Poetry as creative critique: Notes from the desert of After-Proust (on Anne Carson’s The Albertine Workout)
Contemporary French and Francophone Studies
Taylor and Francis
Reason for embargo
During Proust’s lifetime his work and character prompted emulation, pastiche and inspired writing both serious and playful. His way with words led his school-friends to coin the verb proustifier, communicating the verbosity and garrulous flattery that characterised even the teenage Proust. He fell out with his friend the diplomat and writer Paul Morand when the latter published his “Ode à Marcel Proust” in October 1919, which poked fun at Proust’s idiosyncrasies, his nocturnal behaviour and his penchant for exaggerating his poor health. In this article I will focus on a recent, contemporary poetic response to Proust and his novel, creative and critical just as Morand’s ode was, but coming from a markedly different perspective. Where Morand’s poem was a knowing work full of nods and winks for a quite specific “in-group”, Anne Carson’s The Albertine Workout is a text that is distant in time and place from the salons and rarefied enclosed spaces of Proust’s world; it responds to Proust and his writing resolutely from the outside, coming at him from a position alert to issues of agency, gender, sexuality, memory and the body, as these shape our reading experience of Proust’s novel and as they are woven into it.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis (Routledge) via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 20, pp. 648-656