Proust's signature

English 490-0001
Research Seminar
MWF 1:10-2pm in Neville 406
Associate Professor Steven R. Evans

Course Description

A systematic first reading of Proust's In Search of Lost Time (also known as Remembrance of Things Past) with an emphasis on the semiotics, temporality, and social formation of desire (including the desire to know). We will make excursions into contemporary developments in painting, music, literature, and politics as we encounter them in this "novel" that might equally be described as the most sophisticated sociological study, aesthetic tract, and/or psychoanalytic treatise composed in the twentieth century. We will view several film adaptations of the book and discuss secondary texts by Samuel Beckett, Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, Theodor Adorno, Julia Kristeva, Gerard Genette, and others.

The course is Writing Intensive (WI) and serves as a Capstone Experience in English.

Students interested in the course but lacking a prerequisite (English 271 + 3 credits of Literature at the 400 level) are encouraged to contact the instructor. Graduate students should seek permission of both their advisor and the instructor.

Required Texts

Students are free to select from the available recent (1981-forward) translations into English. We'll proceed at a pace of roughly 270 pages per week (90 pages per class session). Prospective students are encouraged to get a head start over the winter break if at all possible: thirty pages per "session" is a reasonable goal; a good reading notebook is also advisable.

Basic Assignments & Evaluation

  • Discussion and occasional oral presentation on primary text: 40%
  • Reading notes and other brief writing assignments: 40%
  • Final project: 20%

If you have a disability for which you may be requesting an accommodation, please contact the Ann Smith at the earliest opportunity.

Reading SyllabusResources