Abstract

This article examines the constitutive pattern created by the Proustian narrator’s repeated performance as a peeping Tom. Drawing on psychoanalysis, queer studies, visual culture, and affect and performance theories, this study expands the repertoire that has heretofore been limited to homosexual primal scenes by focusing on queer elements linking a number of voyeuristic moments in À la recherche du temps perdu. As unconventional primal scenes, these passages serve to break down heterosexual/homosexual and man/woman dichotomies through the inclusion of multiple participants of all genders and sexualities. That is, the repetition and authorization of such scenarios function as a performative discourse that advocates for queer sexualities in the novel. In addition to analysis dedicated to the implications of these erotic performances, significant attention is given to the protagonist’s role as voyeur. By highlighting the pleasure that the narrator experiences as a peeping Tom, this article argues that, rather than endeavour to label the Proustian narrator as homosexual or heterosexual, a more productive approach would be to avoid such strict binaries and focus more on his erotic experiences; namely, to view his voyeurism of men and women of various sexual leanings as representative of his sexual preferences.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1468-2931
Print ISSN
0016-1128
Pages
pp. 318-332
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-09
Open Access
No
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