another. chapters 1–3 and 7. 1. and George Eliot (New York: Columbia Univ. eds. Press. 1967). On Shaftesbury.” in Howard Anderson and John Shea. 1984). Amy King. in the order of our [specific] cognitive powers is a . Aesthetic inquiry can go farther than this. The Creative Imagination: Enlightenment to Romanticism (Cambridge. Elaine Scarry. Isobel Armstrong. Press. 1999). and Strange: Aesthetics and Heterodoxy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. or Scarry. among others. 1660–1800 (Minneapolis: Univ. Novel. aesthetic experience and aesthetic inquiry involve different demands.37 Perhaps. as with the Hogarthian pursuit of the serpentine line. 1986). the Rainbow. and Athol Fitzgibbons. 1949). 1998). Wonder. For overviews of doctrines of sympathy and their relation to aesthetics. I would also like to thank Elaine Scarry. Wealth. following the traces of beauty as it is transformed and reconfigured. Smith attacks Mandeville in particular in part 7. chapter 5. Press. Erik Bond. the shift into metaphor or analogy. and Virtue: The Moral and Political Foundations of The Wealth of Nations (Oxford: Clarendon Press. On the connection between The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments. NOTES I would like to thank John Guillory. Defoe.: Harvard Univ. See. Adam Smith’s System of Liberty. “Shaftesbury and the Age of Sensibility. see Robert Boyden Lamb. “Adam Smith’s System: Sympathy Not Self Interest. 1981). 1995). Martin Harries. Press. see Ernest Tuveson.. 2. 3. The Radical Aesthetic (Malden. Mass. Press. if. Philip Fisher. 1996).260 Gabrielle Starr to pursuit that structures beauty. I engage primarily with Scarry here. and the revision of Hobbes.

Pope. 7. 6. This is more apparent in the French tradition than in the English: see Charles Batteux’s Les beaux arts réduit à un même principe. Ernst Cassirer. following Scarry. 48. Terry Eagleton. 5.: Basil Blackwell. and other are also important. 1990). 5:168. or the theories of epic poetry of Le Bossu or Rapin. ed. Press. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford Univ.” Critique of Judgment. 1999). for the standard employed in both cases is on a different plane from that occupied by the pure phenomenon of beauty” (311). Terry Eagleton. Beginning with the late-seventeenth-century revival of Pseudo-Longinus’s Peri Hypsous. to account for the peculiar meaning and value of the beautiful. Lawrence E. It is Eagleton’s thesis that in “the category of the aesthetic [there is] a way of gaining access to certain central questions of modern European thought— to light up. and the Work of Beauty 261 mediating link between understanding and reason. 8. Roscommon. See Jacques Derrida. argues that both empiricist and classical models of the aesthetic “fail . However. The sublime does not appear as a critical juggernaut until after Burke midcentury. and necessary.Ethics. Judgments of taste are of importance to Kant because they appear both subjective and universal. third earl of Shaftesbury. trans. determinate. which concerns the moral and is in its premises subjective. 25. the grounding of aesthetic pleasure remains blurred with that of ethical community. Andrzej Warminski (Minneapolis: Univ. can be linked in systematic terms with practical reason. the sublime gradually displaces beauty at the apex of aesthetic theory. Werner Pluhar (Indianapolis: Hackett. 1994).. “Addison’s Aesthetics of Novelty. and founded in freedom. Press. 1996). which deals with the form of perception and is hence universal. Mass. I focus on the beautiful here. see Paulson as well as Scott Black. indeterminate. from that particular angle. for example.. trans. Armstrong gives cogent readings of Derrida and De Man in The Radical Aesthetic (47–56). Anthony Ashley Cooper. political and ethical issues” (1). of Minnesota Press. Shaftesbury also displaces aesthetic grounding onto that of its disciplinary neighbors—if aesthetics is understood primarily not as a factor of creativity but as one of reception. Buckingham. Press. in The Philosophy of the Enlightenment (Princeton: Princeton Univ. 4. one of aesthetic . Paul De Man. 1951). pointing toward the possibility that pure reason. if we back up to the moments preceding articulate response. The Ideology of the Aesthetic. Response can approximate creation in The Moralists. this leaves the same problem.” Aesthetic Ideology. Meaning. For him. “Phenomenality and Materiality in Kant. The Ideology of the Aesthetic (Cambridge. Jean-François Lyotard gives a rigorous interrogation of the reconciliation of freedom and necessity in Kant’s aesthetics in Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime. Characteristics of Men. Shaftesbury is the first to look to beauty for its own grounding by turning to “the midst of the artistic process” (324). Opinions. The independence in Shaftesbury for which Cassirer argues refers to a second-order sense of beauty. 70–90. 1987). British contributions by Dennis. 5 AK.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 30 (2001): 269–88. She is quite right to critique the gradual demotion of beauty from its place of Platonic preeminence. ‘Economimesis. Times. where rhapsody emerges as the creative expression of aesthetic pleasure. On other aesthetic categories. a range of wider social. Klein (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. As I have made clear. Manners. ed.’ Diacritics 11 (1981): 3–25.

. 414ff. Although Hutcheson can describe the principle. . The Radical Aesthetic. Emory Elliot’s work on beauty is not yet published but has been presented in talks at the MLA (1999) and elsewhere. the purest sort of activity. for where women and men. not for aesthetic experience in general (which is in no way a fault). Press. 1990). He argues that an expanded and refreshed aesthetics. .. the activity peculiar to the soul” (326). She theorizes from “the broken middle. Bond (Oxford: Clarendon Press. and Hutcheson in the first sixty or so years of the century. namely. 90. 59. 1: vii. 9. 12. 81. 39). and Strange. Francis Hutcheson. unless we should have strong reasons to the contrary” (A Philosophical Enquiry. Donald F. On Beauty and Being Just. Ibid. 10. 3: 53637. Novel. they inspire us with sentiments of tenderness and affection towards their persons. namely. 16. minority. which is to be distinguished carefully from the mere sensation of the beautiful. The Spectator. Addison’s belief in God does little for him toward finding a rational or adequate explanation of the aesthetic itself.. arises only from such contemplation. An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. can be the ground for including works by women. and we enter willingly into a kind of relation with them. the internal sense is tuned to objects exhibiting variety in uniformity. 1965). instead of being the ground of exclusion from the canon. Most works in early British aesthetics are essentially deist in origin and are loosely but not doxologically linked to Christian ethics and theology (Paulson. which is . 1990). New York: Oxford Univ. See Shaftesbury. Addison. it is a principle much like any other perceptual rule: just as our attention as humans is drawn by motion or we preferentially notice objects whose lighting suddenly shifts. Many of them may be grouped together in terms of their approach to the question of aesthetic ground. Cf.. Beautiful. 14. 15. “Miscellany III” in Characteristics. ed. The intuition of the beautiful. 17. 13. 11.. and not only they. and queer poets and novelists. in Collected Works of Francis Hutcheson (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag. so that God’s aesthetic vision ratifies our own.262 Gabrielle Starr contemplation and not of aesthetic perception: “[F]orm can never be understood and assimilated unless it is distinguished from its mere effect and made an independent object of aesthetic contemplation. x). Burke: “I call beauty a social quality. Armstrong adapts Hegel and post-Lacanian psychoanalysis in her quest for a language suited to analyzing the affective. we like to have them near us. Hutcheson argues that the internal sense is constructed in the way it is because of “some Constitution of the AUTHOR of our Nature” (42). follows the general pattern of Addison in his A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757. uniformity amid variety. Armstrong’s ethical argument is for—or at least works best with—the radical intervention of particular works when confronted in particular ways. Burke. This contemplation can only follow perception. Elaine Scarry. but when other animals give us a sense of joy and pleasure in beholding them. and it is there that the problems lie. for example. by which the internal sense makes discriminations of beauty. There are a variety of works that follow the pattern set by Shaftesbury.” a position that mediates cognition and affect and makes the aesthetic a particular “form” of coming to knowledge.

Remembrance of Things Past. ed. Press. Press. and Strange. 1997). and that the ‘curiosity’ aroused by beauty is the same that lured Eve into her wanton.. not merely or chiefly by the mechanical impulse of curiosity. A casual survey of the MLA database in January 2001 produced thirteen hits for Hogarth’s The Analysis.” 65. 1988). the winning of a game.. trans. Press.2). is a woman or a fox. : ‘Does the Satanic character of the serpentine line suggest that beauty is simply independent of moral status? Or does it suggest that beauty is actively subversive of morality. which the Egyptians made the emblem of intellectual power. and rationality. For Hogarth. The Analysis of Beauty.J. and the Work of Beauty 263 18. Paulson argues that Hogarthian “[p]ursuit does not . 1990). just as moral operations can work on aesthetic ones (Paulson. The serpentine line itself is an abstraction from beauty in the world. Meaning. some are clumsy. The chief object. 1983). 1:705. 1. or by a restless desire to arrive at the final solution. and Armstrong. but by the pleasurable activity of mind excited by the attractions of the journey itself. 24. lustful fall?’ The fact that Hogarth raises these questions is probably more important than the answer” (46). some fatiguing. see Paulson: “W. 25. an Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour. Shaftesbury.T. The quotations that follow come from the pléiade edition of À la recherche du temps perdu (Paris: Gallimard. On the ethical question.Ethics. divorced from the visual and rendered a mental principle. The Radical Aesthetic. it is no longer within the range of the Beautiful” (Beautiful. Hogarth’s serpentine line appears again. Novel. aesthetic operations can work on moral subjects.7. Of the greater than one hundred entries for Shaftesbury. and from the retrogressive movement collects the force which again carries him onward” (14). Mass. Mitchell has asked . William Hogarth. 26. but when the pursuit passes beyond seduction or capture to possessing or killing. The line makes sense less as a determinate form than as the physical incarnation of aesthetic desire: it mimics the processes the mind performs in searching for and in apprehending the beautiful. Like the motion of a serpent. pt. 21. Ronald Paulson (New Haven: Yale Univ. In chapter 14 of the Biographia Literaria (eds. “Sensus Communis. Eagleton argues that Burkean politics absorbs aesthetics via a metaphorical principle: “We become human subjects by pleasurably imitating . xxxiii).: Harvard Univ. to judge by the metaphors of sexual pursuit and the chase. James Engell and Walter Jackson Bate [Princeton: Princeton Univ. 19. 22. 20. Coleridge argues that the movement of the mind in reading a poem should be sinuous: “The reader should be carried forward. order. introduction to Analysis. See Kendall Walton. Scott Moncrieff (New York: Penguin. The serpentine line is a two-dimensional waving line that has been twisted so that it spirals into three dimensions. vol. 1983]. just like some problems (33). Not all serpentine lines are beautiful. pass beyond the solution of a puzzle. or like the path of sound through the air. 23. and there are more than sixty entries on Burke’s theories of the sublime... over sixty refer to his aesthetic theories. 44). at every step he pauses and half recedes. Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts (Cambridge. There is one particular configuration that is essential (41–42). This is resonant with Kant’s analysis of aesthetics based on the principle of purposiveness without purpose.

I do not underestimate the complexity of such readings. 1983).. 31. The Body in Swift and Defoe (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pat Rogers (New York: Penguin. 1. of Wisconsin Press. Gulliver’s Travels (New York: Norton. Swift’s Landscape (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. 1993). Schakel. 29. 1985). 1954).of Chicago Press. On Swift’s Poetry (Gainesville: Univ. and the Age (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ.. See also Irwin Ehrenpreis. Press.. Hogarth. 1962). subsequent references to Swift’s poetry are to this edition. for example. Jonathan Swift. chap. 1978). Although I place ethical or hermeneutic reading in abeyance here. The Analysis of Beauty.B. than a kind of spontaneous metaphor or perpetual forging of resemblance” (53). 27. Presses of Florida. Poetics of Sexual Myth: Gender and Ideology in the Verse of Swift and Pope (Chicago: Univ. including Norman Brown. The Brink of All We Hate: English Satires on Women. 1982). 30. Press. N. Hall. Cape. 71. 76. Denis Donoghue also argues that for Swift “[b]enevolists like Shaftesbury and Hutcheson” had little appeal (64–65). 1977). ed.” Critical Essays on Jonathan Swift. Press. and Ellen Pollak. I here have in mind primarily psychoanalytic and feminist readings of Swift as well as other traditional readings of the Swiftian persona. ed. In Jonathan Swift: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. 1970). 28. Swift: The Man.. Press. 1959). 1978). Swift is often read as being resistant to the aesthetic and to beauty in particular. a complexity summed up by Laura Brown: “The works of Jonathan Swift provide a critical test case for political criticism and a providing ground for the nature of the ‘politics’ of such a criticism . 121. A number of the small and poetically uneven group of early odes address what Swift perceives as the problems of poetry. of California Press.. Frank Palmeri (New York: G. . The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History (Middletown.: Univ.H. chap.. and a critic concerned with the political aim of her readings of literary culture might well pause between the exposure of misogyny in the canon and the discovery of an early ally in the struggle against colonialism. Conn. see. John Irwin Fischer argues that these poems chronicle Swift’s gradual realization of human frailty and the contrast between that weakness and poetic grandeur. 3. but one so gratifying that freedom lies in such servitude. The Poet Swift (Hanover. 1990).: Wesleyan Univ. Press. Jonathan Swift. Life against Death. chap.. Felicity Nussbaum. Lemuel Gulliver’s Mirror for Man (Berkeley: Univ. 1969).” Yearbook of English Studies 18 (1988): 68–92. Press of New England. Which to choose?” “Reading Race and Gender: Jonathan Swift. 1. 32. and revisionist readings of Swift’s relationship to women and attitudes toward femininity by Carol Houlihan Flynn. Carnochan.K. 1984). and Nora Crowe Jaffe. W. John Middleton Murry. Jonathan Swift: A Critical Biography (London. 1:111–41. To mime is to submit to a law. the Complete Poems. Press of Kentucky.264 Gabrielle Starr practical forms of social life . 112. Swift’s texts lend themselves equally to a negative and a positive hermeneutic. Feminist scholars in particular have offered significant ethical readings of Swift’s work that press beyond the traditional view of Swift as fearful misogynist. Such consensuality is less an artificial social contract . “Swift among the Women. Margaret Anne Doody. 1968). Peter J. ee Carole Fabricant. His Works. 1660–1750 (Lexington: Univ.. The Poetry of Jonathan Swift (Madison: Univ.

they assume a predictive and or constitutive relation between unique moments and constructs that overshadow and overpower them. which becomes increasingly more topical and more dependent upon empirically observed detail. or even an ought. .. italics original). no.. 34. At best. The Poetry of Jonathan Swift. 35. that they are both responses to contemporary challenges about the relationship between theory and practice. and affirms a resolve to turn away completely from the realm of murky imaginings. and Tramo’s recent work on music and the brain in Science. Armstrong on Adorno: “[B]eauty is not a thing. 1 (fall 2000): 1–20. Paul Hunter’s brilliant recent article in Eighteenth-Century Studies is an attempt to account for this problem: “Sleeping Beauties: Are Historical Aesthetics Worth Recovering?” Eighteenth-Century Studies 34. Schakel. or Fabricant.” 6. Ramachandran. gives it the shape that is its being. The poem is usually read as Swift’s youthful farewell to epideictic poetry in favor of satire or as a temporary adieu to fame (or hopes for Temple’s approval). 27–28. 36. 5501 (5 January 2001): 54–56. of scarcely envisioned openings in experience emancipated from the world of exchange” (186.. Pursuit structures the experience of the beautiful. Press. but at worst. 53). an is. both of these impulses are pushing toward radical reconceptions of textual practice. a fleeting promise of new possibilities. 58). 52. Fisher argues that she becomes an allegory for religious faith. and Semir Zeki. 37. Mark Tramo. neuroscientists interested in perception. Meaning. of chimeras rather than actualities .. just to name a few. See Jaffe. I suggested at the beginning of this essay that new historicism and the new aesthetics are related. it is a want or wanting.. 291.S. See especially Semir Zeki. “Art and the Brain. and the Aesthetics of Rare Experiences. a recent volume of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. .Ethics. Cf. as well as increasingly less indulgent of the vagaries of the imagination” (Swift’s Landscape. I don’t believe beauty conjures wanting but that “wanting” and beauty define each other reciprocally. with articles by Zeki and V. no. the Rainbow. Beauty conjures wanting because it is a promise of the as yet unsayable. See Fisher. and the Work of Beauty 265 33. texts and the world. [into] an emblem of god’s gracious presence” (Wonder. 6–7 (1999). Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain (Oxford: Oxford Univ. nos. 38. and she transforms “each human experience . who writes that the poem “is a scathing denunciation of the visionary muse. The Poet Swift. 1999). 74.. My argument in this paragraph builds on his (49–54). The verse ends with a renunciation having profound implications for both the form and the content of Swift’s subsequent poetry. Among these are Patrick Cavanagh..


Proust performs his military service at Orléans. and Jeanne-Clemence Weil. Suffers his first asthma attack at age nine. his mother is Jewish. It is during this time only that Proust enjoys relatively good health. Marcel will always be financially independent. son of Adrien Proust. Marcel Proust is born in the Paris suburb of Auteuil. Anatole France. Attends the Lycée Fontanes (renamed Lycée Condorcet in 1883). Receives his bachelor’s diploma. to Valentin Louis Eugene Georges Proust. Proust will live in this area most of his life. His father is Catholic. Proust is strongly influenced by his philosophy teacher. Meets Madame Albert Arman de Caillavet and attends her exclusive salon where he meets her love. Alphonse Darlu. poor health often keeps him absent. Family holidays at Illiers (now Illiers-Combray) in the département of Eure-et-Loir. The Proust family takes up residence in the fashionable boulevard Malesherbes (Paris 8e). a distinguished professor of medicine. a feat of which he is exceptionally proud. Enrolls simultaneously in the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris and in the independent Ecole Libre 1872 1878–86 1882–89 1888 1889 1889–90 1890–95 267 .Chronology 1871 On July 10.

By December. Le Banquet. the library of the Institut de France. reveals that Dryefus is innocent. Publication of Zola’s ‘J’accuse’. the French philosopher and 1927 recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature. During the various trials which ensue. Proust becomes increasingly enthusiastic about the work of the English writer John Ruskin. Enters the concours for an unpaid librarianship and.268 Chronology des Sciences Politiques. he is finally dismissed in 1900. Proust becomes obsessed with Emerson. he obtains the signature of Anatole France in favor of Zola. Jean Santeuil (unfinished). a higher class avant-garde publication. having succeeded. With the disappearance of Le Banquet. essays and miscellaneous pieces is published in Paris. Though the introduction closely follows Ruskin. Publication of Les Plaisirs et les jours. Proust rallies to the Dreyfus cause and in December. Around this time. translated by Louis Varese as Pleasures and Regrets in New York in 1948 and London in 1950. Proust makes two trips to Venice to see firsthand what his English precedessor had written about. a close friend of Émile Straus. Is an active contributor to this and other journals. is appointed to the Bibliothèque Mazarine. The family moves to the rue de Courcelles. a collection of stories. Earns his law license en droit in 1893 and degree in letters in 1894. Beginning of the Dreyfus affair. Dreyfus receives a presidential pardon. Proust’s “postscript” denounces Ruskinian idolatry that confuses truth with beauty. 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 . the group begins to have material published in La Revue Blanche. Begins a novel. Joseph Reinach. Proust devotes the next few years to translating La Bible D’Amiens (with the help of his mother) and annotating Ruskin’s selected works. Having seldom performed his duties and annually asking for leave on the pretext of bad health. Death of Ruskin. 1892–93 Co-founds a short-lived journal. Proust has begun translating some of Ruskins’ La Bible D’Amiens. Proust is a passionate observer in the audience and records his experiences in Jean Santeuil. His real interest in life during the time is society. Meets Henri Bergson.

Death of Proust’s mother on September 26. Proust employs a secretary to type up his work. Artistic trips to Belgium and Holland. Proust’s translation is considered an outstanding literary achievement. Death of Proust’s father. on the Normandy coast. After reading what the psychiatrists say about asthma. Begins what is now known as Contre Sainte-Beuve. Du côté de chez Swann (Swann’s Way) is published by Grasset. It will eventually become A la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past). boulevard Haussmann. he puts himself in Dr. in vain. based on an amusing extortion racket. Has his bedroom in the apartment of Boulevard Haussmann lined with cork to insulate himself from the noise of construction work in an adjoining apartment. Proust is inconsolable. appears in volume form. He will live here until 1919 when the building is sold and he is obliged to move. Writes Pastiches of other authors. The essay transforms itself into a novel. another translation of Ruskin. The general title of the 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907–14 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 . The novel’s title at this time is Les Intermittences du coeur (Intermittences of the Heart). La Bible d’Amiens is published by Mercure de France. more than 700 pages to date. Proust seeks a publisher. after a few weeks. Goes to the Ballets russes. In June. It is here that he meets Alfred Agostinelli and hires him as a professional chauffeur. convinced that there is no cure. sees Vermeer’s View of Delft. Sollier’s sanatorium at Boulogne-sur-Seine from which he emerges. Proust moves to 102. at Proust’s own expense.Chronology 269 1901 Becomes enamored of a dashing young noble and diplomat. Sésame et les lys ( Sesame and Lilies). During a trip to Holland the following year. Bertrand de Fénélon. Proust suffers intensely when he cannot communicate with Fénélon on an emotional level. Summer holidays at Cabourg. an essay.

and attends a reception afterwards with Diaghilev. in London: Chatto & Windus. Swann’s Way is translated by C. Proust is named Chevalier de la légion d’honneur. a ballet by Nijinska. with no possibility of publication. continuing into 1922. Proust vastly expands his novel. rue Hamelin. On May 18. Le Cote de Guermantes II – Sodome et Gomorrhe I is published in Paris. Proust develops bronchitis. Publication of Le Cote de Guermantes I. Sodome et Gomorrhe II is published. Publication rights are transferred from Grasset to Gallimard.270 Chronology novel is changed to A la recherche du temps perdu. Scott Moncrieff. Proust is forced to move from 102. then pneumonia. notably in respect of the character of Albertine. mainly La Nouvelle Revue française. Picasso and Joyce. 1922 and New York: Holt. 1914–18 1915 1919 1920 1921 1922 1922 . He is buried in Père Lachaise cemetery on November 22. Extracts from the novel are regularly published in journals. postponing publication indefinitely. he attends the first production of of Renard. whom he introduces as his wife. Stravinksy. and Proust hires her as his secretary. then to what will turn out to be his final residence.K. and dies on November 18. 44. Proust visits an exhibition of Dutch paintings at the Orangerie in May where he sees the View of Delft again. He is controversially awarded the Prix Goncourt. During the war. 1914 Alfred Agostinelli. he nevertheless is able to attend a musical evening at Jacques Porel’s house. Though Proust complains in January of a depression brought on by his physical pain. firstly to the rue Laurent-Pichat. Publication of Pastiches et mélanges and A l’ombre de des jeunes filles en fleurs in Paris. The second volume of A la recherche is at press when war breaks out. France’s premier literary prize. dies before the First World War. Agostinelli turns up on Proust’s doorstep with a woman named Anna. boulevard Haussmann. 1922. with whom Proust was emotionally involved. 2 volumes.

Paris. Remembrance of Things Past.Chronology 271 1923 1924 Publication of Sodome et Gomorrhe III. edited by Bernard de Fallois. 1896-1919 in New York. in Paris. translated by Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. Publication of Le temps retrouvé. translated by Sylvia Townsend Warner as On Art and Literature. 3 volumes. 2 volumes) translated by Scott Moncrieff. in London. Blossom in New York. Publication Cities of the Plain (translation of Sodome et Gomorrhe) (comprises Sodome et Gomorrhe I and Sodome et Gomorrhe II). Publication of Jean Santeuil. Publication of The Guermantes Way (translation of Le Cote de Guermantes I). Publication of Albertine disparue and Within a Budding Grove (translation of A l’ombre de des jeunes filles en fleurs) by Scott Moncrieff in London and New York. Publication of The Sweet Cheat Gone (Albertine disparue. 2 volumes and Chroniques. Publication of The Past Recaptured (Le temps retrouvé) translated by Frederick A. 2 volumes) translated by Scott Moncrieff in New York and London. Publication of Contre Sainte-Beuve. translated by Gerard Hopkins. suivi de Nouveaux Melanges. 1925 1927 1929 1930 1932 1954 1955 1981 . Publication of The Captive (Sodome et Gomorrhe III: La Prisonniere. in London (1955) and New York (1956).


and Omens of Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels. She is the author of Intimate Revolt and The Future of Revolt (2002).Contributors HAROLD BLOOM is Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University and Henry W. He is the author of over 20 books. Crisis of the European Subject (2000). and Resurrection (1996). ROBERT FRASER is a Senior Research Fellow at the Open University and ahs previously taught at the Universities of Leeds and London and Trinity 273 . a 1998 National Book Award finalist. including Shelley’s Mythmaking (1959). JULIA KRISTEVA is an internationally known psychoanalyst and critic and Professor of Linguistics at the University of Paris. Kabbalah and Criticism (1975). Yeats (1970). A Map of Misreading (1975). How to Read and Why (2000). Dreams. The Anxiety of Influence (1973) sets forth Professor Bloom’s provocative theory of the literary relationships between the great writers and their predecessors. Agon: Toward a Theory of Revisionism (1982). and in 2002 he received the Catalonia International Prize. Professor Bloom received the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Criticism. Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds (2002). and Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia (1989). The Visionary Company (1961). In 1999. and Albert A. His most recent books include Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (1998). Blake’s Apocalypse (1963). and Hamlet: Poem Unlimited (2003). The American Religion (1992). Berg Professor of English at the New York University Graduate School. The Western Canon (1994).

and Conan Doyle (1998) and Lifting the Sentence: A Poetics of Postcolonial Fiction (2000).. Cambridge. and Aesthetics (2002) and “Novel Visions and the Crisis of Culture: Visual Technology. She is also on the Council of the Franco-British Society. and is preparing an edition of La Bible d’Amiens. Smith) (2001) and is the author The Forest (1995) and Crimes of Writing: Problems in the Containment of Representation (1991).274 Contributors College. “Proust-Ruskin Perspectives on La Vierge Dorée at Amiens Cathedral” (1993). where he was Director of Studies in English. Perception. CYNTHIA J. Modernism. Louis Hay and Pierre-March De Biasi. University of Lancaster and is the Honorary Secretary of the Ruskin Society. She is the author of “From Belle Epoque to First World War: the Social Panorama” (2001). and Death in The Magic Mountain” (2000). a member of the editorial board of the Bulletin Marcel Proust and a permanent member correspondent of the Centre de recherches proustiennes (Sorbonne nouvelle). Victorian Quest Romance: Stevenson. He is the author of Marcel Proust: A Life (2000) and The Proustian Quest (1992). GAMBLE is an Honorary Fellow of the Ruskin Programme. She is the author of “Le juste milieu . CARTER is Professor of French at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. : Proust’s Transmission” (2000) and has translated several articles published in the Yale French Studies (1996) on Gerard Genette. Cambridge. INGRID WASSENAAR is Scholl Teaching Fellow at Christ’s College. She has published an edition of Euripides’ Andromache (translated by Susan Stewart and Wesley D. JAN HOKENSON is a Professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics at the University of California at Santa Cruz where she is Director of Comparative Literature. She is the author of The Senses of Modernism: Technology. Kipling. Professor Hokenson is the author of “The Fictions of Lisa Alther” (1998) and is an editor of Forms of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Third International Conference on the Fantastic in Literature and Film (1986). SUSAN STEWART teaches literature at the University of Pennsylvania.. Haggard. He is the author of The Chameleon Poet: A Life of George Barker (2001). WILLIAM C. Sweden. . SARA DANIUS teaches in the Department of Literature at Uppsala University.

She has also translated The Wheels of Commerce by Fernand Braudel (1985) and Hannah’s Diary by Louise L. She is the author of France Between the Wars: Gender and Politics (1996) and Britannica’s Typesetters: Women Compositors in Edwardian Edinburgh (1989). . RAMSDEN has held teaching appointments in French in American and England and most recently at the University of Hill. PUGH is Professor Emeritus in the French Department at the University of New Brunswick. GABRIELLE STARR is an Assistant Professor of English at New York University. ANTHONY R.Contributors 275 SIÂN REYNOLDS is a Professor in the French Department of Stirling University. “Proust’s Working Methods: The Importance of Structure” (1990) and The Birth of A La recherche du temps perdu (1987). She is the author of “The Play and Place of Fact and Fiction in the Travel Tale” (2000) and “Literary Manifestations of the Self: Their Forms and Functions in Modern French Factual and Fictional Documentary Works” (1990). She is the author of “Clarissa’s Relics and the Lyric Community” (2001) and “Love’s ‘Proper Musick’: Lyric Inflection in Behn’s Epistles” (2000). He is the author of “Imagination and the Unity of the Pensées” (2002). Lambrichs (1998). MAUREEN A.


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2000. no. or: Women and French Identity during the Belle Epoque” by Siân Reynolds. Gabrielle. © American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. edited by Richard Bales. From Modern Philology 99. Reprinted by permission. Reprinted with permission of The Johns Hopkins University Press.. © 2001 by Cambridge University Press. Carter. From Literature & History 10. © 2001 by Manchester University Press. Pugh. © 2002 by Anthony R. “Ethics. c/o Rogers. no. . From Dalhousie French Studies 58. 2 (April 2001): 127–140.” Copyright © Ingrid Wassenaar. (Spring 2002): 39–53. From The Cambridge Companion to Proust. 3 (February 2002): 357–375. no. no. © 2002 by Dalhousie University. Reprinted by permission. Meaning. Reprinted by permission. From Eighteenth-Century Studies 35. From Proustian Passions: The Uses of Self-Justification for A la recherché du temps perdu. “Jean Santeuil and the Notion of avant-texte: A Case for an Extension of the Term?” by Maureen Ramsden. “Introduction” by Ingrid Wassenaar. “Albertine’s Bicycle. © 2001 by Oxford University Press. London WII IJN “The Vast Structure of Recollection: from Life to Literature” by William C. Pugh. 20 Powis Mews. and the Work of Beauty”. Coleridge & White Ltd. Reprinted by permission of the author.284 Acknowledgments Studies 37. Reproduced by permission of the author. 1 (Spring 2001): 28–41. “The Ending of Swann Revisited” by Anthony R. Starr. 3 (Spring 2002): 361–378. Reprinted by permission.

Adam Bede (Eliot), 39–42, 44–46, 50–51 Addison, Joseph, 247 Adolphe (Constant), 145 Against Sainte-Beuve, 21–22, 27 criticism of, 227, 230, 238 image of mother in, 29–30, 179 memory in, 179, 181 writing of, 229, 231, 234–35, 237–238 Agostinelli, Monsieur, 193 A la recherché du Marcel Proust (Maurois), 39 A la recherché du temps perdu, 17 aging in, 31 allegory in, 137–39 allusions in, 23, 205 behavior in, 59 criticism of, 139–49, 227 cruelty in, 33–34 desire in, 33, 177, 195 first person narrative in, 140–45, 179, 236, 238 compared to Gulliver’s Travels, 254–56 imagination in, 31, 34, 254 Jean Santeuil influence on, 221–22, 227, 231–38 metaphors in, 116, 253 modernism in, 236, 238 moral consequences in, 60 relations to the dead in, 105 remorse in, 23 war in, 31, 56, 181, 192 women in, 190–98 285 writing of, 21–22, 27, 32, 176, 201–15, 230–31, 234 A la recherché du temps perdu, characters in Aimé in, 13 Albertine in. See Albertine in A la recherché du temps perdu Bergotte in, 98, 140, 205–6 Bloch in, 193 M. de Bréauté in, 9 Céleste in, 27–28, 31 M. de Charlus in. See Charlus, M. de in A la recherché du temps perdu Odette de Crécy in. See Crécy, Odette de in A la recherché du temps perdu Elstir in. See Elstir in A la recherché du temps perdu Forcheville in, 5–6 Francoise in, 190–92, 201, 203, 205 grandmother in, 23–25, 29–30, 123–28, 160 Guermantes, Duc de, 90–91, 93, 111, 113, 192 Guermantes, Duchesse, 90, 113, 114 Guermantes, Prince de, 24, 33, 90, 193 Jupien in, 24 Leonie, Aunt in, 167, 235 Marcel in. See Marcel in A la recherché du temps perdu Morel in, 24 Rachel in, 7–9, 114



Robert in, 8 Saint-Loup in, 2, 7–9, 116 Charles Swann in. See Swann, Charles in A la recherché du temps perdu Gilberte Swann in. See Swann, Gilberte in A la recherché du temps perdu Madame Verdurin in, 86, 89–90, 95, 110–11, 114, 193, 195 Verdurins in, 30, 113, 140, 171, 235 Mlle Vinteuil in, 25, 30, 51, 74, 123, 167 A la recherché du temps perdu, themes and theories in aesthetic theory in, 252–56 childhood memories theme in, 24, 29, 32, 34, 83, 97, 236 death theme in, 24, 117 faculty of memory theme in, 24–25, 119 inversion theme in, 29–31 japoniste practice in, 83–99 jealously theme in, 33, 123, 137–38, 166, 177 memory and the construction of in, 20–23, 176, 182, 236 nostalgia theme in, 105–6, 110, 143, 191, 201 the Orpheus myth in, 124 recurring motifs in, 83 satiric allusions in, 89–90, 94–95, 97–98 self-justification in, 137–49, 157–60 sexuality in, 83, 179 suffering theme in, 24, 26, 31 symbolism in, 124, 167 technology affecting human experience in, 123–29 time theme in, 25, 32–33, 140, 177–78, 180, 182 Zipporah idolatry in, 70–71 A la recherché du temps perdu, volumes and sections of A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs in. See

A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs Albertine disparue in. See Albertine disparue “Balbec” sections of, 39, 193, 252 The Captive in. See Captive, The “Combray” in, 89, 96–97, 138–39, 166–69, 177, 181–82, 191, 201, 203, 235 Le Côté de Guermantes in. See Côté de Guermantes, Le Goncourt text in, 95, 97, 114, 117 “The Intermittencies of the Heart” in, 24 Sodome et Gomorrhe in. See Sodome et Gomorrhe Swann’s Way in. See Swann’s Way “Swann in Love” in, 71, 76–77, 201, 203, 207 Le Temps retrouvé in. See Temps retrouvé, Le Time Regained in. See Time Regained Within a Budding Grove in. See Within a Budding Grove A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs in A la recherché du temps perdu, 185, 203, 209, 215, 228 Albertine in, 38, 193 Andrée in, 37–39 George Eliot in, 38 Gilberte in, 201 grandmother in, 37 illusions in, 37 Marcel in, 93 Albertine, 9, 11–14, 28, 30, 33, 38 accident of, 22, 31, 195 bicycle of, 194 character of, 194–95 death of, 9, 22, 195 jealousy and love of, 3, 22, 114–16 lesbianism of, 24 and Marcel, 22, 160, 172–73, 190, 193 maternal devotion of, 28 object of love and jealousy, 22



Albertine disparue Albertine in, 51, 160 fragile human nature in, 51 narrative of distress in, 160 Analysis of Beauty (Hogarth) aesthetic theory in, 249–51, 259 Anatomy of Melancholy (Burton) narrator’s nostalgia in, 106 Anderson, Benedict, 185 Aristotle, 107 Armstrong, Isobel on aesthetic theory, 248–49 Arnyvelde, André, 78 Augustine, 107–8, 145 “Avant la nuit” Franoise in, 172 same-sex love in, 172

Badinter, Elisabeth, 197 Bales, Richard, 74 Balzac, Honoré de, 19, 23, 43 Bardèche, Maurice on A la recherché du temps perdu, 230, 238 Barney, Natalie, 189 Barrès, 23 Bataille, Georges, 30–31 Baudelaire, Charles, 14, 222 Baudry, 146 Baumgarten, Alexander, 135, 246 Beauvoir, Simone de, 195 “Before Nightfall. See “Avant la nuit” Belle Epoque France, 186, 189–90, 193, 195, 197–98 Bellemin-Noël, Jean on the definition of avant-texte, 222–25, 229 Benardaky, Marie de, 170 Benjamin, Walter, 115 and the notion of aura, 126 Benstock, Shari, 189 Berger, Klaus, 84 Bergson, Henri, 20, 57

Bible d’Amiens, La (Ruskin), 41, 176 Blanchot, Maurice, 148 Blarenberghe, Henri Van, 26 Bloom, Harold, 273 introduction, 1–16 on Proust compared to Freud, 1–3, 5, 12, 14–16 on jealousy in Proust’s work, 1–16 Botticelli, Sandro, 5 and Proust’s use of Zipporah, 70–78 and Ruskin’s use of Zipporah, 63–73, 76, 78 The Trials of Moses, 63–78 Boule de Suif (Flaubert), 60 Bowie, Malcolm on jealousy in A la recherché du temps perdu, 123 Burke, Edmund, 249 Brun, Bernard on Proust’s writing, 229 Brunet, Etienne, 158 Brunschicg, Cécile, 193 Brunschicg, Leon, 193 Burton, Robert, 106

Captive, The, 28, 227 jealousy in, 10–12, 38 Léa in, 11 Carlyle, Thomas, 39, 41, 50 Carnet de 1908, Le (notebook) annotations of childhood memories in, 177–79 Carpaccio, Vittore L’Arrivo degli Ambasciatori inglesi presso il Re di Bretagna, 70 Carter, William C., 165–83, 274 on Proust’s grand edifice of recollection, 165–83 Causerie de Lundi, 43 Caillavet, Arman de, 19. “Certain Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia, and Homosexuality” (Freud), 1



Characteristics (Shaftesbury) aesthetic theory in, 249 Charlus, M. de in A la recherché du temps perdu, 9, 29–30 adventures of, 24 sexuality of, 171 temperament of, 59 Chernichevsky, 187 Clarac, Pierre, 228–32, 235 Claudel, Paul, 98 Clegg, Jeanne, 69 Cocteau, Jean, 209–10 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 251 Complete Works of John Ruskin (Cook & Wedderburn), 72 “Confession d’une jeune fille, La” goodnight kiss drama in, 168 Confessions (Augustine), 145 Confessions, Les (Rousseau), 145, 147 Conrad, Joseph, 158 Constant, Benjamin, 145 Contre Sainte-Beuve. See Against SainteBeuve Côté de Guermantes, Le illness, suffering and death in, 23 self-justification in, 159 technological change in, 123, 130 Crécy, Odette de (Swann) in A la recherché du temps perdu, 32, 190, 201 character of, 191–94 past life of, 5–6, 76 as Miss Sacripant, 76–78 secret life of, 4, 75 sexuality of, 77–78, 192 Swann’s love for, 2, 6, 172–73, 191, 203 as Swan’s Zipporah, 5

Danius, Sara, 121–36, 274 on Joyce’s use of how technology affects human experiences, 130–35 on Proust’s use of how technology affects human experiences, 121–30, 134–35 Dante, 139 Daudet, Lucien, 213–14 Davis, Fred, 106 Debray-Genette, Raymonde on avante-texte, 225 Debussy, Claude, 146 Degas, Edgar, 90 Delafosse, 86 Deleuze, Gilles, 111, 113 Derrida, Jacques on enlightment aesthetics, 245, 249 on Hegel, 122 Descartes, René, 108, 111 Doll’s House, A (Ibsen), 187–88 Dominique (Fromentin), 145 Dostoevsky, Fyodor, 26 Doubrovsky, Serge, 146 Dreaming by the Book (Scarry) aesthetic theory in, 256 Du côté dechez Swann. See Swann’s Way Duroselle, J.B., 190–91 Duplay, Maurice, 23

Critical Historians of Art, The (Podro), 117–18 Critique of Judgment (Kant) aesthetic theory in, 244

Eagleton, Terry on enlightment aesthetics, 245, 249 Elias, Norbert on time, 109 Eliot, George influence on Proust, 39, 41, 43–52, 54–61 realism in, 44–47, 57 Elliot, Emory on aesthetic theory, 248 Elstir in A la recherché du temps perdu, 140, 173 and Japanese aesthetics, 96, 98 paintings of, 116



studies of, 88, 90–93 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 38, 50–51 “End of Jealousy, The.” See “Fin de la jalousie, La” Enquiry (Burke), 249

jealousy in, 11–14 memory in, 119

Faces of Injustice, The (Shklar), 138 Fallois, Bernard de, 229–31 “Fan, The.” See “L’Éventail” Ferré, André, 228 Ferry, Jules, 185 Feuillerat, Albert, 202, 214–15 Fiction, Fair and Foul (Ruskin), 54–55 “Filial Sentiments of a Parricide,” 26 “Fin de la jalousie, La” Francoise in, 172–73 Honore in, 172–73 jealousy and obsession in, 172–73 Flaubert, Gustave, 14, 60, 223, 225–26 influence on Proust, 47–48, 60–61 realism of, 47, 57 Fleurs du mal (Baudelaire), 222 Focillon, Henri, 117 Foster, Dennis, 145 France, Anatole, 171, 193 France de la Belle Epoque, La (Duroselle), 190–91 Franck, 193 Fraser, Robert, 37–61, 273–74 on Eliot’s influence on Proust, 39, 41, 43–52, 54–61 on Flaubert’s influence on Proust, 47–48, 60–61 on Ruskin’s influence on Proust, 41, 44, 46–48, 54–55, 57 French Revolution (Carlyle), 39 Freud, Sigmund, 148 irony of, 1 Proust compared to, 1–3, 5, 12, 14–16 on repression, 106 Fromentin, 145 Fugitive, The death in, 113

Gallimard publishers, 17 Gamble, Cynthia J., 63–81, 274 on Ruskin’s influence on Proust, 70–73, 76, 78 on Ruskin’s reproduction of Botticelli’s Zipporah, 63–73, 76, 78 on Proust’s use of Botticelli’s Zipporah in his work, 70–78 Gemie, Sharif, 195 Genette, Gérard, 144, 190, 192, 228 Gide, Andre, 145 Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, 192 Gimpel, René, 181 “Girl’s Confession, A.” See “Confession d’une jeune fille, La” Giroud, Francoise, 197 Grasset, Bernard, 202, 208–13, 215 Grasset publishers, 17, 229 Grésillon on avant-texte, 224–26 Guermantes Way, The. See Côté de Guermantes, Le Gulliver’s Travels (Swift) aesthetic theory in, 254 compared to A la recherché du temps perdu, 254–56

Harrison, Thomas Alexander, 173 Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 2 Hay, Louis on texte, 223–24, 227 Hegel and the history of aesthetic discourse, 122, 135 Heidegger, 248 Proust compared to, 20, 34–35 Hofer, Johannes on nostalgia, 106 Hogarth, William



and aesthetic theory, 244, 248–51, 254–57, 259–60 Hokenson, Jan, 83–103, 274 on Proust’s use of Japanese aestheticism in A la recherche du temps perdu, 83–103 Homer, 19 Hugo, Victor, 22 Hutcheson and aesthetic theory, 244, 246, 248–49, 260

Ibsen, Henrik, 187 “Image of Proust, The” (Benjamin), 115 Imaginative Interpretation of the Far East in Modern French Literature (Schwartz), 86 In Search of Lost Time. See A la recherché du temps perdu Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (Hutcheson) aesthetic theory in, 246

Jean in, 39, 46, 49, 52, 166, 173, 235–36 Madame Lawrence in, 52–53 Marie scandal in, 53–54, 60, 170, 235 memory in, 173–76, 178, 236 narrator of, 48, 59–60, 235 publication of, 231, 237 realism in, 237–38 Monsieur de Ribaumont in, 52 Madame Servan in, 235 third-person narrative of, 236 writing of, 231, 234 Johnson, Samuel, 247 Jouhandeau, M., 29 Joyce, James, 224 and use of how technology affects human experiences, 123, 130–35 compared to Proust, 123, 130, 134–35

Jankélévitch, Vladimir, 106 Jean Santeuil, 27, 181 allusions in, 235 Arthur in, 53 bed-time kiss in, 25 behavior in, 59 Madame Cresmeyer in, 52–53, 235 criticism of, 227, 237 George Eliot in, 38 Emerson in, 38 Ernestine in, 45 Experiences of love in, 235 fictionalized autobiography of, 39 Henri in, 52 image of mother in, 25 influence on A la recherché du temps perdu, 221–22, 227, 231–38 inversion theme in, 25, 177 Mr. Irwine in, 53

Kant, Immanuel, 108, 116, 119, 135 and aesthetic theory, 244, 246 Keats, John, 115 Kilmartin, Terence translator, 71 Kracaurer, Siegfried, 123 Kristeva, Julia, 17–35, 72, 98, 273 on the last volume of A la recherche du temps perdu, 31–34 on Proust compared to Heidegger, 20, 33–34 on Proust compared to Spinoza, 34 on Proust and the death of mother, 22–24, 29–31 on Proust and psychic time, 18–21 on the writing of A la recherche du temps perdu, 21–22, 24–29 Lalande, André Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie, 150 Lauris, Georges de, 210 “Law of Compensation” (Emerson), 50 Lebrave, Jean-Louise, 226

23. 51. 106 Malebranche. 46 Monet. 201. 33. 94 and his grandmother. 203. 67 . Maurice on perception. 30. 90–92 Montesquiou. 249 on Proust’s insight. 117. 29–30. 57–60. 96–98 awakening of. 204–6. 168 childhood memories of. 204 Nietzsche. 172–73. 171 Moralists. Ottilie. 68 Nahmias. 193 artistic apprenticeship of. 244 Manet. 158–60 sexuality of. 117 experiences of.H. 116 Nordlinger. 178. 90. 235 suffering of. 90 Mrs. 90 Marcel in A la recherché du temps perdu. 124–25 world. 7. 54. 25. Marie. 111–13 and the bedtime kiss. 111 Merleau-Ponty. 177. 203. 191–92. 107. 171 Lennox. 235 narrator of. Robert de 23. 190. 90. 95. 92–93. 139. 91. 40–41. 192. 150–56 Man Paul de on enlightment aesthetics. 171 Lepré in. 172 Life of Forms in Art. 32 Maupassant. 112–13. The (Shaftesbury). 88–99 jealousy of. 63 Middlemarch (Eliot). 137–38 and justice. 179 and Gilberte Swann. 57. Warren’s Profession (Shaw). 92. 22. 22. 48 McLaren. 52.Index 291 L’éducation sentimentale (Flaubert). The (Eliot). 85. 30. 171–72 L’Irréversible et la nostalgie (Jankélévitch). 66. Guy de. 39. 171–72 Madeleine in. The (Focillon). 23–25. 60 Maurois. 86 Norman Conquest of England. 137 obsessions of. 26. 111–13. 138. G. 177. André. 55. 245. 145 Lemaire. 60 Mill on the Floss. Claude. 114. 170. 85 and the telephone. 208–9. 92. 189 Meditations (Descartes) memory in. 22. 255–56 accomplishments of. 171 fear of suffocation in. 257 Moreau. 252. 85 and Albertine. Edouard. 7.. 18. 115–17. 112–13. 225 Lejeune. 87–88. Albert. 12 aesthetic innovation of. 56 “L’ Éventail” time lost and regained in. 160. 88. 87. 31 quest of. 139 mother of. Charles Eliot. 168–69 self-awareness of. 168–69 Norton. 187 Murray. 10–11. 54–58 Modern Painters (Ruskin). Charles Fairfax. 25–26. 236 dreams of. Nicolas and self-justification. 235 passion of. 247 Lewes. 194–95 recollections of. 113. 89 self-justification in. 147 Mandeville. Madeleine illustrator. 32. Charlotte. 160 Japoniste initiation of. 29–30. 9–14. 210–11. 117 L’Indifférent desire in. 27. 86. 108 Michelangelo. 44. 147. 22. The (Thierry). 123–27.

78 self-doubt of. Mme. 223 Pichon. 165 chronology of. The Proust. 23–27. 117 Ponge. 29. 108. Marcel and aesthetic theory. The” (Freud). 165–67 Proust. 143. 177 and philosophy. 43–52. 259 Othello (Shakespeare). 76. 174. 47. 137–49. 86 compared to Spinoza. 185 Pensés (Pascal). 110 Peasants into Frenchman (Weber). 55. 139–49. 260 birth of. 193 imaginary world of. 20 first person narrative in. 250 “Pavanne for a Dead Princess” (Ravel). 3. 16. 228 Proust and Signs (Deleuze). 7. 165. 15. Yann Le. 111 . 60. 177. 228 and death of mother. 29. 57 and recollection ability. 1–2. 227 theme of inversion in. 110–19 notebooks of. 41. 18–21. Adrien (father). 99 Place de la madeleine. 17 as theorist of technological change. 20. 165–83 remorse and guilt of. 61 mother’s influence of. 12. La. 116 use of Japanese aestheticism.292 Index Occasioned by Sir William Temple’s Late Illness and Recovery (Swift) aesthetic theory in. 244. 21. 2 Ozouf. 166. 21. 170–71 as social chronicler. 83–103 and jealousy. 25–26. 140–45. Francis. 171 and new form of temporality. 105–6. 134–35 and memory themes. 139. 31. 5 Paulson. 226 Prisonnière. 226. 29. 7 and inversion theories. 26. 87 Ruskin’s influence on. 146 Plaisirs et les jours. 146 George Eliot’s influence on. 181 Flaubert’s influence on. Le (Ponge). 171 Proust. 169. 178 and psychic time. 253 morality of. 227 death of. 60–61 compared to Freud. 2 irony of. 24. 123. Walter. 166. 25 as reviewer. Ronald on aesthetic theory. 130. 1. 1. 251–55. 33–34 illnesses of. La (Doubrovsky). 254–57 and symbolism. 171. 222 “Passing of the Oedipus Complex. Mona. 166. 29–30. 197 Pascal. 23–27. 14. 107–8 Podro. 146 influence of. 17 and nostalgia. 168. 134–35 Proust. 251. 115 On Beauty and Being Just (Scarry) aesthetic theory in. 174 and realism. 171 Plato. Les criticism of. 5. 14–16 Pater. 9. 14–16 compared to Heidegger. 222 Peter. 54–61 ethics of. 254 insight of. 47–48. 113. 121–30. 248. 32–33. 39. See Captive. 1–3. René. 257–58 “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (Keats). 1–16 compared to Joyce. 178 and self-justification. 34 compared to Swift. 86–88. 179 death of. Jacques on avant-texte. 146 Petit. 226 Pré. 244. Michael. 267–71 criticism of. Blaise. 21. 157–60 and sexuality. 70–73. née Jeanne-Clemence Weil (mother). 20. 251 metaphors of. Robert (brother).

147 Rousset. 253–54. 201–20. 1 Shklar. 44 Schmid. 228 Schwartz. 256–57.V. 275 on the depiction of women in Proust’s culture. Percy Bysshe. 93 Monsieur de Charlus in.Index 293 Pugh. 76. 247 Quine. 145 Remembrance of Things Past. 251–54. 83 Ruiz. 197 Shelley. 275 on avant-texte in literature. 117 Spectator. 138 Silas Marner (Eliot). 76. 57. 257. 117–18 Riffaterre. Louis de. Yves. 155–57 Riegl. The (Hawthorne). Maurice. 110 Récits (Gide). 259–60 Scenes from Clerical Life (Eliot). Maurice. 86 influence on Proust. 86 Sesame and Lilies (Ruskin). Jean-Paul on Proust. 41. Jean. William Leonard. The (Addison) aesthetics and morality in. 244–51. 145. 78 ire of. 2 Scarry. Auguste. See A la recherché du temps perdu Rembrandt Proust’s essay on. 55 . 185–99 Ribot. 247. 26. Mary-Louise. Elaine on aesthetic theory. Marion on avant-texte. 139. 227. Siân. 23. 40–41. 19 Ramsden. See Sodome et Gomorrhe Sodome et Gomorrhe allusion in. Francois. 221–41. 63–73. 201–20 realism of. 177 Robert. 25 Japanese aesthetics in. 260 Shakespeare. 248–49. 45–46 Reynolds. George Bernard. Judith. 249 Sodom and Gomorrah. 43 Sandre. 40 Rousseau. 244. Mother leaves on a journey.. 185–200. 143–44 Scarlet Letter. 57. John. 19. William. W. 30 self-justification in. 23 black remorse in. 275 on the writing of A la recherché du temps perdu. 213 Roberts. 176 “Sur la lecture” preface in. 209–10.” 142 Rabelais. 146 “Robert and the Kid. 44. 176–77 Shaftesbury and aesthetic theory. 223. 229–30 Sartre.” 27. 123 Ruskin. Raul film adaptation of Time Regained. Anthony R. 231–38 Ravel. Jean-Jacques. 189 Romola (Eliot). Théodule and self-justification. 244. 78 Sachs. 46–48 and the reproduction of Botticelli’s Zipporah. 187. “On Simple Theories of a Complex World. 221–41 on Jean Santeuil influence on A la recherché du temps perdu. 2. 44.. 51 Smith. 221–22. 46–48. 29 “Sainte-Beuve et Balzac” the intelligent reader in. Alois aesthetic theories of. 5. 54–55. Maureen A. 188 Rodin. 150. 59 profanation of the mother in. 159 sexual inversion in. 23–24 Spatromische (Riegl). 252 Shaw. 40–41. 70–73.

Charles in A la recherché du temps perdu. Gilberte in A la recherché du temps perdu. 229 self-destruction of Swann in. 254–57 Tadié. 113. 138–39. 206. 244 Thierry. 226. Jonathan and aesthetic theory. 60. 94 jealously in. 254–58 compared to Proust. 89. 78. 166–69. George. 168 Timaeus (Plato). 112–13 image of mother in. 167. 215 and Marcel. 58 Japanese aesthetics in. Christine. 251–55. The (Ruskin). in A la recherché du temps perdu. 230 Temps retrouvé. 76–77. 128–29 Vinteuil’s sonata in. 76–77. 227–28 Monsieur de Charlus in. 128–29 technological change in. 56. 2–7. 96–97. 251. 22 film adaptation of. 71. 201. 27. 123. 71 Swann. 275 on aesthetic theory. 56. 177. 208–10. 197. 111–13 Swift. 56 inner vision in. 94. 203. 110–19 Sussman. 25 Japanese aesthetics in. 113 as dilettante. 32. 181–82. 238 Turing. 123 moment of illumination in. 105–6. 78. 203 self-destruction of. Gabrielle. 113 waking and sleeping in. 89. 105–19. 31 Gilberte in. 56. 177 childhood memories in. 203–4. 108. 71 features of. 123 Theory of Moral Sentiments (Smith) aesthetic theory in. 201. 140 Two Paths. Le in A la recherché du temps perdu. 191. 251.294 Index Spinoza Proust compared to. 168. 191. 228 Ton-That. 260 Stewart. 95. Jean-Yves on avant-texte. 76 Stansell. 235 sexuality of. 140. 58 realism in. 223. 32 aesthetic theory in. 107 Time Regained. 89. 44 . 71 Verdurins in. 32. 70–77. 17. 180 narrator in. 106–11. 172–73 marriage of. Henry. 71 sexuality in. 57 Theory of Film (Kracauer) on Proust as a theorist of photography. 274 on nostalgia theories in literature. 205–8. 59–60 death in. 55. 30. 123 Tolstoy. 170 Swann’s Way in A la recherché du temps perdu. 203. 9–10. 9–10 Mazarin in. Susan. 23 alteration between love and death in. 114. 83 Swann. 203 death in. 244. 2–7. 34 Stambolian. 244. 94 the narrator in. 167 bed-time kiss in. 207 Swann’s relationship with Odette in. 54. Aungustin. 201. Leo. 190. 172 idolatry of Zipporah-Odette. Thanh-Vân on Jean Santeuil. 23. 25–26. 77 “Swann in Love” in. 192. 188 Starr. 228. 117–8 on Proust’s use of nostalgia in his work. 193. 243–65 on Proustian aesthetics. 17. 90 jealously of. 10 narrator in. 169 publication of. 21. 211–12 death of. 243–65. 212. 191 “Combray” in. Alan.

56 Yearning for Yesterday (Davis). 193 Within a Budding Grove in A la recherché du temps perdu artist Elstir in. 189 Wordsworth. 149–58 on self-justification in A la recherché du temps perdu. 88 Walton. 157–60 on Proust and self-justification. 76–78 nostalgia in. 274 on allegory in A la recherché du temps perdu. 123. 185 Wharton. 139–49 on the history of self-justification. 137–39 on Proust criticism. Ingrid. William. Le (Brunet). 106 Odette’s past revealed in. 202. 157–60 Weber. Robert on the conclusion of Swann’s Way. Kendall. The. 121 Vocabulaire de Proust.Index 295 Ulysses (Joyce) technological change in. Emile. Eugen. 106 Yourcenar. 86. 223 . 251 Wassenaar. 137–49. Marguerite. 76–78 Women of the Left Bank (Benstock).” 177 Virgil and the Orpheus myth. 95. Edouard. 99 Zola. 87. 213–14 “Villebon Way and the Méséglise Way. 137–63. 159 Vuillard. 76 Miss Sacripant painting in. 189 What is to be done? (Chernichevsky). 187 Whistler. 131–35 Vigneron. 137–49. 89–91. Edith.

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