By Legeton Hodson, Leighton Hodson
Marcel Proust (1871-1922). significant foreign novelist, essayist and critic. Writings contain: Remembrance of occasions earlier. quantity covers the interval 1896-1931. Extras: Posthumous works, serious essays and tributes.
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42) praises Proust’s rejection of emotionalism in favour of close analytical attention to detail, thus linking up with the classical tradition of psychological enquiry such as we find in Racine. The change in approach to Proust over his psychological analyses is already hinted at in Mauriac’s awareness of an underside to life that Proust is becoming obsessed with. It is reflected in his reservations about Proust’s obsession with jealousy in his review of La Prisonnière (No. ’ His greatest fault is ‘the absence of grace….
75) Proust’s interest in the visual world and Fierens (No. 77) Proust’s modernism. Of the older generation of writers, Gide reassesses Les Plaisirs et les jours (No. 67), Valéry, who admits to having read scarcely any Proust, compares Proust’s novel to the discourse of poetry, and Ghéon reasserts his earlier views on Proust’s work as a ‘Summa’. His is the only voice to speak of misgivings regarding Proust’s moral stance, even going so far as to refer to Mauriac’s influential comments in La Revue hebdomadaire.
In tracing Proust’s development in general he perceptively brings out the influence of Wagner on Proust’s style and Proust’s own discovery of the importance of a critical intelligence. The insight into the interaction of the intuitive and the intellectual takes root in Proust criticism about this time (cf. Curtius, No. 109). Pierhal (No. 115) also enthuses over the art of AD. In spite of feeling that some of the personality reversals are implausible, he finds that Proust triumphs in the organization, complexity and musicality of his work.