Richard E. Goodkin
A study in obsession, Marcel Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu is seemingly a self-sufficient universe of remarkable internal consistency and yet is full of complex, gargantuan digressions. Richard Goodkin follows the dual spirit of the novel through highly suggestive readings of the work in its interactions with music, psychoanalysis, philosophy, and cinema, and such literary genres as epic, lyric poetry, and tragedy. In exploring this fascinating intertextual network, Goodkin reveals some of Proust's less obvious creative sources and considers his influence on later art forms. The artistic and intellectual entities examined in relation to Proust's novel are extremely diverse, coming from periods ranging from antiquity (Homer, Zeno of Elea) to the 1950s (Hitchcock) and belonging to the cultures of the Greek, French, German, and English-speaking worlds. In spite of this variety of form and perspective, all of these analyses share a common methodology, that of "digressive" reading. They explore Proust's novel not only in light of such famous passages as those of the madeleine and the good-night kiss, but also on the basis of seemingly small details that ultimately take us, like the novel itself, in unexpected directions.