This book describes the development of Proust's treatment of material objects from his earliest work Les Plaisirs et les jours to his mature vel A la recherche du temps perdu. It examines the literary influences on Proust's way with objects in the light of certain critical texts and reconsiders the significance of Ruskin. As the movement from unreflective and spontaneous representation to a meta-narrative of consciousness is traced, some questions as to the banality of the 'banal object' arise. The meta-narrative finds resonance in a peculiarly Proustian pictoriality which has been largely unticed. It resides in descriptions where objects appear simultaneously or at different times as things in paintings and in the real. By exploring connections between Proust's pictoriality and his reflections on 'matiere' and 'surface', the author suggests a radical approach to the modernism of A la recherche du temps perdu.
The Author: Thomas Baldwin studied for a BA in French and German at University College London and for a D.Phil. at New College, Oxford. He currently teaches at the Ecole normale superieure in Paris. He has published articles on Proust, Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Bouveresse.