LSP Proust and Philosophy

LSP course entry.

Dr Meade McCloughan

This course will undertake a philosophical examination of Marcel Proust’s novel In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927). In order to orientate ourselves, we will devote the first two sessions to reading key sections from the beginning and the end of the novel; this will give us a good overview of the main themes which we will then turn to consider in more detail over the rest of the course. The thematic sessions will for the most part be based on secondary material (electronic copies will be provided). We will also consider further key passages from the novel. To conclude, I propose examining Walter Benjamin’s interpretation of Proust, before attempting our own final evaluation. See below for a somewhat provisional outline.

In response to a question put to me once than once, you do not have to read all of Proust’s novel in order to do the course; however, be aware that a generalized “spoiler alert” applies! You will have to have your own copy of the novel – see below for further information.

The course starts on Monday 20th April and runs for ten weeks. However, because of the May Bank Holidays, we will skip two weeks (i.e. the 4th and 25th May) – which will give us more time to read! – and so the course ends on Monday 6th July.



In Search of Lost Time / À la recherche du temps perdu (1913-1927) is made up of seven separate parts (variously translated):

  1. Du côté de chez Swann (Swann’s Way) [SW]
  2. A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower) [YG]
  3. Le Côté de Guermantes (The Guermantes Way) [GW]
  4. Sodome et Gomorrhe (Sodom and Gomorrah) [SG]
  5. La Prisonnière (The Prisoner) [P]
  6. Albertine disparue or La Fugitive (The Fugitive) [F]
  7. Le Temps retrouvé (Time Regained) [TR]

English translations:

Given the profusion of versions which people may be using, it will not be feasible to provide page references to the text; however, the Kilmartin, Enright and Penguin versions, along with the standard French editions, all contain detailed synopses at the back, with page references, which should enable you to find the passages to which I will be directing you.

The wikipedia page contains a synopsis and also details the various translations of the titles – please familiarize yourself with this in order to avoid confusion.

29th March 2015