Proust: The Narrator Himself

August 29, 2013

Marcel lui meme

 

Yes, always Marcel, the central figure. The tyranny of Marcel’s neurosis  – his obsessive need to be accepted, to access worlds he imagines more perfect than his own, his fantasies concerning certain idealized people, as Mme Swann, – dominates this second book. Yet, however “weak” or “sickly” Marcel may appear to us “robust” moderns, in a society that is, superficially at least, classless, in an age when wearing the title “protagonist” usually implies heroic acts, either physical or moral, Marcel, with his suffering, his endless examinations of his emotions, his weeping, seems to me to be both pathetic and noble. Marcel’s longings,  his efforts, for example, to get a glimpse of his beloved, Ghilberte, or of her beautiful mother provide the mirror image of more universal longings, of soul’s for God, perhaps, or of the general human hunger for knowing, for certainty, for meaning, for something.  Marcel is, absolutely against type, a strange sort of everyman.

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