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The Unconscious in Proust’s «A la recherche du temps perdu»

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Robin MacKenzie

In an interview given in 1913, Proust described the as-yet-uncompleted A la recherche du temps perdu as a series of «Romans de l’Inconscient». This study explores the theme of the unconscious in Proust’s great novel, situating it against a backdrop of nineteenth-century models of the mind, and tracing its connections with major metaphoric and thematic networks in the novel. Dreams and spoken language in particular emerge as crucial sites of unconscious mental activity, providing a wealth of material on which one can base a comparative study of Proustian and Freudian models of the mind.
Contents: The thematics of the unconscious in Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu – Metaphors of mind and subjectivity – Structure, function and interpretation of dreams – Word-play as thematic and stylistic element – Comparative study of Proustian and Freudian accounts of the unconscious, especially in relation to dreams and speech acts.