2008 | 17 | 99-114
Article title

THE MEANING OF THE SUBJECT IN MARCEL PROUST'S MASTERPIECE (Znaczenie podmiotu w dziele Marcela Prousta)

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The paper discusses - against the background of selected philosophical concepts - two basic problems related to the meaning of subject in the well-known novel by Marcel Proust entitled 'A la reserche du temps perdu'. The first of the analyzed problems is related to the question what the meaning (signifié) of subject is, and the second, formulated in opposition to the postmodernistic standpoint of Gilles Deleuze, to the reasons why the significance (Bedeutsamkeit) of the subject is so intensively exposed in the novel. The subject that can be found in Proust's masterpiece is considered as an egotic, individual, and stratified entity, whose deepest, spiritual layer ensures identity, and, most probably, exists beyond time. The spiritual subject is distinguished by persistent philosophical pursue of the essential truths of human being, and is also concentrated on the role of the author and art. The profound domain of truth remains hidden as long as we are absorbed by everyday life. It is the specific mental power pertaining to the spiritual subject, i.e. our intelligence, that allows us to reveal that domain. Only the non-mimetic literature, as postulated and realized in Proust's novel, employing the method of 'three-dimensional psychology' relying on intelligence, instead of commonly used 'two-dimensional psychology', can present to the eyes of potential readers, as if through the optical glasses, the essential truths of subjective worlds. The significance of the subject finds its expression not only in the application of the first-person narrative form, in the differentiation between the latent and revealed narrator - the fact that creates an aesthetic impression of surprise, in the monophonic character of the novel related to the structural unity imposed by the latent narrator, but also in the specific poeticity of the novel. Determining the style of Proustian prose, this poeticity evokes the atmosphere of clarity and happiness. The poeticity is achieved by such means of style as metaphors, various cultural references shown through the prism of subjective experience, phrasal complexity, melodiousness, and others.
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  • Maria Bielawka, Akademia Gorniczo-Hutnicza w Krakowie, Wydzial Nauk Spolecznych i Stosowanych, ul. Gramatyka 8a, 30-059 Krak√≥w, Poland
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