Here, Inge Crosman Wimmers proposes a new approach to "A la recherche du temps perdu" that centres on the role of affect. Through close reading of the hero-narrator's personal history, the author shows how emotional paradigms (especially separation anxiety), involuntary memory and other compelling impressions give focus and structure to Proust's novel. Drawing on reader-oriented and emotion theories, she shows how affect commands the attention of the "motivated reader" and is crucial to the process of self-understanding for both the narrator and the reader. This extensive study takes fully into consideration the drafts (esquisses) published in the new Pleiade edition of the novel, the Mauriac edition of "Albertine Disparue", and material from the unpublished Proust manuscripts - all of which shed further light on the importance of affect in "A la Recherche". The text should appeal to readers interested in an approach to Proust that combines insights from philosophy, psychology and literary aesthetics and in a poetics of reading that pays particular attention to emotion.
Inge Crosman Wimmers is a professor of French Studies at Brown University.