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Head CasesJulia Kristeva on Philosophy and Art in Depressed Times$
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Elaine Miller

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166829

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166829.001.0001

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Sublimating Maman

Sublimating Maman

Experience, Time, and the Re-Erotization of Existence in Kristeva’s Reading of Marcel Proust

(p.121) 4 Sublimating Maman
Head Cases

Elaine P. Miller

Columbia University Press

This chapter considers Julia Kristeva's reading of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time in connection to the themes of melancholia and sublimation. Kristeva argues against the claim that in Proust's texts “recall without remainder is presumed,” saying that the modernity of Proust's temporality is that of “irreconcilable fragments of time that are pulling us in all directions more fervently and dramatically than before.” However, she credits Proust with the inauguration of a new, melancholic sense of modernity—the same impulse that gave rise to abstract expressionism in visual art. It is in this sense that the work of art is a sublimation; like the theory of the sublime in eighteenth and nineteenth century aesthetic theory, sublimation makes present what in principle is unpresentable.

Keywords:   Julia Kristeva, Marcel Proust, sublimation, In Search of Lost Time, abstract expressionism, visual art

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