Mirages and Mad Beliefs: Proust the Skeptic

Princeton University Press
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Marcel Proust was long the object of a cult in which the main point of reading his great novel In Search of Lost Time was to find, with its narrator, a redemptive epiphany in a pastry and a cup of lime-blossom tea. We now live in less confident times, in ways that place great strain on the assumptions and beliefs that made those earlier readings possible. This has led to a new manner of reading Proust, against the grain. In Mirages and Mad Beliefs, Christopher Prendergast argues the case differently, with the grain, on the basis that Proust himself was prey to self-doubt and found numerous, if indirect, ways of letting us know. Prendergast traces in detail the locations and forms of a quietly nondogmatic yet insistently skeptical voice that questions the redemptive aesthetic the novel is so often taken to celebrate, bringing the reader to wonder whether that aesthetic is but another instance of the mirage or the mad belief that, in other guises, figures prominently in In Search of Lost Time. In tracing the modalities of this self-pressuring voice, Prendergast ranges far and wide, across a multiplicity of ideas, themes, sources, and stylistic registers in Proust's literary thought and writing practice, attentive at every point to inflections of detail, in a sustained account of Proust the skeptic for the contemporary reader.
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About the author

Christopher Prendergast is professor emeritus of French at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of King's College and the British Academy. He is the general editor of the Penguin translation of In Search of Lost Time.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 21, 2013
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9781400846313
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / French
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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An accessible and authoritative new history of French literature, written by a highly distinguished transatlantic group of scholars

This book provides an engaging, accessible, and exciting new history of French literature from the Renaissance through the twentieth century, from Rabelais and Marguerite de Navarre to Samuel Beckett and Assia Djebar. Christopher Prendergast, one of today's most distinguished authorities on French literature, has gathered a transatlantic group of more than thirty leading scholars who provide original essays on carefully selected writers, works, and topics that open a window onto key chapters of French literary history. The book begins in the sixteenth century with the formation of a modern national literary consciousness, and ends in the late twentieth century with the idea of the "national" coming increasingly into question as inherited meanings of "French" and "Frenchness" expand beyond the geographical limits of mainland France.

Provides an exciting new account of French literary history from the Renaissance to the end of the twentieth centuryFeatures more than thirty original essays on key writers, works, and topics, written by a distinguished transatlantic group of scholarsIncludes an introduction and index

The contributors include Etienne Beaulieu, Christopher Braider, Peter Brooks, Mary Ann Caws, David Coward, Nicholas Cronk, Edwin M. Duval, Mary Gallagher, Raymond Geuss, Timothy Hampton, Nicholas Harrison, Katherine Ibbett, Michael Lucey, Susan Maslan, Eric Méchoulan, Hassan Melehy, Larry F. Norman, Nicholas Paige, Roger Pearson, Christopher Prendergast, Jean-Michel Rabaté, Timothy J. Reiss, Sarah Rocheville, Pierre Saint-Amand, Clive Scott, Catriona Seth, Judith Sribnai, Joanna Stalnaker, Aleksandar Stević, Kate E. Tunstall, Steven Ungar, and Wes Williams.

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