Proust at the Movies: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Proust at the Movies

1st Edition

By Martine Beugnet, Marion Schmid


282 pages

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Film established itself as an artistic form of expression at the same time that Proust started work on his masterpiece, A la recherche du temps perdu. If Proust apparently took little interest in what he described as a poor avatar of reductive, mimetic representation, the resonances between his own radical reworking of writing styles and the novelistic forms, and cinema as the art of time are undeniable. Proust at the Movies is the first study in English to consider these rich interconnections. Its introductory chapter charts the missed encounter between Proust and the cinema and addresses the problems inherent in adapting his novel to the screen. The following chapters examine the various cinematic responses to A la recherche du temps perdu attempted to date: Luchino Visconti and Joseph Losey's failed attempts at adapting the whole of the novel in the 1970s, Volker Schlöndorff's Un Amour de Swann (1984), Raoul Ruiz's Le Temps retrouvé (1999), Chantal Akerman's La Prisonnière in La Captive (2000), and Fabio Carpi's Quartetto Basileus (1982) and Le Intermittenze del cuore (2003). The last chapter tracks the echoes of Proust's writing in the work of various directors, from Abel Grace to Jean-Luc Godard. The approach is multidisciplinary, combining literary criticism with film theory and elements of philosophy of art. Special attention is given to the modernist legacy in literature and film with its distinctive aesthetic and narrative features. An outline of the history and recent evolution of contemporary art cinema thus emerges: a cinema where the themes at the heart of Proust's work - memory, time, perception - are ceaselessly explored.


'…[the authors'] analysis is both impressive and helpful. Anyone interested in Proust or in cinema adaptation will benefit from reading it.' Times Literary Supplement '… lucid and stimulating… Adopting a genuinely multi-disciplinary approach, it represents the first systematic exploration of this topic and consists of a series of self-contained but interconnecting chapters… the book's breadth of allusion and depth of analysis make it both rewarding and enjoyable to read. It should be of interest not only to specialists in Proust and Film Studies but also to undergraduates, especially if it is read selectively (as the authors explicitly encourage us to do).' Modern Language Review ’… most compelling… Beugnet and Schmid find a good balance in their multi-disciplinary approach, engaging intelligently with Proust's work and cinema while keeping their work accessible to newcomers… a fascinating discovery for Proustians and cinephiles alike… The excellent filmography and bibliography, however, will be very useful to researchers inspired to continue Beugnet and Schmid's worthwhile endeavor.’ H-France Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Proust and the cinema; Cinema as grand narrative: Visconti’s and Losey’s planned adaptations of A la recherche du temps perdu; Love demystified: Volker Schlöndorff’s Un Amour de Swann; Surrealist Proust: Raoul Ruiz’s Le Temps retrouvé; Filming obsession: Chantal Akerman’s La Captive; Beyond adaptation: Fabio Carpi’s Quartetto Basileus and Le Intermittenze del cuore; The modernist legacy; Conclusion; Filmography and bibliography; Index.

About the Authors

Martine Beugnet is Reader in Film Studies at the University of Edinburgh, UK. She is the author of Marginalité, sexualité, contrôle: cinéma français contemporain (2000) and Claire Denis (2004), as well as numerous articles on contemporary French cinema. Marion Schmid is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Edinburgh, UK. A specialist on Proust, she is the author of Processes of Literary Creation: Flaubert and Proust (1998) and of numerous articles and essays on European nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and culture.

About the Series

Studies in European Cultural Transition

Studies in European Cultural Transition
The European dimension of research in the humanities has come into sharp focus over recent years, producing scholarship which ranges across disciplines and national boundaries. Until now there has been no major channel for such work. This series aims to provide one, and to unite the fields of cultural studies and traditional scholarship. It will publish the most exciting new writing in areas such as European history and literature, art history, archaeology, language and translation studies, political, cultural and gay studies, music, psychology, sociology and philosophy. The emphasis will be explicitly European and interdisciplinary, concentrating attention on the relativity of cultural perspectives, with a particular interest in issues of cultural transition.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature