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Bychowski, G. (1973). Marcel Proust and his Mother. Am. Imago, 30(1):8-25.

(1973). American Imago, 30(1):8-25

Marcel Proust and his Mother

Gustav Bychowski, M.D.

On the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Marcel Proust, France and the literary world at large have been reminded of this strange genius. New material assembled on this occasion offers valuable data to the psychoanalyst, fascinated by the seeming enigma of the artist.

These new data have rekindled my old love of Proust going back to his emergence on the literary scene. At that time, I published a short essay on Proust, as the poet of psychoanalysis. The echo it evoked, showed me the admiration Proust was enjoying among the cognoscenti all over the world. On another occasion, I mentioned Proust as a striking illustration of the struggle of the ego against the maternal introject.

Let me note first, how far Proust scholarship has advanced since my earlier communications:

On the basis of many documents and testimonies from contemporaries, in addition to many books and articles and, as the result of a long study, came two volumes by Harold Painter. It seemed that this dedicated and exhaustive work uttered the last word on Marcel Proust's personal drama.

However, a recent work by Maurice Bardeche, also a two-volume study, has come out with new revelations concerning not so much Proust's secret life and secret drama, as the intricacies of his creation. The author had the unique fortune, to avail himself of all the manuscripts of la Recherche, of all the famous cahiers, with their innumerable versions and corrections which have recently been donated by his heirs to the Bibliothèque Nationale.

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