Proust: In Search of Lost Time – Summary

Summarize Proust’s philosophy is a challenge, as his references are extensive, his expression complex and his thought subtle.In Search of Lost Time is a source of philosophical commentary, but Albertine Gone, the sixth volume of Research, appears to us as the richest in this respect.Albertine disappeared (The fugitive) tells a suffering love: Albertine, who lived in concubinage with the narrator leaves his home and fled. The narrator tries everything to her back, in vain: here is described by Proust the springs of love game (indifference, extortion, comedy break, …). Later, the narrator learns the accidental death of Albertine, Albertine at the same time still loved him and wanted to return.

The second phase of suffering love then comes: after the immediate pain is the work of forgetting and mourning.

Thus, paradoxically, Albertine missing, which seems to relate a leak, is the story of a captive, the narrator, clinging to her memories and love immured in his memory.

Subjectivity in Proust:

“So what I believed to be nothing for me, it was just my life. As unaware! ”

The incipit of Albertine Gone is a challenge to the Know Thyself Socrates, inviting men to live as a man, that is to know as a subject and discover the truth about themselves.

Proust, on the contrary, subjectivity is opaque to itself. Blind to himself and to others, awareness ahead into the unknown by step. The ego cogito is a fiction invented by the rationalists to give countenance: the narrator thought not to be in love with Albertine, only leaving it learns its commitment. The subject is unaware.

The woman in Proust:

What is a woman the narrator, when this woman is Albertine? The object of his desire. Proust is desire that creates life, Albertine is only because he desires. His desire for her death, Albertine cease to exist and the narrator may undertake to resume her life:

“And not only she who had become a creature of the imagination that is to say desirable, but with her life that had become a fantasy life, that is to say, free from all difficulties So I said to myself: ‘As we will be happy! ”

Proust, the woman is also the mysterious, fleeting, the elusive. The identity of Albertine is indeed precarious polymorphic in the eyes of the narrator: behind this, one can see the assertion of the impossibility of intersubjective knowledge. Knowing others, enter it in its particularity, is impossible. And yet paradoxically, the narrator’s efforts to possess what he does not have as strong as desperate.

Jealousy in Proust:

Proust is perhaps the greatest thinker of jealousy. Proustian jealousy is pathological and is manifested as a fear of abandonment.

Proust’s contribution lies in the fact that jealousy is not related to the beloved, it is a product of the imagination:

“My jealousy born from images to pain, not by a chance […]. It was beautiful to live under the equivalent of a pneumatic bell, associations of ideas, memories continue to play ”

Is the unknown thoughts of another, its elusiveness that feeds the imagination and the evil of jealousy:

“Only the pleasure felt by ourselves we can draw knowledge and pain”

Barthe summed up like this design of jealousy in Proust: “As jealous, I suffer four times, because I’m jealous, because I blame myself to be, because I fear that my jealousy does not hurt the other, because I let myself be subject to a banality. I suffer from being excluded, to be aggressive, to be mad, and to be shared ”

Time in Proust:

Proust, time is highly subjective and echoes the concept of time in Bergson (lived time against objective time): the time of the conscience is in fact extra-time.

“An hour is not an hour, it is a vase filled with perfumes, projects and climates …”

About the sleep, Proust said: “the other life, one where you sleep, is not subject to the category of time”

The report past / present in Proust is also known: the famous madeleine, indicative of emotional awareness, is the co-existence of past and present, memory and perception. This madeleine also reveals a passive conception of subjectivity, which is affected by weather through this involuntary memory.

Albertine alive but partly it is an absence-presence, it is the narrator Albertine dead can free himself, becoming a full no-no. Time is with him, though again the role of time is twofold: adjuvant and opponent.

“It is the misfortune of being loved for us as very wearable collection of boards in our thinking.”

Once in Venice, Albertine arises and disappears at once: the narrator saw Albertine, but in a different form, as a part of himself, his memory is now part of his identity: he carries within him as he carries within him the memory of the madeleine:

“I felt that Albertine of the past, invisible to me, however, was locked up inside me as the” shot “of a Venetian domestic incident which sometimes was hard to slide the cover to give me an opening on the past ”

Cite this article as: Tim, "Proust: In Search of Lost Time – Summary, May 10, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, May 10, 2012,

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