Friday, November 2, 2007

Proust on self-plagiarism

Is being oneself (or one's self) merely copying? Ah, habit:

[W]hat we call experience is only the revelation to our own eyes of one of our own character traits, which recurs naturally, and recurs all the more powerfully if we have already on some previous occasion brought it up into the clear light of consciousness, so that the spontaneous reaction which had guided us the first time becomes reinforced by all the suggestions of memory. The kind of plagiarism which is most difficult for any human individual to avoid (and even for whole nations, who persist in reproducing their faults and aggravating them in so doing) is self-plagiarism.

Marcel Proust, The Fugitive, translated by Peter Collier (London: Penguin, 2003), 403

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Proust on habit and selfhood

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