Date of Award
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)
"Les Intermittences du coeur," a section of Sodom and Gomorrah in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, exposes the raw work of molirning that the Search spirals in on again and again. The section, in which the Narrator through the workings of involuntary memory confronts the stark reality of the loss of his grandmother, recapitulates in both substance and rhythm the counterpoint of many of the central forces of the Search: those of absence and presence, death and survival, isolation and contextualization, unification and fragmentation, dispersal and concentration, the boundaried self and the hazily boundaried consciousness. "Les Intermittences" sets a clearly expressed contrapuntal precedent for the rest of the novel, in the Narrator's intense experience of two contradictory states at once and in its tracing of emotional and intellectual lapses, inconstancies, alternations, and mutations. "Les Intermittences" becomes a focal point of motif and energy for the Narrator and his creator, offering us a possibly privileged, though not necessarily cleanly paradigmatic, glimpse at Proust's double-helix thematics.
Wiseman, Martha Graham, "Detours and Syncopations: in Search of Lost Time Through the Lens of "Les Intermittences du Coeur"" (2003). Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) Student Scholarship. 29.