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Title: Identity and difference in Marcel Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu
Author: Fülöp, Erika
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 5426
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis combines, in a philosophical approach, two great tendencies in Proust studies which, on the one hand look upon the novel as a conclusion to the nineteenth century and, on the other as a first step toward the perception of the world that developed in the twentieth century. It examines the way the narrator’s experiences and art bring these together in to one vision of the world which includes the possibility of Identity whilst recognizing the value of difference. The first two chapters consider those of the narrator’s experiences which bring relief from his usual anxiety and open access to the sphere of Identity.  The first group of such experiences consists of his ‘privileged moments’ while the second I term ‘liminal states of consciousness’. I interpret these on the basis of Schelling’s concept of intellectual intuition and Merleau-Ponty’s ‘flesh of the world’. Chapter three addresses the problem of difference and argues that it is through the narrator’s relationship to the Other than the world appears as an agglomerate of differences and irreducible multiplicity.  I draw out the interrelatedness of the two problems of difference and the Other through a reading in philosophical terms elaborated by Buber, Sartre, Levinas, Deleuze and Derrida. The concluding chapter analyses the way the two apparently incompatible approaches to the world prove complementary. I show that the narrator’s understanding of the nature of imagination plays a fundamental role in his attitude toward the world and art.  I read the Proustian emancipation of the imagination and simulacra in the light of the critique of the logos by Nietzsche, Deleuze, and Derrida, and conclude that the Recherche stages of dynamism of thought they call for, but without it determining the validity of the foundational experience of Identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available