ENGL 378
Proust's "In Search of Lost Time" Spring 2024
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 378 / RLFR 378

Class Details

In this seminar we will study Marcel Proust’s novel-sequence In Search of Lost Time, widely regarded as one of the most transformative works of 20th-century fiction. The first-person narrative chronicling the life of a fictional figure bearing a close relationship to Proust himself spans several decades from the late 19th to the early 20th century, centering on French high society as it enters the modern world, shaped by historical events such as the Dreyfus Affair and the First World War. Proust’s exploration of the consciousness of the protagonist, an aspiring writer, has led readers to see him as a philosopher of aesthetics, of the psyche, of time and memory, and of the nature of desire. His narrative ranges from meditations on such subjects to social satire to absorbing and sometimes soap opera-like plots exploring upward and downward social mobility and a wide array of sexual entanglements, straight and queer. Through his fluent prose, Proust renders the vicissitudes of desire, loss, and joy, of betrayal and emotional intransigence, and tests the power of memory and the imagination to recapture the past. Because of the length of In Search of Lost Time, the emphasis of the course will be more on reading (about 7 to 7½ hours per week) and less on writing (four or five 1½-page journal entries and a final paper of 8-10 pages) than the average 300-level course; and approximately one-third of the sequence will be bracketed as optional reading.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 22
Expected: 16-18
Class#: 3806
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Regular class participation, several 2-page journal entries, and a final paper of 8-10 pages
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, a score of 5 on the AP English Lit exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: English, French, and Comparative Literature majors
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 378 Division I ENGL 378 Division I RLFR 378 Division I

Class Grid

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