On the Nation and Its Culture

Edward J. Hughes

in Proust, Class, and Nation

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199609864
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731761 | DOI:
On the Nation and Its Culture

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This chapter examines how Proust responds to the voices of nationalism, Germanophobia, laicity, and social progressivism, among others. Proust specifically considers how duty to the nation is to be discharged and where the perceived good cause leaves literature. In his journalism, correspondence, and A la recherche du temps perdu, Proust engages with contemporaries on a range of cultural and political issues: the Separation of the Churches and the State of 1905, the role of the writer in relation to national politics, the debate about national regeneration, and the claims of the Parti de l’Intelligence in the aftermath of the First World War. Just as he does not conceal his Narrator’s susceptibility to Germanophobia, Proust does not forgo partisan engagement himself. Yet he also identifies the paradigm whereby culture wars run their course and thereby points up what is ephemeral and subjective in the espousal of causes.

Keywords: Halévy; Barrès; nationalism; literature; Church and State; 1905; Germanophobia; politics

Chapter.  11011 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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