FREN514A

Proust’s Laughter

A study of a particular dimension of Proust’s A la recherche: laughter and humor.  An examination on the reflective authenticity of laughter in relation to, for instance, social discourse and sadism.  We’ll also discuss to what extent Proust’s narrative strategies regarding humor are nonessentializing tools used against the bourgeois construction of the so-called comic relief of fiction works.  While laughter/humor may harness the possibilities of cultural subversion, even anarchical in its effect, we’ll examine how it may have eventually become one point of autobiographical reference deprived of moral scope.  And the latter point might sit at the core of the Proustian dialectics of the fall and the search.

Course readings:
Du côté de chez Swann (1913)
A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (1921)
Le temps retrouvé (1927)

A very non-exhaustive critical reading list:
Barthes, Roland. Recherche de Proust. Paris: Seuil, 1983
Beckett, Samuel. Proust. London: Chatto & Windus, 1930
Bouillaguet, Annick (ed.). Dictionnaire Marcel Proust. Paris: Champion, 2004
Citati, Pietro. La colombe poignardée. Proust et La Recherche. Paris: Gallimard, 1997
Compagnon, Antoine. Proust, la mémoire, et la littérature. Paris: Odile Jacob, 2009
Descombes, Vincent. Proust: philosophie du roman. Paris: Minuit, 1987
Deleuze, Gilles. Proust et les signes. Paris: PUF, 1998
Doubrovsky, Serge. La place de la madeleine. Paris: Mercure de France, 1974
Fraisse, Luc. Le processus de la création chez Marcel Proust. Paris: Corti, 1988
Henry, Anne. La tentation de Proust. Paris: PUF, 2000
Kristéva, Julia. Le temps sensible: Proust et l’expérience littéraire. Paris: Gallimard, 1994
Mansfield, Lester. Le comique de Marcel Proust. Paris: Nizet, 1953
Milly, Jean. Proust et le style. Genève: Slatkine, 1991
Tadié, Jean-Yves. Marcel Proust. Paris: Gallimard, 1996

Langue d’enseignement: français

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