Through the 'I's of Lost Time: Proust's Performative Fugue of Temps Perdu
Author: Ruth Skilbeck
Publisher: Monash Arts Online, 2010
Type: Published conference paper presented at time.transcendence. performance, conference, Monash University 2009.
Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu is written as an extended narrative/speech-act of memory. The paper considers the fugue poetics of Proust’s act of writing transcendence performatively realised through multiple voices of selves in Lost Time, as manifestations of the musical and psychological meanings of fugue. The almost interchangeable mechanisms of time and space suggested by Bergson’s notions of time as le temps and la durée and his related notion of élan vital, are discussed in relation to the contrapuntal mechanisms – or textual counterpoint – of Proust’s novel contrasted to Deleuze’s reading of Proust’s Lost Time as “not simply ‘time past’; it is also time wasted, lost track of” (Deleuze 2000, 3). The paper concludes that temps perdu articulates the conceptual space of Proust’s writing contained and inscribed within the narrative text which is accessed, or capable of being accessed and set into motion by, and through, the writer’s and reader’s attention.
Proust, Bergson, writing transcendence, Lost Time, fugue poetics, involuntary memory