“M. Marcel Proust has just published the third volume of his childhood memories,” wrote an exceptionally obtuse reviewer of Le Côté de Guermantes in 1920 (qtd. 130). That's one of the generic frames within which À la recherche du temps perdu has been read; other descriptions include “a psychological novel, a novel about time and memory, later a novel about art and aesthetic experience, a philosophical novel, a phenomenological one, and perhaps only later still a novel with a deeply anthropological and sociological bent, a novel interested in how culture happens, how language is a space in which culture happens, in which it is possible to watch culture happening over time, and to watch social change occur as culture happens” (125). The latter is of course the description closest to Michael Lucey's heart; his Proust is an ethnographer of the work done by language, and more generally a kind of...

You do not currently have access to this content.