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Fishman, G.G. (1983). American Imago. XXXVI, 1979: Proust's "Combray": The Structure of Animistic Projection. Randolph Splitter. Pp. 154-177.. Psychoanal Q., 52:145.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XXXVI, 1979: Proust's "Combray": The Structure of Animistic Projection. Randolph Splitter. Pp. 154-177.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:145

American Imago. XXXVI, 1979: Proust's "Combray": The Structure of Animistic Projection. Randolph Splitter. Pp. 154-177.

George G. Fishman

Marcel Proust's attention to minute detail in The Remembrance of Things Past occurs for important reasons. Splitter presents some of his own ideas of what these are and uses the "Combray" section of Swann's Way as an illustration. He points out that Marcel's aliveness of being is irrevocably linked to his mother's goodnight kiss and whatever it might imply as a developmental metaphor. The experience between and beyond his contacts with her is comprised of a mixture of alienation and yearning. The major thesis is that Marcel struggles to transform all unfamiliar experience into something akin to his "desired other" in order to avoid despair. His potential for this "animistic projection" becomes a major mode of control. Its aim is to bridge not just separation, but separateness itself. In support of this thesis, Splitter calls our attention to the frequent reference to visual boundaries which dissolve and merge. However, satisfaction of desire is equally intolerable. Splitter cites guilt as the rebelling pole of Marcel's conflict. Whatever this counterforce may be, it is clear that Marcel must live in a tormented middle, limiting his excursions into both aloneness and reclaimed self-hood. The concept of animistic projection is subject to the fate of any idea that attempts to "capture" the Remembrance: it both assimilates and evades the ambiguities of Proust's art. Despite this implicit limitation, Splitter's analysis is quite valuable and carefully done.

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Article Citation

Fishman, G.G. (1983). American Imago. XXXVI, 1979. Psychoanal. Q., 52:145

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