Duval, Sophie. L'Ironie proustienne. La vision stereoscopique

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Author: Michael R. Finn
Date: Spring-Summer 2006
From: Nineteenth-Century French Studies(Vol. 34, Issue 3-4)
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Document Type: Book review
Length: 818 words
Lexile Measure: 1480L

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Duval, Sophie. L'Ironie proustienne. La vision stereoscopique. Paris: Honore Champion, 2004. Pp. 516. ISBN 2-7453-0963-3.

This impressive volume, the third in Champion's series Recherches proustiennes, directed by Annick Bouillaguet and Brian Rogers, is a systematic attempt to analyze the various levels on which irony operates in A la recherche du temps perdu and how those levels interact "stereoscopically." Its thoroughness, wide-ranging bibliography (which pays attention to Anglo-Saxon as well as French criticism, both on irony in general and on Proustian irony and humour) and readability will make it a useful reference work for proustiens, upper-level undergraduates and graduate students.

The work is divided into four parts. The first examines the brands of irony, wit and humour employed by certain characters and by various groups in the novel (the dilettante, the "mondain", etc.) to maintain a distance between themselves and lesser beings. The analysis of the part sadism plays in the irony of characters like Charlus, Francoise and the Narrator is important: "le schema de l'interaction ironique se superpose a celui de la cruaute proustienne et de son alliage de jouissance et de culpabilite" (34). The text also notes neatly that for the "celibataires de l'art" like Swann, it is wit and irony that serve...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A152432787