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Fragmentos sobre Proust


Por Harold Bloom tengo conocimiento, sin poderlo constatar, que “En Busca del Tiempo Perdido” de Marcel Proust es la gran obra de la envidia sexual. Un tema tremenda profundo dentro de la condición humana.

Los siguientes son fragmentos que rescato del articulo publicado en el New Yorker “What We Find When We Get Lost in Proust”.

The son of a half-Jewish Parisian grand-bourgeois family, Proust was known, before the 1913 publication of “Swann’s Way,” as a malicious, amusing, slightly absurd society boy, with a vaguely pathetic literary hobby. He had written some standard-issue aesthetic essays and stories, which no one read, and had translated Ruskin’s study of the Amiens cathedral. (He was an inveterate Anglophile: his favorite novelist was George Eliot, and his favorite novel “The Mill on the Floss.”) A charming society hanger-on, he was admired by his close friends for his literary dedication and the extraordinary flow of his letters—which are effortlessly parenthetical, sliding into digression and back to the main point with the skill of a rally driver dipping in and out of traffic at a hundred miles an hour. None of them, however, thought him much more than a dilettante.


If Proust, for Updike in the God-haunted nineteen-fifties, was the last Christian poet, we may see him now in more secular terms, as a writer who, perversely, sought serenity not in detachment and self-removal but in attachment and reattachment—a monk within a metropolitan monastery. “Be here now” is the mystic’s insistence. “Don’t be here now” is Proust’s material motto: be there then, again. Enjoy, emote, repeat, remember: there are worse designs for living.


Above all, he is in love with his own love, with things made in his own mind, and when ardor cools he is dazed to discover that the great passion of his life had been for a woman he didn’t like at all, a woman “who was not my type.” This, much more than the madeleine memory, is the real Proustian turn. Jealousy, the key emotion in Proust, is self-generated; we go hunting for rumors or images of our beloved entangled with another, to refresh the pain that has become synonymous with love. Our emotions move us right through a sequence of feelings, from the lightest to the darkest and back again, giving the illusion of walking in the park when we are merely once again touring the attic.


For all the speculative profundity that can be discovered in the vast annotative literature surrounding Proust, ranging from Samuel Beckett’s bleak, inscrutable summary to Roland Barthes’s structural appreciation, Proust is least interesting for his philosophical depth. The profound bits in Proust are the most commonplace, while the commonplace bits—the descriptions, the evocation of place, the characterizations, the jokes, the observations, and, most of all, the love stories—are the most profound. His is the most militant tract of aestheticism ever attempted, and understanding why it has been the most successful at making converts is the key to all the other nested Prousts.

Link: What We Find When We Get Lost in Proust