Reading in Prousts A la recherche: le delire de la lecture

Hardcover | July 17, 2009

byAdam Watt

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Through close textual analysis of the scenes of reading in Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu, Adam Watt offers an invigorating new study of the novel and previously unacknowledged paths through it. After considering key childhood 'Primal Scenes' which mark the act of reading as revelatoryand potentially traumatic, the book then identifies and examines the interwoven strands of the novel's narrative of reading: showing that scenes where the narrator reads and where others provide 'lessons in reading' are intricately connected within the narrator's ever unfolding considerations ofintelligence, sense experience, knowledge, and desire. These acts of reading, often bewildering the narrator with their mix of illuminations, wrong turns and over-determinations, lead us to interrogate our own understanding of the act we accomplish as we read A la recherche. This book emphasizes thecomplexities and contradictions with which reading (always inescapably an engagement of both mind and body) is riven, and which connect it repeatedly to the experience of involuntary memory. Reading is shown to be frequently fraught with heady instability-'delire'-of a highly revealing sort, fromwhich narrator and readers alike have much to learn. The book's final chapter shows how the narrator's critical energies, turned contemplatively inwards in the Guermantes' library, are subsequently turned outwards for a final interpretive effort-the reading of his now aged acquaintances at the 'Balde tetes'-in a shift that provides the narrator not only the confidence to begin his work of art, but also the humility to face, undeterred, the approach of death.

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Through close textual analysis of the scenes of reading in Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu, Adam Watt offers an invigorating new study of the novel and previously unacknowledged paths through it. After considering key childhood 'Primal Scenes' which mark the act of reading as revelatoryand potentially traumatic, the book then id...

Dr. Adam Watt is a Lecturer in French, Royal Holloway, University of London.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:234 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:July 17, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199566178

ISBN - 13:9780199566174

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Primal Scenes of Reading2. Learning to Read3. Lessons in Reading4. Reading between the lines or 'le delire de la lecture'5. Theory and Practice of Sensual ReadingEpilogueBibliography