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Mirages and Mad BeliefsProust the Skeptic$
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Christopher Prendergast

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155203

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155203.001.0001

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(p.60) Chapter Three Magic
Mirages and Mad Beliefs

Christopher Prendergast

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the idea of literature as magic-making by focusing on Marcel Proust's use of the term “magic,” along with its cognates “enchantment” and “charm.” Proustian magic comes in all shapes and sizes, but the preferred locales for conjuring the enchanted realm are dark or semidark, the domain of nightworld and shadowland. There are many such locales in the À la recherche du temps perdu, but the alchemist's place of darkness and silence par excellence is the “restful obscurity” of the bedroom, the world of sleep and dream, especially the liminal or threshold states of falling asleep and waking up, the midzone of the waking dream. The chapter also considers the ideological tenor of Proust's aesthetic, especially the posited relation in Le Temps retrouvé between art, truth, and epiphany.

Keywords:   literature, magic-making, Marcel Proust, magic, À la recherche du temps perdu, darkness, Le Temps retrouvé, art, truth, epiphany

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