Proust began to work on A la recherche after a crucial period of hesitation between exploring two genres, the essay and the novel. For the first readers of A la recherche, it was the presence of both maxim and metaphor which was striking. This study begins with literature, and focuses specifically on Proust's maxims through an intertextual model, establishing the reading and writing practices which the sententious mode demands, and exploring Proust's own awareness of this literary mode of laying down the law.
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