This article focuses on key moments in Proust’s À la Recherhe du Temps Perdu and discusses how the Proustian narrator’s most peculiar instance of “involuntary memory,” namely his discovery of George Sand’s François le Champi at the end of the novel, articulates an account of reading that makes space for a sensory and affective relationship with the “book in a red binding” and the “grain of a particular paper” alongside an intellectual relationship with its text. Melanie Klein’s theory of object relations helps to parse this experience to describe the paramount importance—unexpected for an idealist writer like Proust—of our affective response to the material in the experience of reading. Indeed, the “paperoles” which Proust created by pasting pieces of paper onto the edge of his manuscript notebooks during the novel’s composition demonstrate a similar awareness of and affective investment in the materiality of the book that functions to supplement and aid his linguistic creation.


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pp. 129-146
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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