Proust, the Body, and Literary Form


Michael Finn examines the vogue for nervous afflictions in France in the late nineteenth century, and compares Proust's anxieties about writing In Search of Lost Time to the concerns of earlier writers suffering from nervous conditions, including Flaubert, Baudelaire, Nerval and the Goncourt brothers. Once Proust cast off his fear of being a nervous weakling, he was able to make fun of the supposed purity of the novel form. The author shows how hysteria becomes a key to Proustian narrative, and discusses how together with Proust's use of pastiche, narrative pranks and games, it unlocks a writing technique that undermines conventional fiction.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Cambridge, England
Publication year:
  • 1999


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