A la recherche du temps perdu, the last great pre-Freudian novel of the mind, has attracted much attention from psychoanalytic critics since its publication. This article explores the analysis of Proust’s novel by critics, with a particular focus on the representation of the conscious and unconscious mind. It follows the history of such criticism through the rise of psychoanalysis in the humanities to the waning of its influence in the early years of the present century. The article argues that our postpsychoanalytic present is the ideal moment to reexamine the parallels and divergences between Proust’s and Freud’s understandings of consciousness and to measure them against the rival philosophical and psychological theories developed during the twentieth century. The current pluralism in the humanities’ approach to analyzing representations of the mind allows the literary author’s implicit understanding of mental life to assert itself more clearly.
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Simon Kemp; Postpsychoanalytic Proust. Modern Language Quarterly 1 March 2014; 75 (1): 77–101. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-2377748
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