In Search of Truth: Jealousy and the Violation of Privacy in Marcel Proust
Zhang, Cindy - Senior Thesis 2021.pdf (7.977Mb)
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Zhang, Cindy H.
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CitationZhang, Cindy H. 2021. In Search of Truth: Jealousy and the Violation of Privacy in Marcel Proust. Bachelor's thesis, Harvard College.
AbstractMarcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is, among many other things, a landmark study of jealousy. Proust depicts two sides to jealousy: The Proustian lover exemplifies the internal and imaginative, even aesthetic, side of jealousy, whereas those subjected to his jealousy show us the external manifestations and moral complexity of this powerful emotion. Though many scholars have studied jealousy in Proust, most have examined only the first of these two aspects of jealousy, focusing on the lover’s anguish or the interior root of jealousy. To fully understand the potential and significance of jealousy, however, we must look at both of these sides in conjunction. Using both close reading and computational methods, this thesis extends existing scholarship by examining the jealous mind’s proclivity for self-justification side by side with the violations of privacy caused by the jealous lover’s actions in the external world. Jealous intrusion into the lives of other people has been largely overlooked by scholars, yet it is an essential part of Proust’s novel. Indeed, from its very first occurrence, jealous intrusion is directly linked to both the novel’s overarching theme of the “search,” which turns out to be not so much a search for lost time as a search for truth and knowledge, and the narrator’s final transformation into an artist and writer capable of depicting fundamental human truths. This thesis shows that Proust’s conception of jealousy is more complex and nuanced than previously understood, capable of both inspiring the artist-narrator and engendering indefensible violations of privacy and deep moral harms.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368650
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