Literary Precedents for Swann's Way

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Although Proust's novel was a new form of literature, analogous to James Joyce's "stream of consciousness/' he is a true product of his times. In the tradition of Baudelaire, whom, with Vigny, he considered the greatest poet of the nineteenth century, his work abounds in symbols and correspondences between the senses, and between objects and ideas. Endowed like Baudelaire with deeper powers of perceptiveness, he is able to express greater insights into the mysterious inner world of the spirit. There are also literary echoes of Mallarme and of Nerval, particularly in the role of dreams, which Nerval sees as a second life, and whose opening of Sylvie (1853) recalls the beginning of "Combray." The idea of a "roman-fleuve," popular at the turn of the century, recalls Balzac's Human Comedy (1895-1896, 1911), and the techniques of Balzac in portraying the individual and society are apparent in Proust. The...

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This section contains 176 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Swann's Way Study Guide
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Swann's Way from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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