Beginnings and Endings: Proust’s Temporality and the Everyday
This concluding chapter explores how the temporality of the everyday functions with and against narrative form. It turns to Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time as a case in point and also explores how this relationship plays out in modernist texts discussed in previous chapters. One of the difficulties—as the sheer length of In Search of Lost Time attempts to resolve—is the disjunction between the length of a novel, with its significant and inter-related events, and a fully lived life. The chapter examines the relationship in Proust’s work between art and life—or making one’s life into a work of art—also with reference to Aristotle and Nietzsche. Ultimately the chapter argues that In Search of Lost Time amplifies and distends its narrative in order to fit the temporality of the everyday, and yet the novel also recognizes the fundamental incompatibility of the everyday with narrative form.
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