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The Death of the BookModernist Novels and the Time of Reading$
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John Lurz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823270972

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823270972.001.0001

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The Books of the Recherche

The Books of the Recherche

(p.25) Chapter 1 The Books of the Recherche
The Death of the Book

John Lurz

Fordham University Press

This chapter offers a general account of the novel’s status as an object in Proust, in which the chance appearance of George Sand’s François le Champi at the end of the novel opens up an unexpectedly material and temporal account of the famously idealist Proustian project. The most peculiar of all the narrator’s instances of “involuntary memory,” his encounter with this book roots his ambition to “redeem lost time” in an embrace of physical solidity and in a recognition of temporal transience. Triangulating Proust’s work with the theoretical insights of Melanie Klein and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, this chapter develops a model of modernist mediation that is deeply engaged with the physical and affective valences of the book-object, an engagement that, in Proust, has everything to do with the transmission of a sense of both temporality and mortality.

Keywords:   Melanie Klein, memory, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, mortality, Marcel Proust

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