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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.84) Chapter Four Éblouissement
Mirages and Mad Beliefs

Christopher Prendergast

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines éblouissement in Marcel Proust's Venice in À la recherche du temps perdu. It suggests that Proust's sensibility and imagination were “religious” insofar as they were animated by the wish to intuit from a “feeling.” From the perspective of more rigorously conceived religious belief and doctrine, however, the chapter argues that such wish was pure folly, in many ways the blind alley of a writer for whom religious faith was not a plausible option, but who was also indifferent to what had come to replace religion—the secular narratives of “progress” underpinning the enlightenment project of “modernity.” That Proust suspected it was folly is clear from his indictment of John Ruskin with the charge of idolatry.

Keywords:   progress, éblouissement, Marcel Proust, Venice, À la recherche du temps perdu, religious faith, religion, modernity, John Ruskin, idolatry

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