The Simultaneity of the Past and Present in Marcel Proust's Combray

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Arts and Humanities | French and Francophone Language and Literature | French and Francophone Literature


Camilla Krone


In this project I looked at the concept of time as portrayed in Combray, the first section of the French novel A la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Time Lost) by Marcel Proust. I focused particularly on three aspects of the novel: the role of synesthesia in evoking memory, the role of the church of Combray as a physical symbol of the presence of history, and the role of the character Francoise as a living symbol of the traditional past of France. These three elements function to break down our preconceived notions of time as linear and introduce the idea of time as a fourth dimension, in which past and present exist simultaneously.