Monday, August 20, 2007

Rorty on Proust

The late Richard Rorty had some wonderful things to say about Proust. My hunch is that Rorty too would be skeptical about the promises of a Proust tour. The novel's the thing, not the Guermantes way, not Combray, not Balbec:

Proust succeeded because he had no public ambitions — no reason to believe that the sound of the name "Guermantes" would mean anything to anybody but his narrator. If that same name does in fact have resonance for lots of people nowadays, that is just because reading Proust's novel happens to have become, for those people, the same sort of thing which the walk à côté de Guermantes happened to become for Marcel — an experience which they need to redescribe, and thus to mesh with other experiences, if they are to succeed in their projects of self-creation.

From Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 118

A related post
Richard Rorty on the value of literature

All Proust posts (via Pinboard)

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