The essential work on Proust, in a complete English translation for the first time.
What is the nature of the search in A la recherche du temps perdu ?It is not quite so simple as the English rendering of the title of Proust's masterpiece: In Search of Lost Time. In a remarkable instance of literary and philosophical interpretation, the incomparable Gilles Deleuze reads Proust's work as a narrative of an apprenticeship-more precisely, the apprenticeship of a man of letters. Considering the search as one directed by an experience of signs, in which the protagonist learns to interpret and decode the kinds and types of symbols that surround him, Deleuze conducts us on a corollary search-one that leads to a new and deeper understanding of the signs that constitute A la recherche du temps perdu..
Deleuze traces the network of signs laid by Proust (those of love, art, or worldliness) and moves toward an aesthetics that culminates in a meditation on the literary work as a sign-producing "machine"-an operation that reveals the superiority of "signs of art" in a world of signs.
In Richard Howard's graceful translation, augmented with an essay that Deleuze added to a later French edition, Proust and Signs appears here for the first time in its entirety in English. Admired in its original appearance as an imaginative and innovative study of Proust and as one of Deleuze's more accessible works, Proust and Signs stands as the writer's most sustained attempt to understand and explain the work of art. For what it reveals about both Deleuze and his subject, it remains a source of literary and philosophical insight, inspiration, and surpassing interest.
Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) was professor of philosophy at the University of Paris, Vincennes-St. Denis. With Félix Guattari, he coauthored Anti-Oedipus (1983) and A Thousand Plateaus (1987). Among his other works are Cinema 1 (1986), Cinema 2 (1989), Foucault (1988), The Fold (1992), and Essays Critical and Clinical (1997), all published by the University of Minnesota Press.
Richard Howard recently translated The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal for the Modern Library and has also translated works by Barthes, Foucault, and Todorov. He teaches in the School of the Arts at Columbia University.
In the 1972 edition of this book, which makes up the first part of this title, Deleuze examines signs emitted by persons and events in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. In one interesting chapter, "The Secondary Role of Memory," Deleuze illustrates how voluntary memory interprets inaccurately the signs to be deciphered. The jealous lover, for example, cannot accurately decipher the deceptions of his beloved. The second part of Deleuze's book is an addition to the 1972 edition. Here, Deleuze demonstrates how Proust's book, because of the multiplication of signs, becomes a literary machine, really three literary machines: of partial objects or impulses, of resources, and of forced moments. According to Deleuze, Proust or the narrator is the "universal schizophrenic" whose signs weave a spider web by sending out threads to the paranoiac Charlus and the erotomaniac Albertine, all "marionettes of his own delirium" or "profiles of his own madness." This is not easy reading, but the book will prove to be very useful to literary critics or comparativists.--Bob Ivey, Univ. of Memphis Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\