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Philosophy as Fiction
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INTRODUCTION: PHILOSOPHY AND FICTION (NOBODY'S MADELEINE) ; CODA: STYLE (PROUST'S SENTENCES)

About the Author

Joshua Landy is Associate Professor of French at Stanford University.

Reviews

"Landy's book delivers what has gone long and scandalously missing: a philosophical analysis of Proust's incomparable book that is muscular, concise, philosophically informed and sophisticated. . . . The book should for a long time be inescapable for anyone writing philosophically about Proust, and perhaps for anyone writing philosophically about imaginative literature, full stop. It is that good."-Philosophy and Literature "Landy's persuasive thesis is that the Recherche converges unwittingly with the philosophy of Nietzsche, whose prescription, 'In order to act we require the veil of illusion: such is Hamlet's doctrine,' Landy cross-refers to Proust with telling results."-Times Literary Supplement "An extraordinary book that allows literary and philosophical concerns to interact in a mutually enriching way, providing a promising new orientation for Proust studies-and for literary studies in general."-Poetics Today "This is a reading of Proust which is as 'voluptuous'. . . as it is accurate, penetrating, and richly satisfying."-Journal of European Studies "Incredibly erudite, yet written in a lively, clear, and witty style, Landy's book marks the debut of one of the most brilliant younger literary scholars in America today."-Thomas Pavel, University of Chicago "Landy's book is clear, concise with a fluent and witty style.... As an academic text it is supportive in our reading and provides even more guidance through works of criticism to date and sailing past references to Nietzsche, Plato, and Schopenhauer with ease."--Anna Howitt, Consciousness, Literature and the Arts "And this is constantly the reward for the reader of Landy: however familiar he/she is with Proust and the Proustian critical canon, Landy is able to re-illuminate Proustian thinking by carefully tracing its modulations and re-constructing its complexity.... This is a reading of Proust which is as 'voluptous'--its footnotes occupy almost a third of the book--as it is accurate, penetrating, and richly satisfying."--Clive Scott, Journal of European Studies "A useful, indeed a brilliant, introduction.... Joshua Landy successfully argues that reading Proust is a 'spiritual exercise'.... In the Coda, he supplies a sort of chocolate box of Proustian sentences, and the joy he takes in 'the exasperatingly engaging Proustian style' is contageous."--Tom D'Evelyn, Providence Journal "Landy's persuasive thesis is that the Recherche converges unwittingly with the philosophy of Nietzsche, whose prescription, 'In order to act we require the veil of illusion: such is Hamlet's doctrine', Landy cross-refers to Proust with telling results."--Times Literary Supplement "This extraordinarily intelligent study is the best available introduction to the work of Marcel Proust and provides, at the same time, a persuasive meditation on the links between literature and moral philosophy. Incredibly erudite, yet written in a lively, clear, and witty style, Landy's book marks the debut of one of the most brilliant younger literary scholars in America today."--Thomas Pavel, University of Chicago "This book is in many ways excellent. Indeed, much of it could serve as a general introduction to Proust. Landy's scholarship is comprehensive; his conceptions are never less than stimulating; he writes well and with enjoyable irony."--The European Legacy "At a time of increasing specialization in Proust studies, Joshua Landy has written a large, humane, deeply perceptive, and truly original book about the philosophical import of Proust's great novel. His thesis is simple: the novel's narrator, Marcel, is not Proust, and it is hence entirely misleading to assume that Marcel's judgments are the author's. On the contrary, Landy argues, the distinction between Marcel and his creator, when properly understood, lays out a coherent philosophical system, neither Platonic, Bergsonian, or Schopenhauerian, but Proust's very own. Landy's analyses of particular passages and images--Odette's face, Albertine's kimono--will delight Proustians even as they will show new readers why In Search of Lost Time is such a fascinating--and surprising--novel."--Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University "In his new book on Proust, Joshua Landy has worked out a detailed new view of the complex relationships between Marcel the character in the story, the narrator of the story, and Proust the author of it all. It is an interpretation that is not only original but true, and not only true, but important, a rare trifecta in literary criticism. It is especially important with respect to the issue of the relationship between the novel and philosophy, the philosophy espoused in it and the philosophy the novel manifests by existing in the form it does. This is an important, wonderful book."--Robert Pippin, University of Chicago "It is with great relief that I find myself unable to describe this book as judicious. Refreshingly, it goes out on a limb and takes risks in making the case for a (new) view of Proust as a 'philosophical' novelist. Its main claim--that Proust's novel is philosophically close to Nietzsche's 'perspectivism'--is presented with considerable panache, most notably in the way it explores this alleged parallelism not merely in terms of doctrine, but within the figurative and syntactic structures of Proust's literary prose. It is a book that will not only extend the terms of Proust studies but, more generally, also enliven the controversial debates about the frontiers between philosophy and literature."--Christopher Prendergast, University of Cambridge "Landy's book is clear, concise with a fluent and witty style.... As an academic text it is supportive in our reading and provides even more guidance through works of criticism to date and sailing past references to Nietzsche, Plato, and Schopenhauer with ease."--Anna Howitt, Consciousness, Literature and the Arts "And this is constantly the reward for the reader of Landy: however familiar he/she is with Proust and the Proustian critical canon, Landy is able to re-illuminate Proustian thinking by carefully tracing its modulations and re-constructing its complexity.... This is a reading of Proust which is as 'voluptous'--its footnotes occupy almost a third of the book--as it is accurate, penetrating, and richly satisfying."--Clive Scott, Journal of European Studies "A useful, indeed a brilliant, introduction.... Joshua Landy successfully argues that reading Proust is a 'spiritual exercise'.... In the Coda, he supplies a sort of chocolate box of Proustian sentences, and the joy he takes in 'the exasperatingly engaging Proustian style' is contageous."--Tom D'Evelyn, Providence Journal "Landy's persuasive thesis is that the Recherche converges unwittingly with the philosophy of Nietzsche, whose prescription, 'In order to act we require the veil of illusion: such is Hamlet's doctrine', Landy cross-refers to Proust with telling results."--Times Literary Supplement "This extraordinarily intelligent study is the best available introduction to the work of Marcel Proust and provides, at the same time, a persuasive meditation on the links between literature and moral philosophy. Incredibly erudite, yet written in a lively, clear, and witty style, Landy's book marks the debut of one of the most brilliant younger literary scholars in America today."--Thomas Pavel, University of Chicago "At a time of increasing specialization in Proust studies, Joshua Landy has written a large, humane, deeply perceptive, and truly original book about the philosophical import of Proust's great novel. His thesis is simple: the novel's narrator, Marcel, is not Proust, and it is hence entirely misleading to assume that Marcel's judgments are the author's. On the contrary, Landy argues, the distinction between Marcel and his creator, when properly understood, lays out a coherent philosophical system, neither Platonic, Bergsonian, or Schopenhauerian, but Proust's very own. Landy's analyses of particular passages and images--Odette's face, Albertine's kimono--will delight Proustians even as they will show new readers why In Search of Lost Time is such a fascinating--and surprising--novel."--Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University "In his new book on Proust, Joshua Landy has worked out a detailed new view of the complex relationships between Marcel the character in the story, the narrator of the story, and Proust the author of it all. It is an interpretation that is not only original but true, and not only true, but important, a rare trifecta in literary criticism. It is especially important with respect to the issue of the relationship between the novel and philosophy, the philosophy espoused in it and the philosophy the novel manifests by existing in the form it does. This is an important, wonderful book."--Robert Pippin, University of Chicago "This book is in many ways excellent. Indeed, much of it could serve as a general introduction to Proust. Landy's scholarship is comprehensive; his conceptions are never less than stimulating; he writes well and with enjoyable irony."--The European Legacy "It is with great relief that I find myself unable to describe this book as judicious. Refreshingly, it goes out on a limb and takes risks in making the case for a (new) view of Proust as a 'philosophical' novelist. Its main claim--that Proust's novel is philosophically close to Nietzsche's 'perspectivism'--is presented with considerable panache, most notably in the way it explores this alleged parallelism not merely in terms of doctrine, but within the figurative and syntactic structures of Proust's literary prose. It is a book that will not only extend the terms of Proust studies but, more generally, also enliven the controversial debates about the frontiers between philosophy and literature."--Christopher Prendergast, University of Cambridge "[A] considerable achievement."-European Journal of Philosophy "Exemplary study of selfhood and perspective truth in Proust, highly impressive work. Necessary reading for all those who have forgotten why Proust really merits our attention, as the consummate modern philosopher of the literary life."- roject Muse "Persuasive... An important contribution."-Svenska Dagbladet "A valuable guide."-Metapsychology "One of the best works of Proust criticism in the last quarter century."-tempsperdu.com

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