Unprecedented Deformation, An
Marcel Proust and the Sensible Ideas
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: State University of New York Press
An Unprecedented Deformation
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Introduction: “Seek? More Than That: Create.”
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I propose here to follow to the letter the long and celebrated passage from the final part of the first chapter of Marcel Proust’s Recherche: that part which contains what has come to be known under the title: “Resurrection of Combray through involuntary memory” (R 1, 522/1033). Here is the passage on which I would like to focus...
Chapter 1: Nature: Variations on the Theme “Why are there several samples of each thing?”
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Th e last courses that Merleau-Ponty held at the Collège de France focus on the “concept of Nature” on the one hand, and the “possibility of philosophy today” on the other. Merleau-Ponty brings together under the fi rst heading both the courses of 1956–57 and the courses of 1957–58—of these courses, the latter, centered on “Animality, the Human Body, Transition to Culture,”...
Chapter 2: The Mythical Time of the Ideas: Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze as Readers of Proust
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Th us begins one of the densest working notes from The Visible and the Invisible, dated April 1960 and entitled “‘Indestructible’ past, and intentional analytic— and ontology.” Here we find Merleau-Ponty rendering the Husserlian notion of “Stiftung” as “initiation,” which designates, according to him, “the unlimited fecundity of each present which, precisely because it is singular and passes, can never stop having been and thus being universally”...
Chapter 3: Deformation and Recognition:Proust in the “Reversal of Platonism”
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If it is true—as Alfred North Whitehead affirmed—that the entire history of Western philosophy is nothing but a series of footnotes to Plato and, in addition, that the figure most characteristic of this thought is contained in his theory of ideas, i.e., in his conception of εἴδη (the term which is the plural of εἶδος), then the notion of eidos (translated variously as “idea,” “essence,” or “form”)...
4. “The Words of the Oracle”: Merleau-Pontyand the “Philosophy of Freudianism”
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In the same year that Merleau-Ponty penned the lines I cited at the beginning of my second chapter, lines which connect the mythical time of Proust’s sensible ideas with “the Freudian idea of the unconscious and the past,” he also wrote the preface to a book entitled Loeuvre de Freud et son importance pour le monde moderne,1 written by the psychoanalyst Angélo Hesnard who at the time supported...
Chapter 5: How Can One Recognize What One Did Not Know?: Mnemosyne and the Art of the Twentieth Century
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“‘I did not know’ and ‘I have always known it’”: it is through this “double formula” that Merleau-Ponty characterizes the Freudian notion of the unconscious (RC, 179/130; trans. modified) when, in the last course he was able to complete at the Collège de France (1959–60), “Nature and Logos: Th e Human Body,” to which I have frequently referred, he conceives its identification with feeling: “[t]he unconscious is feeling itself ” (ibid.)...
Appendix: Love and Music: Theme and Variations
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This passage, taken from the neuropsychiatrist and philosopher Erwin Straus’ masterpiece Von Sinn der Sinne, effectively condenses the question of “Platonism” and its “reversal” as it will be later raised by Gilles Deleuze. In his essay originally entitled Renverser le platonisme Deleuze invites us to consider the following “two formulas: ‘only that which resembles differs’ and ‘only differences resemble each other’” (LS, 302/261), explaining that...
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Page Count: 121
Publication Year: 2010