Mirages and Mad Beliefs: Proust the Skeptic

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Princeton University Press, 2013 - Literary Criticism - 220 pages
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"From Bergson to Sebald, Prendergast's new book demonstrates his brilliant reach. Delving into the smallest details and largest ideas, as well as Proust's own 'truth written with the aid of figures, ' this investigation of his skeptic perspective is as deep as it is wide."--Mary Ann Caws, author of "Marcel Proust"

"Christopher Prendergast extracts new and original meanings out of the best-known pages in Proust. This is the rewarding upshot of close and perspicuous readings that reveal ambiguities and paradoxes in passages whose interpretations are often taken for granted. Prendergast's admiration, far from blinding him, leads to his discovering the strength in Proust's loose ends."--Antoine Compagnon, Collge de France and Columbia University

"Through exemplary close reading and remarkable attention to textual detail, this book offers a high-powered critical argument that essentially pits Proust against himself--the romantic aesthete against the ironic doubter, the writer who conquers time against the one who understands how thoroughly lost it can be. This work will challenge and alter many current readings of Proust and, by implication, other writers."--Michael Wood, Princeton University

"In "Mirages and Mad Beliefs," Prendergast identifies a skeptical strain in Proust's writing marking the novelist's resistance to his own apparent beliefs. This is the work of a major critic at the top of his game: witty, profound, and highly readable, while meeting top standards of scholarship in its display of erudition and respect for sources. It deserves to be widely read."--Michael Sheringham, University of Oxford

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About the author (2013)

Christopher Prendergast is professor emeritus of French at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of King's College and the British Academy. He is the general editor of the Penguin translation of "In Search of Lost Time".

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