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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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The Citizen of the Unknown Homeland

The Citizen of the Unknown Homeland

(p.189) Chapter Eight The Citizen of the Unknown Homeland
Mirages and Mad Beliefs

Christopher Prendergast

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines questions about bodies and origins, homelands and fatherlands in À la recherche du temps perdu. In Marcel Proust's novel, the important parental body is the maternal body—at once sacred and profane, place of both sanctuary and exile. We are also taken back periodically to the Recherche's original religious home, by, for example, the views of Charlus in pious mood on the subject of the Christian Church and the sacrament of the Word made flesh. Charlus spews out a set of stock themes from the history of anti-Semitism in Christian Europe. The chapter also considers the presence of churches and cathedrals in the Recherche; the cathedrals are an expression of nation and ancestry, and as national patrimony they belong to “the body-France.” The chapter concludes by suggesting that in Proust the body is where we live but not where we are at home.

Keywords:   bodies, homelands, fatherlands, À la recherche du temps perdu, Marcel Proust, sanctuary, exile, anti-Semitism, cathedrals, body-France

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