Photography and the ‘Jeu des clefs’: À la recherche du temps perdu in the light of Paul Nadar's portraits

Yacavone, Kathrin (2012) Photography and the ‘Jeu des clefs’: À la recherche du temps perdu in the light of Paul Nadar's portraits. Nottingham French Studies, 51 (3). pp. 248-260. ISSN 2047-7236

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The year 1978 saw the first exhibition of photographic portraits of Marcel Proust's family, friends and acquaintances taken by Paul Nadar, an event leading to renewed interest in the subject of À la recherche du temps perdu as a roman à clef. This article examines two interpretations of Proust's novel in the light of these images, as put forward by William Howard Adams and Roland Barthes. While Adams and Barthes both take George Painter's Proust biography as a starting point for their own readings of the photographs as ‘keys’ to the novel, they offer two contrasting perspectives on À la recherche: Adams emphasizes the transparent and positivistic connection between the author's life and work, whereas Barthes focuses on a more fluid, dialectical and productively ambiguous relation between the two. Both of these perspectives, but particularly Barthes's, it is argued, shed light on the novel's production and the broader, multi-faceted relations between photography, (auto)biography and literature.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This has been accepted for publication by Edinburgh University Press in Nottingham French Studies.
Keywords: Roland Barthes, biography, Paul Nadar, George Painter, Marcel Proust, photography, À la recherche du temps perdu, roman à clef
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies > Department of French and Francophone Studies
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Yacavone, Kathrin
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2017 10:58
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 16:34

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