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Marcel Proust and the text as macrometaphor Jaeck, Lois Marie


Marcel Proust and the Text as Macrometaphor proposes that metaphor may provide the key to understanding the structure and effect of some novels. Some literary works give rise to an inexpressible impression that transcends its component elements. This dissertation attempts to prove that such texts reflect on a macro-scale the structure of a poetic metaphor, and thus function as "macrometaphors". Because Marcel Proust established a connection in Le temps retrouvé between metaphor and a literary work, his investigation of the metaphorical process and the means by which it suggests to its reader the internal reality of things is utilized as the theoretical basis for a comparative analysis of six novels from the perspective of the metaphor-like structures that underlie their characterizations, organization, ideas, imagery, milieus, and symbols. The Introduction discusses the validity of using Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu as an illustration of the novel as macrometaphor, and considers other theoretical studies which also suggest a possible connection between text and metaphor. Chapter One analyzes Proust's theory of metaphor as set forth in Le temps retrouvé, elucidating first of all the meaning of the word "metaphor" as used by Proust. It then explores briefly how his usage fits into the history of the concept of metaphor from the time of Aristotle to the present day, and next explicates the steps taken by the narrator that culminate in his recognition of the metaphorical process and its relationship to art and life. Finally, it clarifies the structures and conditions that constitute metaphor as understood by Proust. Chapter Two demonstrates how the totality of the novel A la recherche du temps perdu reflects the structure of metaphor as defined in Le temps retrouvé. The similarities shared by the structure of the text and the structure of metaphor are the grounds for viewing the text as a macrometaphor. Chapter Three presents brief, comparative structural analyses of five other novels (Cervantes' Don Quixote, Diderot's Jacques le fataliste et son maître, Thomas Mann's Der Zauberberg, Julio Cortázar's Rayuela, and Gabriel García Márquez' Cien años de soledad) in order to demonstrate that these works reflect the structure of metaphor also. The Conclusion presents some general ideas about the relationship of thought, discourse, metaphorical structure, literary works in general and novelistic structure in particular.

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