•  
  •  
 

Keywords

Spiritualism, Spiritism, phenomenology, Proust, Bergson, Merleau-Ponty

Abstract

A psychical researcher among Marcel Proust’s contemporaries called belief in the paranormal “the Dreyfus case of science.” References to spirit-life abound in Proust’s fiction, but critics have resisted readings that attend seriously to the numerous references in À la recherche du temps perdu to reincarnation, spirit-possession, and, especially, mediumship. The paper reads them through the lens of long-standing critical controversies, particularly concerning the relationship of Proust’s aesthetics and ontology with those of Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. The paper accepts Nathalie Aubert’s finding in her 2011 essay “Proust et Bergson: La mémoire du corps” that Proust’s insistence on embodiment validates the reluctance of critics since Georges Poulet to connect him with Bergson and makes him, in a sense, a phenomenologist avant la lettre. The paper argues, however, that for Proust a phenomenological interpretation neglects some varieties of experience, and it investigates ways metaphors, particularly in the context of musical performance, drawn from spiritualism inflect his phenomenology and address its limitations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Share

COinS