Published September 1, 2022 | Version Journal article
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Art is All: Proust's Life Lessons Through Perception and Art

  • 1. California Lutheran University and Pepperdine University


Art Style | Art & Culture International Magazine


For Proust, why does error precede truth? In his In Search of Lost Time, Proust seems to paint his narrator’s errors in his search for truth. To understand In Search of Lost Time, one must unlock Proust’s formula or secret code. Scholars have explored Proust’s “optical illusions” with an emphasis on optics or as part of contemporary art movements. Our discussion examines what Proust called the “medley of impressions which we call vision,” or, in artistic terms, what impressionist painters sought to capture in an impression of a moment. By examining the narrator’s “aesthetic of a re-rooting in perspective” in In Search of Lost Time through Impressionism, I wish to clarify how Proust viewed art, in terms of its illusionary purpose within the novel, as well as the functionality of the novel’s featured paintings both symbolically and metaphorically, through a Structuralist examination of codes. Decoding a text, however, may not be as simple as just following established codes of interpretation: some authors attempt a direct subversion of codes, which Roland Barthes, in The Death of the Author, notes in the case of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time as Proust was visibly concerned with the task of inexorably blurring, by an extreme subtilization, the relationships in the novel. In other words, is the placement of works of art and the presence of these scenes intended to educate readers, in part, by showing how works of art are not to be read? The answer to this question is the subject of this essay, as I will attempt to identify Proust’s conscious intent in providing life lessons through art by his showing patterns of relations to art and story structure, thus revealing meaning in one of the most important and influential novels of the twentieth century: In Search of Lost Time.




Art Style, Art & Culture International Magazine is an open-access, biannual, and peer-reviewed online magazine that aims to bundle cultural diversity. All values of cultures are shown in their varieties of art. Beyond the importance of the medium, form, and context in which art takes its characteristics, art is considered the significance of socio-cultural, historical, and market influence.



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Journal article: 2596-1810 (ISSN)
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