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Philosophy As FictionSelf, Deception, and Knowledge in Proust$
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Joshua Landy

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169393

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169393.001.0001

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Style (Proust's Sentences)

Style (Proust's Sentences)

Chapter:
(p.129) CODA Style (Proust's Sentences)
Source:
Philosophy As Fiction
Author(s):

Joshua Landy (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169393.003.0005

This chapter examines the connections between Proust's philosophy, and his and his narrator's literary style. On the one hand, a set of stylistic features correspond neatly to the theory of self described in Chapter 3: the inconsistencies of the novel's chronology mirror the imperfections of memory; the shifts in tone translate the self's constant fluctuations; the multiple narratorial voices reproduce the disjointed nature of consciousness; and the syntax of the famously convoluted and multilayered sentences — which often seem to grow from the middle, constantly allowing for revision and reconsideration — imitates the process by which we attempt to shape the total self. On the other hand, and more importantly, Proust's style does something else: by encouraging us to hold a great deal of information in our head at once, to retrace our steps, and to doubt what we simultaneously believe, it offers the opportunity for a kind of training that may ultimately allow us to construct our own total selves, transforming our disorderly lives into works of art.

Keywords:   self-fashioning, chronology, memory, tone, narrator, training, sentence structure, life as literature, spiritual exercise

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