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© Patrick O'Donovan 1986–2019

'A contradictory look at the look: resisting Le Temps retrouvé’

Proust’s Recherche includes a number of scenes of animal magnetism, or mesmerism, which have been as yet unvisited by critics. Here, this thread is viewed as a key component of the Albertine plot. Why do the mesmeric scenes matter in the context of the Recherche? Because they disclose the contingency of knowledge, as the novel elaborates a framework altogether distinct from that of the mesmeric tradition, within which the insights which the Narrator falteringly accumulates are subsumed into a dynamic model of mental functioning. The essay argues that this framework is important to the treatment of the Narrator’s internal perspective.

Adam Watt, ed., ‘Le Temps retrouvé ’ Eighty Years After / 80 ans après: Critical Essays / Essais critiques (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009), pp. 167–80
  Accepted manuscript: institutional repository