Philosophy 91 (4):541-557 (2016)

Robbie Kubala
University of Texas at Austin
One strand of recent philosophical attention to Marcel Proust's novel À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, exemplified by Martha Nussbaum and Rae Langton, claims that romantic love is depicted in the text as self-regarding and solipsistic. I aim to challenge this reading. First, I demonstrate that the text contains a different view, overlooked by these recent interpreters, according to which love is directed at the partially knowable reality of another. Second, I argue that a better explanation for Proust's narrator's ultimate renunciation of romantic love appeals not to his impossible epistemic standard for knowledge of another person, but to his demanding evaluative standard for the permanence of love. This interpretation takes into account the broader scope of the novel, connecting with its larger themes of lost time and the desire for stability, and is more charitable, connecting to familiar worries about transience and constancy in loving relationships.
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DOI 10.1017/s0031819116000267
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References found in this work BETA

Love as a Moral Emotion.J. David Velleman - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):338-374.
Love and Death.Dan Moller - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (6):301-316.
Fictions of the Soul.Martha Nussbaum - 1983 - Philosophy and Literature 7 (2):145-161.
Love and Solipsism.Rae Langton - 1997 - In Roger E. Lamb (ed.), Love Analyzed. Westview Press. pp. 123--52.

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