Homophilia, Misogyny, and the Time-Memory Correlative
Homophilia and misogyny are pendant themes. The strong preference for male company is articulated through gestures and choices by both author and characters. In Proust, homophilia leads to misogyny: disparaging, controlling, even abusive attitudes toward the souls of women, which are demonized and imprisoned. Their souls, provisionally free in sleep, do not reach total deliverance until death. The ecstasy of Platonic mystical union is shown only between two males.
The soul of time travels at its own pace: by urgency, by seemingly slow passage, in narrative interruption or digression, chronological inversion, and in privileged moments. The soul of memory is present in odors or fragrances. Like Aquinas’s substratum soul, it connects past and present. Its enemy is forgetfulness. Time and memory are also correlated in collective memory. Presented in a clear, lively style, this book would be excellent in courses on Proust, French literature, religion, philosophy, psychology, and sociology.
About the author
BETTE H. LUSTIG was awarded a Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from Harvard University, and, while on a Fulbright Study Grant to Paris, an M.A. in French from the Middlebury College Graduate School of French in France. Dr. Lustig has published several articles on such authors as Ludovic Janvier, François Mauriac, and Romain Gary. She has also published a textbook, Textes et pastiches: une initiation à la littérature (1999), and, most recently, Judaism in Marcel Proust: Anti-Semitism, Philo-Semitism, and Judaic Perspectives in Art (Lang, 2012). Dr. Lustig has taught extensively in several colleges in the Boston area, including Harvard University, Tufts University, Boston University, and Boston College. Recently, she was also invited three times to lecture on Proust at Harvard University.
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