Christopher Prendergast | Living and Dying with Marcel Proust | Waterstones | 2022

 

Christopher PRENDERGAST, Living and Dying with Marcel Proust, Londres, Waterstones, 13 janv. 2022

From vibrant character portraits to the intricacies of the famous Proustian sentence, Professor Christopher Prendergast delivers a beautifully wrought map to the sensuous, psychologically surgical and deeply philosophical universe Proust created in his In Search of Lost Time.

One of the masterpieces of twentieth-century fiction, A la recherche du temps perdu belongs in the tradition of the Initiation Story, the journey it describes combining elements drawn from the earlier narratives of great expectations and lost illusions, while recasting them in ways that are distinctively Proust’s.

On the year that marks the centenary of Marcel Proust’s death, the eminent literary scholar, Christopher Prendergast, traces that journey as it unfolds on an arc defined by the polarity of his title, living and dying. His book offers a chapter by chapter exploration of the rich sensory and impressionistic tapestry of a lived world, woven by the pulse of desire, the hauntings of memory and an ever alert responsiveness to tastes, perfumes, sounds, and colours. It also traces the construction of a unique architecture of narrative time and a corresponding mode of story-telling, marked by all manner of loops, swerves, detours, regressions and returns, from the macro level of the novel’s plot to the micro level of the famously elaborate Proustian sentence.

The lives of his characters, both major and minor, are shown as criss-crossing and converging in ways that often take the reader by surprise, before descending the arc on an irreversible trajectory of decline, as the body starts to fail and the grave beckons.