A body of Proustian scholarship attests to the ubiquity and efficacy of Freudian interpretations of A la recherché du temps perdu. By contrast, no critics to my knowledge have developed a Rankian psycho-critical reading of Proust. Yet, many of the passages that have sparked contemporary critical debate on Recherche can be usefully interpreted from a Rankian perspective. Though many "privileged moments" in the narrative are illustrative of Rankian theory, as articulated in Art and Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development (1933), the two I wish to focus upon in this discussion are the Montjouvain meta-drama and the "little phrase" vignette, for both comprise case studies in the neurotic origins of the creative impulse. While critics have interpreted these passages independently, they have not sufficiently explicated their thematic correlation: one that informs the structure of the entire work, even as it establishes the centrality of the dual themes of damnation and redemption. Finally, these two episodes not only dramatize the neurotic origins of the creative impulse, but deeply inform the careers of Vinteuil, Swann, and Marcel: careers that are dramatically conjoined by a musical curse.


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pp. 89-113
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