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Proustian Passions : The Uses of Self-Justification for A la recherche du temps perdu - Ingrid Wassenaar

Proustian Passions

The Uses of Self-Justification for A la recherche du temps perdu

Hardcover Published: 1st July 2000
ISBN: 9780198160045
Number Of Pages: 280

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A la recherche du temps perdu occupies an undisputed place in the unfolding intellectual history of the 'moi' in France. There is, however, a general tendency in writing on this novel to celebrate the wonders of the moi sensible uncritically. This effaces all that is morally dubious or frankly experimental about Proust's account of selfhood. It denies the rigour with which Proust tries to understand exactly why it is so difficult to explain one's own actions to another. The great party scenes, for example, or the countless digressions, read like manuals on how acts of self-justification take place. Proust, however, is not merely interested in some kind of taxonomy of excuses, hypocrisy, disingenuousness, and Schadenfreude. He wants to know why self-justification tends to be interpreted as indicative of moral or psychological weakness. He asks himself whether self-justification informs isolated moments of everyday existence or whether it endures in an overall conception of self that lasts an individual's lifetime. He investigates whether it dictates the functioning of an entire social group. Can we decide, he asks, whether justifying one's self should be written off as morally repugnant, or taken seriously as evidence of moral probity?

Industry Reviews

Acutely perceptive reading of Proust ... Proustian Passions represents not only a major, original achievement in what might be considered the highly congested terrain of Proust studies. Its complex, enlightening arguments are also centrally relevant to life-writing, not least the ethically ambiguous character of Proustian writing in which personal vulnerability, as Wassenaar writes, 'shades into irresponsibility' * Modern Language Review *

Introduction Part I: OUTWARDS Doing the right thing: a study of Proustian parties Part II: ENCOUNTERS Digressions and self-justification: making the perfect fit Moments of attachment: the cloison Dangerous proximity: the reverses of character Part III: INWARDS Under cover of mourning: the ethics of vulnerability Conclusion Appendices: I. A table of Proustian parties; II. A table of digressions in A la recherche du temps perdu: III. Cloison instances in A la recherche du temps perdu Index

ISBN: 9780198160045
ISBN-10: 0198160046
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 280
Published: 1st July 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.43

Earn 530 Qantas Points
on this Book