Mourning and Creativity in Proust

  • Anna Magdalena Elsner

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Anna Magdalena Elsner
    Pages 1-29
  3. Anna Magdalena Elsner
    Pages 31-86
  4. Anna Magdalena Elsner
    Pages 87-164
  5. Anna Magdalena Elsner
    Pages 165-216
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 217-249

About this book


This study explores Proust’s answers to some of the fundamental challenges of the inevitable human experience of mourning. Thinking mourning and creativity together allows for a fresh approach to the modernist novel at large, but also calls for a reassessment of the particular historical and social challenges faced by mourners at the beginning of the twentieth century. The book enables the reader to acknowledge loss and forgetting as an essential part of memory, and it proposes that this literary topos has seminal implications for an understanding of the ethics, aesthetics, and erotic in Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu. Drawing on the works of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida, Anna Magdalena Elsner develops an original theory of how mourning and creativity are linked by emphasizing that ethical dilemmas are central to an understanding of the novel’s final aesthetic apotheosis. This sheds new light on the enigmatic and versatile nature of mourning but also pays tribute to those fertile tensions and paradoxes that have made Proust’s novel captivating for readers since its publication. 


creativity ethics Europe fiction history of literature literature Marcel Proust medicine nineteenth century psychoanalysis psychology

Authors and affiliations

  • Anna Magdalena Elsner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of French / Centre for the Humanities and HealthKing’s College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information