Proust Outdoors will surprise anyone familiar with Marcel Proust, a writer associated with the cork-lined bedroom, the aristocratic salon, the interiority of memory, and, more recently, the figurative closet. The narrator uses figures of interior space to express literature's ability to recapture the past. However, his depictions of great works and other characters' theories convey art's power to open new horizons of meaning in vast, wild spaces such as alpine wilderness, the eastern steppe, or stormy seas. This study focuses on the aesthetic stakes of these conflicting spaces. Moving between close rhetorical readings of passages where the opposing aesthetics are grafted together and general considerations of the book's overarching structure and critical reception, a Proust emerges whose postmodern exploration of the explosive signifier challenges the predominant reading of the novel as a high modernist celebration of artistic mastery.
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