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Proust and Photography: Albertine and memory production

Date and Time: 
Thursday, November 6, 2014. 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Humanities Center Board Room
Workshop: 
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Consciousness
Meeting Description: 

Suzanne Guerlac is a professor of French at the University of California, Berkeley. Her principal areas of research include 19th and 20th century literature and thought. Her interests include the examination of cultural ideologies and articulations between literature and philosophy, and literature and the visual arts. Her current project, Proust and Photography, examines time, vision and the production of experience in A La Recherche du Temps Perdu.

Attending  to photographic elements in the Proust’s Albertine story, we envisage the Recherche not as a novel of recollection (or of the recuperation of loss through art ) but as a kind of novel of adventure which concerns  the adventure of being in time.  In the Albertine story memory becomes  not simply a container for past images  but a photographer in action.  We examine the production ( as distinct from the recollection) of memories in Proust’s novel  in light of Bergson’s theory of memory production  (presented in his essay on Déjà Vu), and suggest an alternative to Benjamin’s (anti-Bergsonian) reading of memory – and of Proust.

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