Skip to main content

Proust, the Madeleine and Memory

  • Chapter

Abstract

When Proust’s narrator, Marcel, eats the crumbs of a madeleine dipped in lime blossom tea it triggers a process of remembering that brings his past to life. At first the narrator describes himself as being struck in a way that captures his attention. He is not sure what this sudden awareness means, but he conjectures that it was his tasting the madeleine soaked in tea that brought about this startling feeling. He tastes it again. The same feeling occurs. But when he tries a third time the feeling is diminished. After much effortful concentration, Marcel finally comes to realize why the tasting experience is so potent: it is anchored by a long-buried memory that is gradually brought to the surface of consciousness. At this point the narrator recalls his aunt Léonie bedroom, where on Sundays she would soak pieces of madeleine in her lime blossom tea. He remembers the old grey house in Combray, the gardens, the streets and the square of the small town. From this beginning comes the vast outpourings of Marcel’s memories of his past life.

Keywords

  • Olfactory Experience
  • Odour Memory
  • Tasting Experience
  • Ened Awareness
  • Flavour Experience

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1057/9781137520586_3
  • Chapter length: 4 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-1-137-52058-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. Proust, M. Swann’s Way. Trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff. In Remembrance of Things Past (London: Chatto & Windus, 1922), 52.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 2016 Barry C. Smith

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Smith, B.C. (2016). Proust, the Madeleine and Memory. In: Groes, S. (eds) Memory in the Twenty-First Century. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137520586_3

Download citation