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Proust’s Art

Painting, Sculpture and Writing in «A la recherche du temps perdu»


Jonathan Paul Murphy

The author provides an unusual approach to A la recherche du temps perdu, concentrating on the presentation of all the different arts that play a role in the novel. Through these real and imaginary works of art, Proust provides a key to the reading of his own novel, where images break free of their history, the values of creativity and association slowly triumph over the rigid schemes of traditional iconography, and the written word inexorably replaces the visual image.
This study is divided into four parts: the first section examines the role of sculpture and statuary, the second looks beyond stone to the various images of the Medusa to be found in the text, the third keeps the emphasis on visual imagery by looking at the role of still-life painting, and the final section concentrates on self-portaiture and on the transmutation of self into text.
Contents: Introduction – Statues – Méduse – Still-life – Le Castré encastré – Conclusion: Des êtres monstrueux.