Proust, Music, and Meaning

Theories and Practices of Listening in the Recherche

  • Joseph Acquisto

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature book series (PMEL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Joseph Acquisto
    Pages 1-22
  3. Joseph Acquisto
    Pages 23-50
  4. Joseph Acquisto
    Pages 51-72
  5. Joseph Acquisto
    Pages 73-116
  6. Joseph Acquisto
    Pages 117-166
  7. Joseph Acquisto
    Pages 167-192
  8. Joseph Acquisto
    Pages 193-206
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 207-215

About this book


This book is about reading Proust’s novel via philosophical and musicological approaches to “modern” listening. It articulates how insights into the way we listen to and understand classical music inform the creation of literary meaning. It asks: are we to take at face value the ideas about art that the novel contains, or are those part of the fiction? Is there a difference between what the novel says and what it does, and how can music provide a key to answering that question? According to this study, Proust asks us to temporalize our interpretation by recognizing the distance between initial and final experiences of the novel, and by being open to the ways in which it challenges attempts at interpretive closure. Proust’s novel responds to the kind of attentive and eternally changing perspectives that can be generated from music and our attempts to make sense of it.


Jean-Luc Nancy A la Recherche du Temps Perdu aurality aesthetics absolute music Beethoven In Search of Lost Time Vinteuil sonata Un Amour De Swann Philosophy Interpretation musicology

Authors and affiliations

  • Joseph Acquisto
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Vermont BurlingtonUSA

Bibliographic information