Columbia Professor Elisabeth Ladenson on abject identites in Proust.
One of the stranger aspects of In Search of Lost Time is to be found in the relation between author and text in terms of a trio of abject identities. In the service of giving his vast novel “universal” appeal, Proust, a half-Jewish homosexual with a reputation as a snob, identifies his semi-autobiographical narrator as a gentile heterosexual who tells us that he’s anything but a snob. These three marginal identities are then distributed among secondary characters (notably Bloch, Charlus, and Legrandin) who become the objects of quasi-anthropological fascination in the novel. Ladenson will discuss this peculiar dimension of Proust’s novel, as well as the critical commentary to which it’s given rise over the course of a century.
Book sale to follow program.
Sponsored by Yankee Travel.