Proust between geography and fiction

The existence of an association, though charming and difficult to define in all its detail, between geographical space and fictional text has long been a concern of literary analysts. In the title of literary geographers, Atlas of the European Novel. 1800-1900Franco Moretti identifies a dual goal for this type of approach: study space in literature (Here the dominant is a fictional one) and one of literature in space (Historical date, this time). Two distinct types of space, the intersection of which is still possible, the first of which speaks of what Rainer Hausher calledortgebünden, that kind of literary form that makes them depend on where they were born. The questions that inevitably arise in such an analysis are, however, to what extent the geographical space truly It overlaps with the framework that became the framework of the imagination, which was the narrator’s motivation for choosing one or another location, the extent to which the narrative logic is organized according to spatial coordinates, etc. And the observations drawn from the disclosure of these coordinates, as well as from the composition of some literary maps, lead, for the most part, to truly amazing new meanings of the text.

The two are Combray

In one of the most famous analyzes applied to Proust’s work, Gilles Deleuze talks about the combray retrieved, brought back to memory by the flavor of Madelena soaked in tea, which is no longer a combray for cognition or voluntary memory, but is revealed inessence his right image of immortality. A space of distinct childhood and adolescence, not belonging to a controlled exercise of memory, of what Proust called intelligence memory, but in that moment of revelation, which is accompanied by amazement and an inexplicable state of bliss, which indicates a true restoration of a moment from the past or, rather, that miraculous confrontation, a moment of coexistence of the past with the present. The perfect combination, captured in the descriptions in Finding lost time, does not match the historical combray of the past, let alone the present. However, the temptation to find a Combray Proustian location among real geographic coordinates is certainly irresistible, despite the caveat (from his unpublished guide to self help) by Alain de Botton that such “symptoms” of ardent Protestants should be avoided, and the ideal is to look at our world through Proust’s eyes, and not his world through ours …

The route we must take today by train from Paris to Chartres, then the change to Ilière (officially, since 1971, officially Ilière-Combray) was also made by the Proust family, on successive summer holidays, between 1877 and 1880., and then, when he was The prose writer is 15 years old, in 1886. In Ellers, Marcel Proust’s father, Dr. Adrien Proust (in a house that can still be seen today), was born, and the three small family members came to visit Jules and Elisabeth Amiot, paternal uncle and aunt – Jules Amiot is also the designer of the famous Jardin Pré Catelan (in Swann’s Park), while it is Elizabeth who later served as the prose writer as a model for celebrities. Aunt Leonie. Today, the Marcel Proust Museum itself is known by the name Aunt Leonie’s houseThus it entered the consciousness of the city dwellers, but also the cultural tourism circuit of northern France. Just as the name of the city itself was converted to Illiers-Combray, in reality fictional statements were made. Jardin Pré Catelan (in the novel, Swann Garden), the old castle and tower, the chapel of St. Jacques, and even the shop where Aunt Leonie prefers to buy a madelene, all can be visited and confronted with anecdotal data, not at all disappointing the reader, who will feel rediscovered, by returning into a famous space. This may also be due to the natural coexistence, the internal penetration of the real and the imaginary, or rather the integration of the latter between the boundaries of reality. In addition to visiting the house of Aunt Léonie and the garden with the orange greenhouse, thanks to the Association of Friends of Marcel Proust (created in 1947), which aims to reunite its readers and promote the writer’s work, in mid-May you can go to the so-called Hawthorn walking (Marcel’s Favorite Little Flowers, translated by Radu Cioculescu, in the BPT version, through lipstick, and by Irina Mavrudin, in the Universe version, through Hawthorn.) As the map showing the itinerary shows, the route begins at Aunt Leonie’s house, then follows the two directions, Méséglise (Méréglise actually) and Guermantes, the coordination axes of Marcel’s Little World, and gathers all the major sites nearby. Combray.

personal geography

A stubborn search for coincidences between fictional and real Compray is sure to prove fruitless. But ignoring the author’s personal geography means ignoring the whole network of subtle correspondences that are established between fact and fiction, revealing their facts and new ways of understanding the text. In a detailed analysis of the sensory experience that accompanies the morning ritual of the Madelena (as well as the origin of the word pilgrim’s cake on the way to Santiago de Compostela and the relationship between her name and the name of the biblical saint or female characters), Julia Kristeva links her savoring moment with a personal geography, of that typical Cumbraian, idealized through memory. She says that memory is a series of spatial metaphors, because although drenched in tea and prone to decay, Madeleina in fact coagulates and gathers around her the elements of geography, the Prussian text: the old gray house, the town square, the country roads, the park, the water lilies In Vivon, etc. At the same time, one of the present observations of Proust’s work analysts refers to her circle, to the significant return to some position, to indicate the end of the cycle (inI found the timeFor example, in a letter from Gilbert we learn about the German occupation of the Compray ship and the destruction of the small bridge over the Vivon River by the French, in which the city became the scene of confrontations that lasted for a year and a half).

Like external geography, the geography of intimacy reveals a world full of subterranean meanings, which surprisingly communicate, branching out endlessly throughout Proust’s work. Here those “things” are usually invested with a supernatural quality to return to moments of memory considered irretrievable, when reunited throughout the entire existence, in different contexts. But the comforting home universe, which the space of the house must evoke, is seldom mentioned by the prose writer, in which moments of bliss (such as the readings in the great hall or the rites of the night of a good kiss, this rather is accompanied by the anxiety caused by the possibility of nocturnal loneliness) are scarce. Swan’s Alley, the young Marcel’s “Unconscious Composer of Sorrows,” on which he appears on the evening visit, the “ugly staircase,” which the child ascends to his room, and which is frequently described in funeral propositions, refers negatively to the space of intimacy, even more so than despondency.

Today, the interior of the house, was reconstructed in 1954 by Ph.D. Laricher, collects oil portraits of Marcel Proust’s parents, the furniture in his apartment on the Haussmann Street, photographs, the writer’s correspondence, manuscripts and documents. There is a permanent exhibition of Paul Nadar, with photographs evoking French society at the time, in the attic of the house. Magic Lantern, edition of François Le ChampySeveral other objects from that period complement the home’s décor, and have been restored several times over the years. Its area became the favorite meeting place of the Society of Friends of Marcel Proust, where readings and discussions take place and where to go in the Prussian Circle, hawthornwhich includes: Jardin Pré Catelan, the Church of Saint Jacques (with the famous shell of the same name, carved in wood), the old castle and the tower, the two directions, Méséglise and Guermantes, one in a low landscape, the other along the river Vivon covered with water lilies that Proust said of her: […] The trend of Méséglise with its bat, with white lipstick, and blue, with poppies, and apple trees, and the trend of Guermantes with its river with tadpoles, with white water-lilies and golden buds, have always formed, for me, the features of the land in which I would like to live.” In which space plays a central role, reconstructing imaginary geography will provide ardent Prussians with a map to guide them through the narrative jungle, leading to the discovery of new correspondences and meanings.

Pictured: Illiers-Combray train station

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