Melancholy in Marcel Proust


  • Isabel Sargento New University of Lisbon


Słowa kluczowe:

melancholy, time, unconscious, involuntary memory, loss, mourning


The purpose of this article is to show how Marcel Proust faces temporality and how we can establish a parallel between his moods and the melancholic state of mind. A brief reflection is made on our relationship with time and about melancholy as consequence of our awareness of the passage of time. Focusing on the study of the first chapter of Swann’s Way, the first volume of Proust’s work In Search of Lost Time, it is presented as part of Proust’s melancholic experience, the fact that he articulated different times with the recourse of involuntary memory, one of the main means used by him in the writing of this work. The question of intuitions as thrusters of this same involuntary memory is addressed and as Proust, neither offering us a figurative literature, nor an abstract literature, used this formula in the struggle against his melancholic hopelessness. It is specified how Proust made the image (figure) to appear alternating the sensation of present with the sensation of past. Some considerations are made about mourning from two different standpoints, firstly from Walter Benjamin’s point of view and his philosophical perspective on the phenomenon of melancholy, then from the approach of Sigmund Freud, to whom melancholy is a pathology within the scope of psychiatry, opposed to mourning. The “loss” prevails throughout this reflection as a condition for the melancholic disposition.


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Jak cytować

Sargento, I. (2022). Melancholy in Marcel Proust. Jednak Książki. Gdańskie Czasopismo Humanistyczne, 2(13), 31–43.