Notes on: Deleuze, G.  (2008) [1964] Proust and Signs.  Translated by Richard Howard, London: Continuum

Dave Harris

[I have read the mighty Proust novel, and summarized it here.  Since then, I have also read the early collection Against Sainte-Beuve.  However, I'm not going to refer back to any of these in any detail - apart from anything else, Deleuze refers to the three volume French edition, whereas I read the 12 volume translation.  Both of Deleuze's commentaries are included in this edition, although they are separated by eight years].

Chapter 1 The Types of Signs

The novel is not just about recalling items and exploring memory.  The search is more of a search for truth.  Lost time refers to time wasted, and memory is to assist in the investigation of this lost time.  The novel does not just discuss things that happen to have had a dramatic effect on memory such as the madeleine or the cobblestones.  Instead of just describing involuntary memory, Proust talks about undertaking the apprenticeship of a writer, using the raw materials provided by the descriptive matter.  The search is not a simple one, since the hero does not always know things but has to learn them, and he encounters illusion, disappointments as well as revelations.  The novel points to the future and not the past.

Learning involves managing signs, considering objects as if they were emitting signs, just as in Egyptology.  Professionals have to attend to the signs emitted by the materials with which they work.  The signs teach us something.  What the novel is about is exploring different worlds of signs that intersect.  Examples are the diplomatic code developed by Norpois, military codes in Saint-Loup, Cottard diagnosing medical symptoms [one example left out is Proust on the absurd and highly allusive language spoken by academics in the person of Professor Brichot].  Skill in decoding one set of signs does not guarantee wisdom in other areas.  The worlds of science are also kept separate, for example, as are the different sorts of Parisian salon or the different styles of speech by characters like Swann or de Charlus.  Worlds are plural, yet they will also lead to some unity.

A welter of signs is produced first of all in the worldly circles of Parisian life, and signs of appropriate behaviour have to be learned in salons.  Mistaken interpretation leads to embarrassment and exclusion.  This seems to operate without conscious thought.  All the characters are emitting deliberate signs, [posing, presenting selves].  The point is not to think but to act, but the whole system of signs shows the need to learn the forms, and pleasure awaits those who can master them.  Secondly, there is love.  De C and Jupien indicate their attraction to each other by exchanging extraordinary signs.  Individual characters emerge from groups, like Albertine from the group of girls, when we recognize their individual signs, and this is what is involved in falling in love - we see the soul expressed by the beloved.  Love is an effort to explicate the world that remains hidden in the loved one [by adding all sorts of other values to them: the characters have to work hard to fall in love!].  Women do not have to necessarily be familiar, 'our type'.  We can add values implied by landscapes, country walks, beaches.  There is contradiction here in that we know individuals best by linking them with other worlds, and the loved one belongs to other worlds all the time, inducing jealousy, for example: this is how love and jealousy are inextricably linked. Love looks as if it is purely subjective at first, and already there is this notion that the loved one is a proper subject, with access to worlds that they do not share with us. 

This makes the signs of love  different from worldliness, in that they are deeply significant, often deceptive, producing not only exaltation but suffering: they are lies.  In the case of Albertine, there is the secret world of Gomorrah [lesbianism], and this takes on the status of 'the feminine possibility par excellence' (7), one that clearly excludes male lovers, and that permits no possible competition from males.  This leads to a general point that the truth of love is homosexuality, with de C standing for male lovers as such.  Proust goes on to talk about the hermaphrodite qualities that separate the sexes originally, but that this separation is covered by heterosexual love [he says some really interesting things about homosexuals making the best husbands except that they have to cover their homosexuality by chasing women all the time].  The signs of homosexuality are particularly dense and intense [it is all a matter of glances or postures]

There are signs of impressions or qualities, and these are particularly interesting because they often exhibit quite different appearances which require to be deciphered.  Qualities are partly concealed by objects, and we have to particularly work to decipher them.  This is how the spectacular jogs to the memory like the madeleine actually work.  The first sign that we're on to something is joy, then we need to make an effort to recapture meaning, then the meaning appears—the madeleine invokes Combray etc [the example of the cobblestones quite late in the story makes the sequence particularly clear].  This is not just a simple association of ideas, however, and an essence or quality emerges.  Simple associations lead to disappointment, as does failure to grasp the essence.  The problem is that signs are not adequate, but not empty and arbitrary either.  Nor are we driven on by suffering.  They are still material signs in the sense that they initially make us think of material objects like towns.  It is a further problem to ask why these particular images also produce joy, and Proust waits until the end to discuss the essences [I thought it was quite like Husserl or Schutz on the through-and-through-interconnectedness of subjective time, but not as systematic].  By this time, Proust has realized that art is required to decipher essences, to partially dematerialize [an early version of deterritorialize?] these signs.  Once he takes an artistic stance, everything makes sense, signs are integrated, aesthetic meanings are added, and we see that essences were implicit all along.  Overall then it is an apprenticeship in art.  Of all the types of signs discussed, art is the key to transform them.

Chapter 2 Signs and Truth

Proust searches for truth, and realizes that it has got something to do with time.  Truth is far more important than pleasure, except when it accompanies the discovery of the truth.  Proust thinks that humans desire the truth and have a will towards it, but that this develops only in concrete situations when we 'undergo a kind of violence that impels us to such a search' (11).  Philosophers tend to think that we just have a natural love of truth to be found in benevolent abstractions, fuelled by our intelligence and logical grasp, with no requirement to be authentic or to solve a dispute.  Philosophical truths deployed conventional signification, but Proust rejects this stance [particularly explicitly in the very first sentence is in Against Sainte Beuve].  We never get to profound or authentic meanings that way.

Instead we rely on a combination of constraint and chance.  Chance encounters force us to think and seek the truth.  The more fortuitous they are, the greater their authenticity, like stumbling on the cobblestones.  He describes himself as being forced to restore meaning.  However, there are different sorts of truths to be deciphered, for example some are lost in time and some can be regained.  There is also a passing time and wasted time.  Time regained seems to be particularly absolute and original, something eternal expressed in art. 

Different sorts of sign refer to different sorts of time.  Some indicate that time annihilates some meaning, some show the affects of time itself, as in the aging faces at the end of the novel.  This particularly affects worldly signs which alter and change, and Proust gets to see that the world is always itself a matter of change, an effect of lost time.  This notion of time is not the same as Bergson on duration (13) but is 'a defection, or race to the grave'.  The signs of love also anticipate change, because love always 'acts out its dissolution', even subsequent loves repeat to some extent earlier ones.  Dissolution appears in jealousy, a kind of anticipated and painful end of love.  Sensuous signs can also indicate change and disappearance, as when the madeleine reminds us of time lost, or we get painful memories.  But sensuous signs are ambivalent and can also produce joy.  Initially joyful recollections can also produce regret.  It is because memory itself offers a contradiction - something survives and something has also returned to nothingness.

Generally, all the signs so far often lead to disappointment, because they are not profound enough.  That includes the women.  Proust and the other [men] make greater efforts to add profundity, but this only leads to truths of the intelligence, which are not necessary, but remain optional, express only abstract possibilities.  We have to turn to necessity induced by the sign itself.  And limited persons [women in the original, 15] compensated by emitting signs, but this is never adequately managed and can sometimes betray lies.  There is an intoxication with the proliferation of signs, with intellectuals who can proliferate them.  These have to be dealt with in our apprenticeship, even if it is a waste of time.  After all, 'we never know how someone learns' (15), but it is always by pursuing signs, even if this is a waste of time.  Unpredictable results emerge, rather than from more systematic attempts to work through dictionaries, say.  Similarly 'we never learn by doing like someone, but by doing with someone, who bears no resemblance to what we are learning'.  Talent, say in actual writing is also unpredictable, and cannot be guaranteed by things like academic education.

However, this sort of waste of time is insufficient.  It is really a problem with the way intelligence works, by goodwill and application, lacking necessity.  Intelligence is useful after initial insight,  and helps writers experiment.  But 'we must first experience the violent effect of a sign, and the mind must be "forced" to seek the sign's meaning' (16).  Then intelligence can extract truth.

Who else would bother with frivolous worldly signs or the painful business of interpreting the signs of the loved one.  'Who would seek the truth if he had not first suffered the agonies inflicted by the beloved's lies?''Pain forces the intelligence to seek', although pleasures can also arise to set memory in motion.  We have to grasp in particular that worldliness and love 'refer to repetitions'.  Then we can understand signs as incarnations of themes, discover 'worldly laws'.  This discovery itself can transfer pain into joy [when the hero knows that he will love again, OR when he distances, comforts and reassures himself with the Bourdieuvian high aesthetic in my reading].  The chain of love affairs produces 'joyous spectacle of intelligence', and we get to see that we have not just wasted time, but served some kind of apprenticeship.

Worldly signs implied time wasted, the signs of love a time lost.  The sensuous signs help us regain time, but only the signs of art provide a time regained fully, something original and absolute 'that includes all the others'(17).  These dimensions overlap because signs are mixed, and sequences of different sorts of time can connect, especially in art which finds the truth implicit in all the others.  The lines of apprenticeship interfere with each other.  Truth emerges from complex combinations.

Chapter 3 Apprenticeship

The work aims at the future, not the past, at the process of learning to gain ultimate revelation.  Many disappointments and illusions are encountered on the way.  Progress in deciphering some signs is countered by regression in others.  Motivation is a problem.  All this only makes sense if we grasp 'the fundamental idea that time forms different series and contains more dimensions than space' (18).

Understanding all this is a gift [I can imagine Bourdieu on this!], But we have to arrange encounters and to challenge our existing 'stock notions'.  One of these is that objects are important not signs.  To get there, we must overcome all our normal perceptions, passions and intelligence, Proust tells us.  This is objectivism, and it is natural or habitual.  However, the sign appears disguised in the object.  Signs designate objects but also signify something different [they denote and connote in other terms].  We experience objects directly and this can give us pleasure, but this involves a sacrifice of truth.  'We recognize things, but we never know them' (19).  Encounters with objects or people look simple, and we are content with recognition or the admiration it leads to.

The hero explorers the possibilities by returning to objects such as cups of tea or people, working on assumed meanings, say of the Duchesse of Guermantes before he has met her.  He initially assumes that signs are transparent, and understood by those who emit them.  He treats his first loves as unique objects, leaving him only with 'avowal'.  Love seems to be an objective [external] force as well.  Art is a matter of representing objects, through the senses.  Objectivism like this arises from a 'complex of tendencies' (20).  It seems a natural consequence of perception and representation, but it is also the focus of voluntary memory 'which recalls things and not signs'.  Intelligence also tends towards objectivity, objective content or objective significations.  Perception naturally tends towards apprehending the significations, supposing reality can be seen or observed, while 'intelligence supposes that truth is to be spoken, formulated'.  The hero thinks initially the truth needs to be spoken, contained in words, and this leads him to initially ignore all sorts of other signs.  Intelligence also 'impels us to conversation, in which we exchange and communicate ideas.  It incite us to friendship...  It invites us to philosophy, of voluntary and premeditated exercise of thought' devoted to the grasp of objective significations.  Proust sees that friends tend to develop [group minds].  Philosophers presuppose benevolent thought as the love of truth, and that truth is 'the explicit determination of what is naturally worked out by thought'.  [foreshadows his later objections to conversations with other philosophers in  Dialogues]. Instead, we need to develop the relationship between love and art: love is rich in signs and requires silent interpretation, and is 'more profound' than philosophy.  Violence is more constructive than good will and conscious work, and 'more important than thought is "what is food for thought"' (21).  Carefully worked out consensual intellectual truths end with banality, as indicated in the hero's discussion of actresses.

The hero assumes all these objectivist beliefs at the start, and finds it hard to shrug them off.  However, he is not particularly interested in friendship or in community [he does like living with Saint-Loup and the other officers for a while, though].  He finds 'superior men teach him nothing'.  Even a brief love affair is as valuable.  But in love, he finds objectivism is stubborn, and he has to learn that the emergence of love for Albertine is almost accidental, and does not even really refer to her specifically, but to 'ghosts, to Third Parties, to Themes that are incarnated in himself'. Objectivism is stubborn, however, and even persists in art, which seems to be about working with actual objects, analyzing them to get to the truth.

However, the defects of objectivism also appear, including in his critique of Sainte-Beuve and his revelations developed from his  causerie [chats, almost a kind of early blog], where truth arises from esoteric conversations with people, or exotic truths are discovered, [it is biographical details for authors].  This only ends with 'intelligible values, well defined significations, major subjects'[and often reproduces stereotyped or trivial views of other authors].  The Verdurins offer a parody of this method, reporting the surface of what is spoken, while missing the less obvious - that Cottard is actually quite stupid, or Mme Verdurin herself grotesque [I don't know if I had picked this up - she's certainly a laughable poser].  Proletarian art also 'takes the workers for fools'.  If literature just observes and describes the obvious, it is disappointing, and it is no good flirting with 'pseudo - objective guarantees of evidence and communication' (22).  Hero is not entirely sure about this, though because it might reflect only his incapacities to observe and describe, with disappointment produced by his own incapacities, so he is always hoping to gain 'gifts of observation', but only as a consolation.

Disappointment is fundamental to apprenticeship, and it is 'pluralist'.  It often arises on first encounter, even with the music of Venteuil, nor does this disappear with repetition.  The first solution to it is when hero 'attempts to find a subjective compensation' (23), through 'a series of subjective associations' (24).  [Swann does this a lot trying to talk up Odette].  Discussion of the theatre shows the mechanism, with the performances of Berma—hero tries really hard to find particular intonations, for example.  All this still depends on intelligent work, however.  The clue to a deeper understanding begins with Bergotte showing how the gestures of Berma recall Greek statues.  This swing from objectivism to subjectivist understandings is frequent, but it is still inadequate.  The trouble is that 'everything is permitted in the exercise of associations', so there are no higher pleasures, say between a work of art and a madeleine.  This is the error of Swann who continually associates paintings with real people.  Associations also remain entirely personal, stored in 'our own private museum' (25).

Berma finally reveals the existence of something else: the actress unites with a role, which is neither objective or subjective, but more akin to the occupation of 'a world, a spiritual milieu populated by essences'.  These essences lie beyond association and are neither 'alogical or supralogical'. Subjectivity is transcended and so is the empirical object.  The sign expresses essences which give it its meaning.  Hero goes on to see this as a function of all art, painting, music, and literature.  The three kinds of signs are incapable of generating this notion of essence on their own, and only art can reveal it.  Once revealed, they help us see that essences have been incarnated, from elements that were already there in the earlier kinds of signs.

Chapter 4 Essences and the Signs of Art

The signs of arts are superior, because the others are still tied to the material, 'half sheathed in the object bearing them' (26).  Art can be analyzed materially, as with the musical structure of the Vinteuil phrase,, but the material keyboard is but 'the spatial image of an entirely different keyboard'[Proust gets quite Deleuzian here in thinking of all the possible combinations of notes of which the particular phrase is but one actualization].  The same goes with Berma's physical gestures and voice.

These material signs are also 'explicated'[the forerunner of differenCiated?], as they are associated with other signs and impressions: they retain their material existence as separate, although some are already more developed through imagination rather than memory.  Only art 'gives us the true unity: unity of an immaterial sign and of an entirely spiritual meaning' (27), the essence or Idea.

We are told that essence involves difference, that it is the 'absolute and ultimate Difference'[this is introduced simply enough by Proust when he says that the true act of the artist is to unite things that look as if they are completely different to the ordinary gaze: only then can we get to see what it is that unifies them beneath the surface as it were].  'Difference is what constitutes being, what makes us conceive being', and this search for difference is not provided by a mixed social life or from travel, because it does not exist empirically.  Proust tells us the essence is something found in a subject, some sort of 'final quality at the heart of the subject', a qualitative difference.  Deleuze sees this as 'Leibnizian: the essence is a veritable monad each defined by the viewpoint to which it expresses the world', and each monad clearly has a different viewpoint.  'this is why friendship never establishes anything but false communications, based on misunderstandings, and frames only false windows' (28) and it is why love must renounce communication, accepted a spiritual level [this apparently explains the occasional reference to multiple selves in Proust as well. More Leibniz?  Deleuze reads it as another argument for the fundamental importance of difference as absolute]. 

So is essence always subjective [I read the last volume as arguing that, or at least as transcendentally subjective].  Proust also seems to develop a platonic notion, however, with essences as an independent reality which artists only reveal.  For Deleuze, this is to be read in Leibniz's terms again, as indicating, the independence of Being, only parts of which are revealed to the subject.  It is possible to agree on some standardized limits shared by different viewpoints, but this is only 'the disappointing projection'[presumably also the one studied by empirical sciences including social sciences].  So essences are not psychological states, and nor transcendentally subjective, but of a different order altogether, and one that 'implicates, envelops, wraps itself up in the subject...  constitutes subjectivity...  individualises' (28-29).  This independence also explains why souls are immortal for Proust, while in the secular world, essences imprison themselves.  This explains Proust's view that art conveys immortality, specifically illustrated in the regrets that the dying Bergotte expresses when he wishes he had devoted his life to art [in effect].

The implication is that we can move from essence to 'the World in general' (29, the secret of nature as a series of unstable oppositions, and responsible for time itself.  There is ordinary empirical time, but we are interested here in time as 'separate series in which it is distributed according to different rhythms'.  This notion was identified as 'complication' which precedes explication, something which 'affirms the unity of the multiple' (30) [the view attributed to 'certain neoplatonists', 29].  Time itself was complicated, uniting contraries in unstable opposition, and the universe was expressed according to these different sorts of complications which turned into 'an order of descending explications'. 

Thus de C is certainly complicated in the full sense, and it is this that gives him his 'freshness' and novelty, and that requires continuous deciphering or explication [used in a personal sense here].  However, the best illustration is not found in characters but in sleep and dreaming [Proust argues that waking up is always disappointing again].  Art can also reveal this complication, and this is 'the true sense of the expression "time regained"'.  It is not like recapturing associations through memory.  Art 'appeals to pure thought', not memory.  Only the signs of art point to 'a primordial complication, a veritable eternity, an absolute original time'.

Art communicates this essence by using particularly 'ductile' substances (31) - colour, sound, or words - which together 'form [or express] a spiritualised substance' which reacts back on those substances and arranges them.  It is not words or colours that are important, but rather 'the unconscious themes, the involuntary archetypes' which transmute the particular material substances being used.  'This treatment of substance is indissociable from "style"'. Essence emerges when two different objects are shown to have the same quality in the particular medium being used, and this is what style does [Deleuze then quotes the actual bit in Proust about taking two different objects and working out their relations].  This means that 'style is essentially metaphor', but it is a metaphor that changes objects, exchanging qualities, sometimes even names.  In paintings by Elstir, sea becomes land, in Vinteuil, motifs struggle against each other.  Style develops the birth of a new essence, one which changes empirical objects.  'Style is not the man, style is essence itself' (32) [just in time to avoid any lingering support for the subject].

Essence individualizes and 'determines the substances in which it is incarnated', explaining how the little phrase fits inside the sonata, or how the themes come together in Wagner.  However, when essence diversifies itself, it reveals a certain repetition [it keeps appearing in different forms?].  Art can only be repeated, replayed or reread 'because it is irreplaceable and because nothing can be substituted for it'.  In this way, 'Difference and repetition are only apparently in opposition'[there is also a hint that the same themes appear in different specific works of art].

Indeed difference can be affirmed only through repetition [actually 'autorepetition'] across different media and in different objects.  It is this sort of repetition that accounts for diversity.  For that reason, 'difference and repetition are the two inseparable and correlative powers of essence'[definitely illustrated with artists who repeat themes in this case, sometimes producing  'repetitions that have become mechanical because they are external', which can account for the relative lack of innovation in later works—essence tends to be reproduced 'only on the lowest level, to the weakest degree'].

And so art is unique in that it spiritualizes or dematerializes substances.  Its signs are fully immaterial and fully developed.  They express essences.  Essence and material are united, producing the sign as style.  It requires an apprenticeship, avoiding both objectivist and subjectivist temptations.  'This is why art is the finality of the world' (33).  So is the value of all the other signs just that they direct us to art, and what implications follow for them once we have developed art?  How is essence incarnated not just in immaterial signs but in other realms, in ways that are more opaque and material,a 'descent of essence into these increasingly rebellious substances'.  We need to discuss the 'laws of the transformation of essence in relation to the determinations of life'.

Chapter 5 The Secondary Role of Memory

The worldly signs are interpreted by intelligence, which functions in that context.  Intelligence also deploys the resources of memory, but in a voluntary way, and Proust shows that it is impossible to record everything [in order to check all of Albertine's lies].  Here, the operation of memory 'comes too late' (34), showing its limits.  By contrast, involuntary memory intervenes with sensuous signs that force a search for meaning [as with the cobblestones].  However, this is still not systematic, providing for example two types of sign in the reminiscence and in the discovery, with an example of the second one being the involuntary desires that creep up on us rather by surprise if we see an attractive woman.  We are not sure if we can trust our memories to distinguish between imagination and reality.  Sensuous signs are particularly opaque, and often contradictory, as with the remark about memory of a dead person showing both survival and nothingness.  However they provide the beginning for art, more so than the worldly signs or the signs of love.  They often not so much components for art but 'conducting elements' (36), leading to comprehension, working as metaphors and eventually as 'reminiscences of art'.  At least they put us on the right lines to establish relations between different objects, to establish a non contingent relation, but they still tie art to life too closely.  Proper art depends on 'pure thought as a faculty of essences'.

Reminiscence appears first as a mere association where the present and the past resemble each other, although often there is no simple resemblance [women resemble each other, but madeleines do not resemble towns].  Later we find a deeper connection, a notion of a whole.  This deeper meaning is revealed first of all by the joy that we feel as a result of certain reminiscences, one which is 'so powerful that it suffices to make us indifferent to death' (36-37).  Things reappear in consciousness with a particular 'splendour'  or truth.  We still need to discover how this actually works, however.  With voluntary memory, the present shapes the memory of the past rather than apprehending it directly, 'it recomposes it with different presents' (37), proceeding by snapshots.  What is lost is 'the past's being as past'[Barthes and Rancière would want to see quite a different potential in actual snapshots].  With involuntary memory, we are constituting the past from the position of the present, which implies we can only understand the present once it is past: the proper past coexists [there is a 'virtual coexistence'], and it is only conscious perception and voluntary memory that impose a succession.  Proust, like Bergson says we must place ourselves directly in the past itself, as a coherent entity.  However, Proust wants to go further than Bergson, to save the past [for art at least].

In involuntary memory we see identical qualities for two sensations, one present one past, which implies a certain 'volume of duration that extends' (38) these qualities.  However, the relation between them is still based on difference, which we need to grasp adequately: ordinary perception notes the differences between cakes and towns, but sees the relation as just contingent.  Involuntary memory 'internalizes the context'(39) and transcends the contingent, producing 'a more profound difference'.  We go beyond resemblance or identity to reach 'internalized difference, which becomes immanent'.  This is how resemblance offers an 'analogue of art', and involuntary memory offers 'the analogue of a metaphor'.  Once established, the past takes on a new form, and no longer just relative to the present, something that could not be experienced directly, but which offers truth rather than [simple] reality.  We can therefore detect the past itself, deeper than any empirical past.  We get to the '"Real without being present, ideal without being abstract"'.

It is a matter of 'envelopment or involution'(40), like art, but still not fully realized.  Artistic essences are capable of individualizing, the 'quality of the singular viewpoint', while involuntary memory may be localised, but it still connects two moments.  Artistic essences focus more on the quality, and are not 'alienated'[dominated by any external purpose or any empirical characteristics?  Without contingency is how Deleuze puts it].  In art, we also have an original time, not just a conventional series and dimensions of ordinary time.  It is a complication, 'identical to eternity'.  It is this time that is regained.  Involuntary memory helps us recapture lost time, in a process of envelopment, which presents an image of original time, but in a brief and limited way, in a quick image [for fear of producing bewilderment and uncertainty].  Reminiscence lasts longer, but it is still ambiguous and tied to the present.  Both these operations can point to the pure past, however.  [involuntary memory also gives us a sense of multiple selfhood, but this is still 'inferior to the Self of art' as far as essences are concerned].

So essences are indeed incarnated in involuntary memory, but they have to mix with substances that are still not fully spiritualised or dematerialized.  These elements still determine what appears as essences', and this gives a role to experience, association, subjectivism and contingency [there also seems to be a hint that sciences like physics and psychology can be brought to bear in a way which strengthens mere associations, 41, and that these lead to objectivism as well].  Subjectivism is the real problem though, and that's why reminiscences don't go far enough - 'essence itself is no longer master of its own incarnation'. 

We are still dominated by life rather than art, including conscious perceptions and voluntary memories.  This can help us to begin the process of interpretation but only 'of certain signs at privileged moments' (42). Sensuous signs provide us with fewer clues than 'signs of desire, of imagination or dreams' that escape contingency and contiguity, but even these can only prepare us for art and its revelations.  Art does not just explore involuntary memory.  'To learn is to remember; but to remember is nothing more than to learn, to have a presentiment'.  We must pass through the stages of an apprenticeship to reach art, and if we do not 'we shall remain incapable of understanding essence and even of understanding that it was already there within involuntary memory or within the joy of the sensuous sign'.  We will never be able to properly examine causes [sic - in the sense of necessary reason?].  Once we have finished our apprenticeship we can reintegrate all the other processes, as a series of 'successive realizations' of essence.

Chapter 6 Series and Group

Difference and repetition appear in essences and in the subjects experiencing them.  Essences appear unclearly in the signs because they have a general form: Proust discusses this in terms of things like discovering the laws of love.  However, 'An original difference presides over our loves' (43), or possibly related to the image of the mother or the father, but also appearing as an image beyond experience, an archetype.  It is rich enough to be diversified and repeated, taking different forms even in the same individual.  Love helps us both reminisce and discover, and 'memory and imagination relieve and correct each other'.  Successive loves offer differences, but we also see how these are 'contained in a primordial image' (44).

Love is particular but its image remains unconscious, a discrepancy which is revealed by repetition and the inadequacy of our consciousness to grasp it.  We can misunderstand experience as something always new,  disattending to repetition.  However, repetitions display a series 'in which each term adds its minor difference'.  We see similarities, but also contrasts, because we must 'take into account a difference accumulated within the subject'.  Eventually, this converges on a law, but for subjects, this tends to appear fully only after a series of loves, another indication of an apprenticeship.

There is a series of successive loves, but also a serial form of each one, because the loved one is complex and diverse.  We undergo a process of falling in love, in Proust's case punctuated by bouts of jealousy.  With Albertine, he begins with 'undifferentiated perception', Albertine as one of the group of girls, discovers more about Albertine, especially when she's dead and no longer interests him, and then finally imagines what she would be like if she were still alive [as a kind of resolution of his thoughts].  This series also has the effect of transcending experience and revealing 'the transubjective reality'(45), for example when it is linked to the stories of the loves of others such as Swann.  Swann is crucial in gaining access to the processes for the hero.  There is also the infantile love for the mother, already modified by Swann's visits [well--on one occasion anyway, early in the book] : this also offers a hint of a later anguish that the loved one gains pleasure elsewhere: the hero's infantile grasp of this means that the love for the mother is not a simple origin, and enables a generalization, ultimately to 'all humanity'.

The general and specific series of loves are implicated in each other, suggesting ultimately indices and laws.  Imagination and memory only go so far to help us here, relating mostly to particular loves, to 'gather up' signs (46), rather than interpreting them.  Specific loves are also forgotten, but they do help to develop overall sensibility.  Intelligence, supported by sensibility, eventually becomes more important than memory and imagination.  This is not to say that it is abstract truths which are being pursued, for sensibility restricts intelligence here, especially that which arises from the pains of love and its ambiguity.  These force the intelligence to seek meanings [NB - not the art itself].  This takes the form of discovering laws, essences.  [The argument gets close to the idea of induction here, although we are working with essential laws not empirical ones].  Discovery produces joy out of suffering and despair, and this also gets repeated [Deleuze puts this as 'the phenomenon of repetition forms a general joy' (47)].  We realize that suffering can be transcended, and arose from particular tricks or deceptions [misrecognitions, one might say].  There is even a comic element despite the tragic aspects of repeated suffering: 'the humour of the Idea is to manifest itself in despair'.  More mundanely, ideas can compensate for sorrows in Proustian terms.  Intelligence produces joy as it discovers the general and reveals what was unconscious, in the case of Proust that includes the contributions the subject makes to the series which love follows [rendered in the form of a dramaturgical model].

The serial quality of love reveals general form, and difference which leads to essence.  In love, this becomes unconscious, and gets incarnated only if  'extrinsic conditions and subjective contingencies' (48) permit, especially with sensuous signs.  Swann's tragedy is that he never develops this insight, partly from a different set of 'accidents of subjective relations'.  Again subjectivism has to be rejected, although it seems plausible.  Contingency shows best the external factors, seen in the failed encounter with Mlle de Stermaria [a lady of easy virtue recommended for a quick one by Saint-Loup.  The hero sets everything up, but she calls it off at the last minute, having met someone else.  He is reduced to tears of frustration].  The somewhat contingent selection of Albertine from all the candidates in the little group is another example: things might have been so different had the hero pursued another one, and he remains aware that it might easily have been Andrée [and even tries her out for a bit after Albertine dies].  This is an example showing that groups and series can be complementary.

Essences are manifested first as general laws - of deception for example, which is integral to love, and  which produces 'a veritable "physics" of deception'(50).  This also shows us the deceptive nature of details which can easily belong to other systems.  Details can also accumulate to such an extent that lies are revealed, but the liar themselves can be unaware of this, and incapable of managing it anyway due to the limits of memory.  Love seems to involve a necessary series of lies, and also necessary constraint of the loved one [wives are captives].  Women have to manage their secrets, including their attachment to Gomorrah [and men their attachment to Sodom].

Much is revealed by the discovery of these homosexual series.  Proust explains [and rationalizes and forgives] male homosexuality in the strange metaphor of vegetation and how it reproduces, or how hermaphrodites are found in nature.  This reveals 'the essence of love' (51), where an initial hermaphroditism produces the series of different sexes, with the inevitable hint of ambiguity [as in the extraordinary descriptions of womanly men who like manly women].  Homosexuality also makes deception essential, and is thus 'the truth of love'.  Hence the way in which love continually engenders 'signs that are those of Sodom and Gomorrah'.

There are two kinds of generality - the law of the series, or the character of the group.  The hero first notes the characteristics of the group of girls, and members of sexual minorities also emit collective signs, known only to them, and which produce solidarity.  Nevertheless, 'the true generality of love is serial' (52).  Worldly signs are 'immediately incarnated in societies', and display only a group generality, the lowest sign of essence.  We might be able to uncover 'social, historical and political forces' among worldly signs, but they are 'emitted in a void'.  We study them through telescopes rather than microscopes, by examining 'major generalities'.  We see the operation of social laws best  with 'stupid beings' [Proust not Deleuze] who express them involuntarily.  Great individuals and singular geniuses, like de C [!] are rejected  by these beings.  Mechanical laws also permit a substantial convenient forgetting, the power of which is revealed by the Dreyfus case.  Deleuze also notes the connection with Lenin on how the old prejudices are rapidly replaced by even more poisonous new ones.

Worldly signs display 'vacuity, stupidity, forgetfulness', and are useful only in making apprenticeship necessary.  The inadequacies of studies of the worldly 'excite the intelligence, in order to be interpreted' (53).  We can start with grasping the qualities of groups, before investigating their unconscious content.  Participating in social life helps us see 'the immediate influence of milieux that are simply physical and real'.  Interpretation needs to reconstruct these groups according to 'the mental families to which they are attached' [hence Proust bleating on about the Guermantes and their cultural traditions of spikiness etc.  Deleuze takes the example of the peculiar speech of the group, which resembles that of the petty bourgeoisie, the true class to which they belong].

Chapter 7 Pluralism in the System of Signs

The system of signs is pluralistic, involving many characteristics which can be classified in different ways.  For an apprentice, the issue is to see the extent to which a sign prepares us for final revelation.  For the mature thinker who has experienced revelation, in Art, we have to put each sign in its place and find its ultimate meaning.  Seven criteria [for the final adequacy of the sign?] ensue.

First, signs are embodied in substances which are more or less opaque and dematerialized, with worldly signs as the most material.  Only art finally dematerializes signs

Second, different signs run different risks of being interpreted objectively or subjectively, since signs refer to both objects and subjects.  In love, we must pay homage to the object, avow it. Early attempts to place objective values on the signs lead to disappointment and a reversion to subjective associations.  Different signs show these patterns in different ways.

Third, signs produce emotions including exaltation in suffering and anguish, and finally joy.  Joy takes its purest form in art.

Fourth, worldly signs are 'empty' (55), seemingly requiring no attempt to find meaning, action or thought.  The signs of love are deceptive and require a grasp of their contradictions.  Sensuous signs are truthful but their meaning is still material [somehow subsisting in 'the opposition of survival and nothingness'].  Only in art does the relation between sign and meaning become closer so that we end with 'the splendid final unity of an immaterial sign and a spiritual meaning'.

Fifth, intelligence explicate or interprets the sign sufficiently in the case of worldly signs.  In signs of love it must be supported by suffering and eventual exaltation.  For the sensuous signs, involuntary memory and imagination 'generated by desire' is required.  In art, pure thought develops essences in order to act as interpreter.

Sixth, different forms of time are implicated in signs, producing a different sort of truth.  Signs have to be interpreted over time, to catch their development.  There is nothing to find in worldly signs,  however, and time leaves them 'intact or identical'.  However, this can still help interpreters realise that they themselves have not stayed the same [surely, finding the familiar faces so aged on revisit is what really did it for Proust's hero?] .  With signs of love, we experience time lost, that alters people and things, but we grasp this only when things have ceased to interest us, when we are no longer in love, for example.  Sensuous signs help us see that we can rediscover meaning inside lost time, because they awaken our desire and imagination, or help us become once again the self that 'corresponds to their meaning' (56).  Art offers time regained, 'an absolute primordial time, a veritable eternity that unites sign and meaning'.  However, these lines of time can intersect in signs and their combinations, as when art recaptures the lost time which affects the other signs.  Time lost can also contaminate the worldly signs and the sensuous signs and produce 'a sense of nothingness even in the joys of sensibility'.  Only when we have regained time can we see the truth and place of the other kinds. We can see the lines of time as parallel series, or even arranged in a hierarchy, as meanings become more complete and profound.  The higher lines help us recover what is lost in the lower ones.  In this way, overall time is serial, and primordial time 'imbricates' (57) or encompasses the others.  [By extension?] 'The absolute Self of art encompasses all the different kinds of Self'.  [Just looks like an elaboration of the series of points already made]

Seventh, there seems to be an increasingly unity between the sign and its meaning as we ascend the hierarchy [implication], until essence is revealed, and art discloses the relation between essence and its variations.  Then we can 'redescend the steps' [showing how essences are explicated].  We do this not by falling in love again or reliving our lives but by discovering the truth 'appropriate' to each line of time.  We see the essence already there in the lower steps, and how it has affected the meaning of the sign, how it has been incarnated but 'with more necessity and individuality' at the lower levels, and with 'greater generality and...more contingent data' at the higher.  When we do this, we have individualized the subject and also 'absolutely' determined the objects [as in sufficient reason].  Necessity and the other qualities vary in the different signs, however, with a minimum of generality in the sensuous signs, a kind of empirical generality in the signs of love and the worldly signs, 'the generality of series or a generality of group', based on either 'extrinsic objective determinations', or subjective associations.  These offer a confused inability to see the presence of essence.  Once we have grasped the essential, we can see it at work elsewhere, and this will help us 'recover all the truths of time, and all the kinds of signs'.  We are discussing 'implication and explication, in development and development'.  Meaning is implicated in signs, 'wrapped' in them, a form of involution as in the captive: 'the objects hold a captive soul'.  Signs also explicate or develop, uncoil themselves in interpretation, as when a jealous person reconstructs the world of the other, or a sensitive person 'liberates the souls implicated in things'.  This is also a process of meaning.  Essence therefore must be some 'third term that dominates the other two'(58), which complicates the sign and the meaning, or rather 'holds them in complication'[as in the book on Leibniz I think].  Signs are not reduced to objects, and nor is meaning reduced to subjects, but they are both combined with them.  Essence becomes 'the sufficient reason for the other two terms and for their relation'[thought so].  Proust's hero's search is not dominated by memory and time, but by signs and truth.  Memory only intervenes sporadically, time has an explanatory meaning relative to particular signs and their 'truth'.  Understanding is a matter of apprenticeship and abrupt revelation, as in the shock discovery of homosexuality in de C [telegraphed long before though surely?  This is where the notion of the search as a realist form becomes relevant?].  In the Search, the hero does not know at first but comes to understand later, and also loses interest once he ceases to learn.  The characters are not important in themselves, but only insofar as they emit signs, which can teach us things, including things about time.

The 'Proustian vision of the world' initially excludes 'crude matter, mental deliberation, physics, philosophy', with philosophy standing for 'direct declaration and explicit signification, proceeding from a mind seeking the truth' (58-59).  In particular, 'We are wrong to believe in facts: there are only signs.  We are wrong to believe in truth; there are only interpretations' (59) [still Proust not Deleuze himself?] .  It is the sign that unites particular elements of sense data.  We will not understand it by pursuing 'the laws of matter and the categories of mind.  We are not physicists or metaphysicians; we must be Egyptologists.  For there are no mechanical laws between things or voluntary communications between minds.  Everything is implicated, everything is complicated, everything is sign, meaning, essence' (59).  Not only that…  'Neither things nor minds exist, there are only bodies: astral bodies, vegetal bodies'[Proust says that homosexuals emit astral signs, and we have already discussed the vegetal theory about the origin of homosexuality].  Biology has not realized that bodies 'are already a language', while linguists would do well to remember that 'language is always the language of bodies'.  Symptoms are expressed in words, but more importantly, 'every word is a symptom'.  People like hysterics use their bodies to speak in a primary language…  'His body is an Egypt' [all this extraordinary stuff is grounded in the account of Mme Verdurin's strange physical gestures which can only be understood as signs, 'an alphabet for the initiated'.

Conclusion to Part 1 The Image of Thought

The search for truth is what gives a philosophical flavor to Proust, but this is not normal philosophy, not 'classical philosophy of the rationalist type' (60).  That approach sees that independent thinkers love or desire and naturally seek the truth, assuming the 'goodwill of thinking', basing investigation on a premeditated decision.  Method simply has to overcome external influences that distract the mind, while ideas have to be discovered and then organized.  The results will 'fulfill the search and ensure agreements between minds'.

It implies that philosophers are friends, equally inspired by goodwill to seek agreement about what things and words mean.  There is some implied 'Universal Mind that is in agreement with itself' which makes significations both explicit and communicable.  Proust offers a critique based on the key point, that goodwill thinking produces arbitrary and abstract truths.  It ignores the things that force us to think, lying in 'the dark regions' (61).  Communication only covers the conventional, and this sort of philosophy only engenders the possible.  None of the truths are necessary.  Instead, truth is not simply revealed, but rather 'betrayed', not communicated but interpreted, not willed but involuntary.  The search is an 'adventure of the involuntary'.  It requires an external force that does violence, and we need to investigate what it is that leads to thought.  For Proust, it is certain impressions, encounters or expressions that force us to think.

The truths that intelligence can grasp are not necessary ones, and we should value them instead of those that are communicated to us in spite of ourselves [reads a bit like the value of surprise in ethnography].  Proust insists that he was not free in choosing truths, and this guarantee their authenticity.  No rules guaranteed the search for truth.  Intelligence produces only logical truth: we can make our ideas logical, but we don't know if they are true.  The sign forces us to think.  Its contingency guarantees the necessity of thought.  Signs do violence to thought because they break through its 'natural stupor and its merely abstract possibilities'(62).  Thinking is in this sense creative, and thinking is always active, interpreting, explicating, deciphering and so on.  What it actually does is to liberate the Idea implicit in the sign in 'the enveloped and involuted state'.  We know that jealousy forces people to seek the truth, and that sensitive people recognize the violence of impressions.  By comparison, 'The communications of garrulous friendship are nothing', and classical philosophy, its method and good will is also 'nothing compared to the secret pressures of the work of art'.  Creative art starts with signs, requiring interpretation, uncovering 'the signs in which the truth betrays itself'.

We require applied intelligence [as argued above], an 'involuntary intelligence', driven onwards by the pressure of signs, and the need to seek meaning and deal with suffering.  Memory works in the same way,  when involuntary memory forces meaning upon us.  Thought is eventually forced to produce essences, and this 'depends least on its goodwill'.  (63).  The difference between voluntary and involuntary is not important in itself, since these represent different exercises of the same processes.  All the processes like perception, memory, and imagination are limited when they are exercised voluntarily, because we are not forced to interpret anything.  Involuntary forms suggest the limits of the voluntary conscious processes, and thoughts can 'rise to a transcendent exercise', and understand its own necessity [that is, begin to deal with necessary reason?].  This is the role for sensibility, because it guides perceptions that would otherwise be indifferent, and forces thought to recognize its limits.  This is the 'vocation of each faculty' [each of the processes of thought as above].  Thought 'is forced to conceive essence as the sufficient reason of the sign and its meaning'[again, presumably, in the 17th century sense of sufficient reason?].

Ironically, Proust's critique 'becomes eminently philosophical' (64), helping us understand 'a concrete and dangerous thought' operating outside convention and good will, and containing 'an encountered, refracted violence', which will lead us to those essences that 'dwell in dark regions', not the regions of the clear and the distinct [concepts which are much discussed in later work, including Logic of Sense, and also in the book on Leibniz - let's hear it for the unclear indistinct, ie the virtual].  Ideas or essences in Proust make him a Platonist, not in the usual sense, but because Plato also talked about active thoughts being forced.  The more passive thoughts which only appear active 'are the objects of recognition'[which Deleuze goes on to condemn as a process in Difference and Repetition].  Recognition is itself contingent.  It is unrecognised objects, newly encountered signs that force us to think, and Plato recognized that these were '"simultaneously contrary perceptions"'.  Sensuous signs make us use our memory, set the sensibilities in motion, excite thought, force us to conceive of essences, a 'transcendent exercise' where each faculty overcomes its own limits [and then a couple of sentences on Greek philosophy which I did not understand, including Socrates claiming that he was more loving than people's friends were, presumably because they were accusing him of being an aggressive and pedantic arsehole].

Socratic irony expects the sort of provoking encounters that precede intelligence, even provokes them.  This is Greek irony.  Proust develops something different, Jewish humour [quite a lot on the differences again in Logic of Sense --and explained a bit better  in Kafka --irony involves the intercession or revelation of a higher law which contradicts the lower ones that were held to be sacrosanct, ,and humour refers to misleading comic manifestations of principles -- what I would have called ironic consequences], which involves more of an exploration of the violence of the encounters.  This reaction also precedes intelligence, necessarily so.  We also see the rejection of Platonism in other ways, for example in the view that 'There is no Logos: there are only hieroglyphs' (65), and the hieroglyph  itself is a double symbol, showing both the 'accident of the encounter [its arbitrary nature?] and the necessity of thought'.

Part II The Literary Machine

Chapter 8 Antilogos

Proust deals with 'the opposition of Athens and Jerusalem' (69), [partly explained in the previous section].  This involves rejecting [as characters pointing to the truth] a number of possible groups of observers, philosophers, talkers and intellectuals.  To group these together would be to indicate allegiance to the concept of Logos, 'a single universal dialectic; the dialectic as Conversation among Friends', leading to the collaborations and conformity we have already noticed.  The whole thing is driven by intelligence which searches for laws and relations among things and words, so as 'to weave that perpetual web linking Parts to Whole and Whole to Part', aiming at understanding how the ideal represents a law which is then found in each of its parts,  a very common procedure among friends, philosophers, scientists and scholars.  In practice, intelligence always suggests the Whole before it is present, so that it is already known how to apply it, 'the dialectical trick by which we discover only what we have already given ourselves, by which we derive from things only what we have already bought there'[as in classic Marxist critiques of  the tautologies of idealism, Althusser's  mirror structure of ideology and all that].  On the specific level, Sainte-Beuve's biographical approach shows the circularity, interrogating friends of the writer in order to show that writing displays the effects of friends.  This also has the effect of reducing authors to merely nice boys, who people like. [Mme Villeparisis does this, I recall, with a twist -- she says family friends like Stendhal were horribly normal etc].   The Goncourt account [where Proust's hero claims to have uncovered some diaries describing salon life, and rejects them as hopelessly descriptive and overdetailed] is an example.

Instead, Proust proceed through a series of oppositions, 'observation with sensibility, philosophy with thought, of reflection with translation' (70), and several others, for example friendship and love, Greek accounts with Biblical accounts of homosexuality.  The results are not logically conjoined, but show 'a non logical and disjunctive use' (which foreshadows all the stuff about various kind of syntheses in AntiOedipus, with the disjunctive synthesis best representing material reality].  Intelligence comes after this effort, which also involves a shift to seeing things as signs, and alluding to the implicated and complicated, 'not... the clear images and manifest ideas of the intelligence'.

The theme is continued with discussing Saint-Loup, Norpois and Cottard [already defined as people who speak in code].  All of them show 'the bankruptcy of the Logos' and operate with fragmentary signs [the clearest example for me is Norpois who exposes all the dissimulations of diplomatic language].  'There is no Logos of war, of politics, or of surgery, but only ciphers coiled within substances and fragments' (71).  Proust operates with signs and symptoms rather than attributes, with pathos rather than Logos, with  hieroglyphs rather than analytic expressions and rational thought.  This is an implicit critique of Greek philosophy.  Signs have different characteristics - their parts are configured differently, they reveal different laws, they involve the use of different faculties, they create a different type of unity and language.

There are some connections with Plato [listed 71], but no conception of an underlying state of things, a world that imitates ideas, different notions of essence, so that the Idea always comes before or is presupposed, and so that the search ends in a single Logos.  Proust's search involves 'qualitative transition, mutual fusion, and "unstable opposition"', and this is referred to the soul rather than to the states of the world, the subjective aspects.  However, we can proceed further than subjective associations [as above], and Swann is unable to do this, despite his glimpses of the a superior reality of art.  For Proust, essence appears first as 'but a kind of superior viewpoint'(72), something irreducible [apodictic?].  Art depicts specific worlds which allude to this beginning of the world and implies other specific possibilities.  The viewpoint remains superior to individuals: 'It is not individual, but on the contrary a principle of individuation'.

This is a way of referring to the whole issue of objectivity in a modern way, where the old orders have collapsed.  Objectivity can only be depicted in art, not in stable social relationships and not in agreed discourses ['ideal signification'-- describes the claims of objective methodology in social science?].  Objectivity arises from the formal structure of the work, 'its style' (73).  The individuated world emerges from associations.  Thinking produces creation, 'to create the viewpoint valid for all associations, the style valid for all images'. [More links with Greek philosophy are pursued to show the persistence of the Logos.] There is no truth delivered by language.  On the contrary, language helps conceal the truth, and the truth has to be uncovered, 'betrayed'.

Fragments, parts or individual signs do not always help us understand the whole or to reconstruct it, because sometimes, there is 'no totality into which it can enter, no unity from which it is torn' (74), and this is unknown to the Greeks - everything however insignificant testifies to the Logos.  [More references to Jerusalem here, referring to Plato as a Jew compared to the stoics - I think this means he wanted to operate with some single Logos, in a kind of philosophical monotheism].  We can only understand reconstruction by referring to time, admitting that some fragments cannot be restored any more and that some pieces do not fit.  We have the concept of time as a relation of 'parts of different sizes and shapes, which cannot be adapted, which do not develop at the same rhythm, and which the stream of style does not sweep along the same speed' [foreshadows the great analysis of cinematic time as in Citizen Kane].  There is no cosmic order.  Signs are no longer traceable to an underlying Logos.  We have to look at the structure of the work itself, without any external reference, including allegory or analogy.  [Proust's commentary on other authors, maybe in the piece on Saint-Beuve,  is used in support here].  We can only grasp particular associative chains by a creative artistic act, and this act itself 'takes the role of an incongruous part within the whole'.

This is how the truth is guaranteed, by this method that fully admits chance encounters, unlike the intelligence [condemned to act entirely rationally and logically  in Deleuze] .  Art is not seen as some organic totality linking parts and wholes in reciprocal determination.  The painting by Vermeer has an incongruous yellow patch [which so fascinates the dying Cottard that he wishes he had spent his life studying art].  The little phrase in Vinteuil is misunderstood as a simple part or fragment with a specific meaning [which is how all the aristo idiots try to understand it, as Swann's and Odette's song]; the church at Balbec shows pleasing discordant parts that resists simple interpretation [I missed this bit].  These and other 'mysterious viewpoints' cannot be added together into some organic totality.  Instead they should be seen as fragments pointing to ['determining' (75)] 'a crystallization' [Bogue is good on this -- a crystal as an element precipitating a change of state] .  The old organicism as in vegetal systems, disappears in favour of 'animal totality', an emergent whole driven by Time not Logos.

Chapter 9 Cells and Vessels

Organic unity is not present at the start of the novel, and nor does Proust merely uncover it: he creates a unity, from a series of incommensurable and fragmented parts which provide the diversity of the work.  We can understand this in terms of two metaphors ['figures' (76) ], the container and content, or the relation between parts and wholes.  The first one talks about envelopment, encasing and implication, where things or names are boxes which contain  -- but there is always 'excessive content'.  Names have the same qualities, like the name Guermantes [even more so for the strange concept of the Guermantes Way].  The narrator himself explicates, unfolds.  The second metaphor involves complication, the coexistence of non communicating parts, opposing aspects.  Here the narrator must choose to begin, at least, parts of the complex composition.  Open boxes appear in the first conception, closed vessels in the second [with a rather mystifying bit about how the first one refers to 'the position of the content without common measure', while the latter refers to 'the opposition of the proximity without communication' --slightly better explained below (77), and see Bogue]. Qualities often combine  and shift from one to the other.  Albertine, for example, complicates the many possible characters in herself, but she also implicates or envelops a series of impressions based on the encounters on the beach, and these have to be unfolded or uncoiled.

The 'great categories of the Search' [metaphors of searching, beginnning, regaining and all that?] indicate a choice or commitment to one or the other figure, but that several figures can represent a category, sometimes implying a kind of doubling.  Proper names, for example act as boxes at first, eventually emptied [explicated] in a way that leads to disappointment, but as common nouns, they can also be organized in a discourse to connect 'certain non communicating fragments of truth and lies chosen by the interpreter' [I think again we are describing realist narratives, where the speech of the character is reported, but the off-screen narrator  adds meanings which only he can detect, because only he knows the plot].  At the level of the faculties, memory opens boxes, while desire or sleep chooses a particular vessel, one that will enable deeper sleep, or one that will express 'a certain degree of love'.  Desire multiplies the noncommunicating characters of Albertine, while memory places her in 'incommensurable' areas of memory (78) [and both lead to jealousy and control-freakery]. 

What exactly is the container and the content in each case, and what do we do when content resists being explicated, or we see something incommensurable [contradictory or incomplete]?  Proust describes the madeleine and the tea as unfolding or explicating all the characteristics of life in Combray.  However, the true container is not the cup but the flavor, and the content is not associated with just the flavor, but is produced by the essence of Combray, as 'pure Viewpoint', not just the mundane viewpoint of an inhabitant.  The initial heuristic connection with the chain of associations is incomplete, and creation has to take over.  The essence does not just remind us of an individual viewpoint, but provides the joy of discovering a pure viewpoint, a new self, 'the resurrection of a self'.  Love as faces and bodies similarly express whole worlds which have to be explicated.  Explication requires a search for something excessive, and this is 'the indivisible character of desire that seeks to give a form to matter' (79).  And yet the excess is always limited by specific associations, and we can see this when we look at how the beloved one perceives us.  Thus the excess appear in a specific bodily form that will also go on inevitably to be emptied out.  It is like the paradox in which we have to capture people in order to explicate them, to exhaust all the possibilities, although jealousy usually suggests additional and inexhaustible ones. This emptying can also be seen as a kind of suicide.

Names both [denote and connote], and this provides the excess associations which arise whenever we try just to explicate [denotations].  Content is either originally lost, or emptied out, or 'separated' (80), which leads us to be disappointed [with concrete individuals or simple descriptive categories in general?].  The world is too complex to be ordered, and even subjective forms of association break down.  'Transcendent but variable and violently imbricated viewpoints' appear.  At first, this produces incompatible routes towards understanding, the two Ways  -- although Gilberte insists they can be unified, it never happens.  Even the final revelation does not exactly unify the different ways of proceeding, but multiplies transversal links {the key for Bogue]   The dualistic aspect of people's faces show the same tendency [I didn't quite recognise the description of women's faces as offering a duality, more a complex assemblage, for me — Deleuze seems to describe the complexity or something that breaks out of any {mechanical as opposed to organic} attempt to unify facial aspects].

The world can also be seen as merely 'a statistical reality'[a collection, an aggregate, not a proper group], containing infinitely different worlds, within which Swann never gets accepted by the Verdurins.  And this is the final position of Proust, admitting an unmanageable mixture, so that all the objects and words appear as in 'a specifically tinted aquarium, containing a certain species of fish, beyond the pseudo-unity of the Logos'(81).  Disruptive elements include the surprisingly vulgar words that Albertine uses [including an extraordinary phrase about 'breaking her pot', at which the translator has to intervene to explain that this might be a reference to anal sex].  Here, it is the association between the words of one discourse, and those that depict other discourses that offer an image of how the fragments of the world are brought together in proximity [I think, 82, perhaps specifically contiguity].  [Deleuze notes that this gives lying a linguistic basis - and then, more mystifyingly,  also a 'geographical' one -- ie relations of contiguity here definitely].

In closed vessels we find only statistical totalities, infinities of processes, different elements which provide only the impression of unity.  Closed vessels can communicate, however, by 'establishing transversals' [a big theme in Guattari as well].  These remind us that there is no simple way of reducing diversity, certainly not in a mechanical way,  and the need to preserve a multiplicity as 'original unity'.  Thus jealousy is a transversal in love's multiplicity [good example of a pathological one, not considered in Guattari].  Closed vessels might be arranged differently in the multiplicity,  sometimes in opposing directions, for example, and here when we join them altogether, it is via the transversal, [and we do not need to use only relations like metaphor, analogy or other forms of repetition, represented in another phrase which would be impenetrable if you did not know the context: 'For travel does not connect places, but affirms only the difference', supported by a direct quote from Proust about how he enjoys travel the more he distinguishes the departure and the arrival so as to experience the journey in its totality -- in the bit about the train journey].

It is no longer a matter of explicating but choosing one sealed vessel and the self that it implies, like choosing a certain girl in a group, or a certain word in what she says, or a certain feeling that we have.  When we attempt to understand, we are pursuing 'the activity corresponding to complication'(83) [pursuing singularities into multiplicities?].  Choosing like this is like waking up from all the creative possibilities of sleep, to rediscover the self of the previous day, and 'the chain of associations that links us to reality'.  It is not a conventional self that acts, however, 'because we ourselves are chosen', adopting a certain self in the process of choosing others to love, for example, sometimes with surprising consequences.  Proust discuss these matters in the  section about what it feels like to wake up, and regain our own self [and seems to conclude that it is a matter of habit to adopt the old familiar self again]. 

In contrast to the mundane choices, there is 'a pure choosing that has no more subject than it has objects, because it uses the interpreter no less than the thing to interpret': this underlines the reference in Proust to what 'we' do, and it is why sleep and dreaming is a form of pure interpreting, breaking the conventional links to signs.  Interpreting is always a transversal process, and heads not towards some united conception of the fragments, but towards a higher state, which actually involves 'preventing them from forming a [conventional eg subjective?] whole' (83-4).  The subject of the search is not an individual self, but rather 'that we without content'[I think the argument is that the mundane or empirical self would rapidly attempt to limit interpretation, 'totalize' it].

Despite all the possible uses of signs, whether objective or subjective, responding better to one faculty than another, implying a relation with the essences in a different way, there are still really only two formal types - open boxes to be explicated, sealed vessels to be chosen.  Signs gain their fragmentary nature because the content of boxes is so diverse, elements are incommensurable, and sealed boxes do not communicate with each other or the environment [but still relate].  It is time that explains these 'non spatial distances'(84).  [Confusingly] these are 'distances without intervals'[I think what this means is that they are brought together in subjective time not temporal time or space --or in Time?].  Lost time introduces distances, while time regained 'establishes a contiguity of distant things'.  Both act together to 'affirm the fragments as disjunct'.  There is no total Whole to be regained.  It is not a matter of linking episodes in time, say through the dialectic, but affirming them simultaneously [citing Bergson here].  This affirmation does not imply a straightforward succession in time, any more than fragments represent a lost whole in space: 'Time is precisely the transversal [medium?] of all possible spaces'.

Chapter 10 Levels of the Search

No Logos unites the fragments, and so there is no conventional law to be formulated.  The Greek notion of Logos always saw it as a secondary power subordinate to the Good, and useful only if it led to some transcendental image of it.  In modern thought, however 'the law becomes a primary power' (84), defining the good itself, 'the  law, without any other specifications', an entity, informal unity, leading to no knowledge of the Good [empirical generalizations take over from searches for deeper unity?] .  This law produces new separations and partitions that do not communicate, that are incommensurable.  We have to obey the law, and learn about it only through being punished for transgression [fanciful stuff about punishing the 'agonised body']. 

Kafka represents modern understandings of this law.  Proust reads it differently as a matter of appearances concealing a fragmented reality.  This produces a certain 'schizoid consciousness of the law' (86), sometimes indicated by guilt and its connection with love as an innocence between two guilts [referenced to the turmoils of loving Albertine, wanting to love her, while fighting off suspicion and guilt].  Only the certainty prompted by guilt ends the process, and love is replaced by empirical inquiry and conviction, when love no longer interests  the hero. Guilt features in the series of understandings of homosexuality, and appears first as a kind of primal curse, although Proust goes on to challenge the curse, at several levels, rescuing it as [natural].

We then have different levels of understanding, first of heterosexual love its 'contrasts and repetitions' (87), then a split introduced into love to follow the different paths of Gomorrah and Sodom, both of which contain a secret, producing notions of sin and guilt.  This is also to be explained as merely social operating with 'a statistical value'.  This notion of statistical values forming groups appears elsewhere too.  Underneath, is a third level, 'the agitations of singular particles', [so we are getting close to the language of singularity and multiplicity?], selves which form the groups.  The different Ways are statistical composites of the individuals, 'elementary figures'.  Elementary [biological] particles and organs are responsible for homosexual loves.

Separation is still important as a source of complementarity, as when two sexes appear in the same individual.  The vegetal explanations become significant, replacing some notion of an [empirical]  animal totality.  The hermaphrodite expresses the third level combining the sexes in a way which makes them communicate, but not participating in any statistical aggregates [because they contain multiple sexed selves].  So we have two statistical aggregates, homosexual but still statistical series relating those of the same sex, but a transsexual third level [currently very fashionable].  Both sexes coexist as fragments or 'partial objects'(88) in the hermaphrodite, requiring a third party to open and fertilize the female or male parts [not orchids and wasps, but general fertilizing insects here - these are the specific male or female partners that are encountered?].  This involves 'a transversal dimension' of communication, which exist even in those statistically defined as male or female.  Transexuality appears as something 'local and nonspecific'[actually a 'local and non specific homosexuality'] where people seek out the opposite qualities in their partners.  [Clearly appearing in Proust's arguments about transexuality and polymorphous diversity —Deleuze, Deleuze!  finds this 'obscure'(89)].  It alludes to the efforts that Proust himself had to make, 'supposedly', to 'change an Albert into Albertine'[a number of critics make this point, that Albertine really is a transposition of a certain male lover of Proust's].  This provides a profound link between the text and life that is not just normal biographical influence, but the discovery of a third level.

'Jealousy is the very delirium of signs'.  Jealousy is fundamentally linked to homosexuality, since homosexuality 'contains possible worlds' (90), requiring a number of suspicious viewpoints instead of simple involvement, with implications of one's own status as simply an element of these other worlds.  Jealousy thus becomes not just an awareness of other worlds, 'but the discovery of the unknowable world' of the viewpoint of the other.  Jealousy eventually also 'discovers the transexuality of the beloved', 'the discovery of partial objects', which is worse than discovering rival persons.  As a result, jealousy comes to operate with a logic of captivity, 'to immure the beloved'.  All these other possible worlds then become empty and enveloped.  Homosexual series are broken off. 

Homosexuality becomes an original sin after all which requires punishment by imprisonment.  Imprisonment stops transversal [and internal] communication between the components of complex sexuality.  Stopping transversal communication, however permits other forms, which produce 'amazing accidents and outwits our suspicions' (91) [chance encounters?].  [With a lovely bit of pseudy commentary: 'sequestration, voyeurism and profanation - the Proustian trinity', explained below ]. Imprisoning someone means that we can see them without being seen ourselves, and without being 'carried away by the beloved's viewpoint', as when Proust loves seeing Albertine asleep.  We see to stop others seeing, 'even symbolically' [we impose our gaze].  Making someone else see, 'imposes on him a strange, abominable, hideous spectacle', a series of partial objects with some unnatural couplings suggested.  This involves treating the person as an object himself, forcing him to communicate transversally [nasty implications for pedagogy then?]. 

This is the theme of profanation.  A photograph of a father becomes associated with sexual revels [for young Miss Vinteuil in the scene overlooked by the hero].  Family furniture is placed in a brothel, Albertine is embraced near to his mother's room, and dreams involve caging his parents.  Profanation like this makes every one 'function as a partial object', something partitioned, a spectacle, a form of imprisonment in the spectacle.

Freud saw anxiety arising from relating to the law.  Infantile aggression against the beloved involves a threat to the loss of love and guilt focused upon the self.  The law also provides 'depressive consciousness' as well as the 'schizoid consciousness' induced by the first reaction [this is much clearer when Deleuze discusses schizophrenia through Klein in Logic of Sense].  For Proust, guilt remains superficial, social, not really internalized, but the threat of losing love 'truly defines destiny or the law' (92).  To love without being loved involves this sense of exclusion from the world of the beloved which will inevitably lead to the end of love, 'explication...will...lead the self that loves to its death' [add that to Rancière to really cut some philosophical wood!].  Imprisonment [sequestration] of the loved one makes her turn into a 'horrified spectator' of her own 'partitioned scenes'.  This is the Proustian Trinity above -'the entire law of love'.

Law in general, once we have abandoned the Greek conception, simply controls the parts without referring to some ultimate whole.  It assembles parts within sealed containers, producing 'discrepancy,…  remoteness,…  distance, and…  partitioning'[sounds like leibnizian monads again, but without god].  Only occasional 'aberrant communications between the non communicating vessels'  are possible, only transversal unity not totalization.  Forcing these vessels' to communicate by inserting fragments from other vessels' into them only confirms 'the infinite void of distances'. [Great basis for a critique of participatory pedagogy -- we only we realize we are truly alone etc]

This is why Proust refers to the need for telescopes not microscopes, even though he does refer to the infinitely small as in the infinitesimal differences between the faces of Albertine.  However, only telescoping helps him unites 'the collision between worlds, and the folding of the parts one within another'.  [And Proust is cited as saying he deliberately used the telescope to perceive things, and how the tiny things each constituted a world, that the group of girls can only be understood through '"impassioned astronomy"' (93)].  Even when things are contiguous, distance is not reduced but affirmed or even extended: they are 'fragments of disparate universes'.

Chapter 11 The Three Machines

The idea is for people to learn about themselves by recognizing what Proust writes, so the Search is also a machine—that is it has the 'property of being or whatever we like, of having the overdetermination of whatever we like' (94).  It is not that we enjoy sonatas, but that the work itself is a sonata, and also 'a  cathedral'(95), a delirium, an exercise to train the faculties, 'anything we like provided we make the whole thing work'.  Hence 'The modern work of art has no problem of meaning, it has only a problem of use' [which is really what he meant by saying we can use his books how we like?  As long as we search, and learn about ourselves].  Art is machinic in the sense that it is 'productive of certain truths'.  Truth has to be produced, extracted from impressions, 'hewn out of our life'.  It is never just discovered or just created [as in intelligent creation as above, which deliver only logical or possible truth - 'the creative imagination is worth no more than the discovering or observing intelligence'.  At best, memory and creation are preliminary aspects of production as we saw.

Art begins with an impression which 'unites in itself the accident of the encounter and the necessity of the effect, or violence that it obliges us to undergo'.  It presupposes some connection between a sign and the involuntary—as Proust says, '"it is suffering that then sets them in motion"' (96).  Meaning and truth itself does not reside in the impression or the memory but in their 'spiritual equivalents' produced by the 'machine of interpretation'.  This is how art produces new links.

There are orders of truth and orders of production, and not just those in time regained and lost time.  The final act of systematization produces three orders—time regained seems to collect together all the natural reminiscences and offer them an aesthetic essence, while lost time seems to just produce [illustrations] 'secondary truths'.  Yet the orders are also separated conceptually.  The first one, operating with reminiscences and essences is a matter of 'singularity' and the production of time that corresponds to them.  The second order is equally concerned with art, but groups pleasures and pains which refer to something else, even if this is not immediately perceived—worldly signs and the signs of love.  These obey general laws and produce lost time.  The third order is a matter of 'universal alteration, deaths and the idea of death, the production of catastrophe (signs of ageing, disease, and death)'.  The truths that the second level reinforce those at the first through 'analogy, 'proof a contrario' in another domain.  Truths of the third order reinforce the first, but also insist that they must be surmounted.  It is only following the third order that helps us see that unfulfilled pains and pleasures are not final. 

Worldly and love signs are grouped here at the first level [actually their values], since both are interpreted primarily through the intelligence operating after the signs and providing meaning in the form of a general law, of the series, or of worldliness.  However, we are still only working with 'crude resemblances' (97), and we can see that the machine at this level produces only partial objects, 'fragments without totality', offering law like connections involving distance and separation, as we saw all.  Even dreams offer us persons as partial objects, and when we begin to understand the world, or love, at this level, we only connect them together as isolated fragments.  We see this when we start to realize that the fragments of a person represent the total person underneath.  General laws never produce that insight, though, only 'group truths or ...corresponding serial truths'.

The second type of machine produces different sorts of connections, 'resonances, effects of resonance' (98), as in the operations of involuntary memory.  Desire also produces resonance [Proust's hero adds meaning to the steeples he sees on a country drive].  Art produces yet a third type of resonances that are not just memory, and which require activity on the part of the mind to discover connections [he gropes for meaning when he trips over the uneven paving stones].  The alliance between words helps facilitate this sort of resonance, joining two remote objects [that is we verbalize the connections?].  This does not require or depend upon the earlier production of partial objects: instead, the relation 'is like that between a strong and a weak beat', and also the difference between time regained and the lost time.  Resonance depends on 'faculties of extraction or interpretation' and offers a qualitative production, not a general law, not a series but 'a singular essence', something localised or individuated.  Resonance does not just  totalize fragments, but extracts its own fragments, setting up the resonance but not totalizing [not just developing a statistical aggregate, but arriving at some essence, say of Combray 'as it was never experienced...  never viewed']

Both lost time and time regained [to get back to that terminology] operate with fragments and divisions, and it is not that lost time is unproductive: there are two sorts  of production.  This is why Proust argues [imprecisely] that the first offers the foundation of the second, and that is why we have to begin our apprenticeship with lost time before getting to time regained.

Proust is not alone in describing occasional examples of ecstasy or insight.  What makes him different is that he sees them as productions, 'the effect of the literary machine' (99) [it is something that authors construct] .  Resonances multiply at the end of the search, as the machine gets up to speed.  It is no longer a matter of some experience outside literature, but rather an effect of 'artistic experimentation produced by literature', a literary effect.  It shows that the machine works, and Proust asks whether it will work for other people as they discover analogous effects.  Any effects observed by readers should not be misunderstood as something trivial, some triggering of memory.  Rather, it is recognising the effects of the work of art itself.

It is not just a matter of examining Proust's own interpretations, but rather addressing 'the entire phenomenon itself'.  There are objective aspects such as the particular flavor of the madeleine, and subjective aspects like associative chains.  These combine to produce something different, 'the Essence, the spiritual Equivalent'(100), something not just subjective.  We have not just discovered and created, but produced, and the hero comes to realise that resonance is produced, and itself has artistic effects.  This is not apparent at the beginning, but emerges from 'a certain argument between art and life'.  At first, resonance appears as ecstasy as an ultimate goal, but this requires nothing particularly from art.  Then the resonance produces effects but under 'given natural conditions' or through unconscious memory.  Only at the end do we see 'what art is capable of adding'.  Artistic style itself produces resonance and extracts an image, and does so in free conditions, not limited by the unconscious or by nature.  Art then becomes the ultimate goal of life, something which does not emerge from external mechanisms.  This is how art becomes the spiritual equivalent of life.

So we shift from an interest in natural moments to the artistic machine itself and how it produces effects.  This is just like Joyce 'and his machine for producing epiphanies'.  They start with the object then subjective experience, then a multiplicity of fragments which destroys these orders, and only then can art assume its full meaning, as a machine which itself sets up resonances, produces epiphanies, releases the image and reincarnates it.  A short circuit is established between signifier and signified in a special kind of poetic language.  New linguistic conventions have to emerge to guide this work, and produce a new whole.

Back to the third Proustian order of alteration and death.  We see the effects of ageing in the scenes in the salon towards the end.  Are we meant to have seen the idea of death underneath all the earlier moments and ecstasies, through a resonance with those earlier moments?  Can we read the succession of selves in love affairs as alluding to suicide and death? That would make it all pointless, even art. Now we have to establish something else as well - reconciliation, 'a contradiction to be surmounted' which could not be managed in the earlier orders: partial objects remain indifferent to the death of the other, simply offer the notion of death as some universal end, something that contradicts ecstasies of the earlier processes.  The contradiction is resolved after further explanation, since it was at first incomprehensible: the third order seems to end in death, something unproductive, so how can we extract something productive from it, and therefore rescue the whole work of art?

Death is conceived differently, as an effect of time.  The experience of ageing pushes moments of the past into still more remote and improbable areas, 'the forced movement of greater amplitude' (102) []but we know we lived then -- so we also know others lived centuries before? So we know we will live on] .  But this offers us a notion of a horizon in time, something which 'dilates time infinitely', unlike subjective syntheses and resonances which contract time.  Death ceases to be severance, and appears rather as 'an effect of mixture or confusion' (103), and it implies that human beings are 'monstrous', existing within time in a much more extensive way than in ordinary life,'that is [only] reserved for them in space', a measureless time [I remember this as Proust saying something rather more mundane, that he realizes that human beings always have limited lives, but that they are connected somehow across the whole space of time in which humans have lived.  This comforts our hero in a strange fatalistic way].  In this way, the death of an individual becomes a part of the production of life, a work of art in itself.  Time 'becomes sensuous' [that is seems to take on a purpose of its own], shaping faces, introducing death.

When the hero thinks of his grandmother, he has somehow meshed this forced movement with a mere resonance, sweeping away the resonance.  Time itself is now seen as a kind of production capable of reconciling time lost and time regained.  Overall, we now see there are three kinds of machine at work in producing the book: 'machines of partial objects (impulses); machines of resonance (Eros); machines of forced movement (Thanatos)' [so Deleuze is still happy with Freudian terms at this stage].  Each one produces truths, appearing as an effect of time: lost time produces fragmented partial objects, time regained resonates, lost time of another kind by amplifying forced movements.  This second way in which time gets lost is 'passed into the work and becomes the condition of its form'.  [Heavy going.  I think this means that it is only the thought of death and somehow the survival of human beings after death that gives a point to the whole exercise, which is what Deleuze said about two pages ago].

Chapter 12 Style

How will the different orders be organized within each other, without one totalizing the others?  Each order is self sufficient, and lacks nothing, and resists any attempt to impose organic unity.  The emphasis is on incompletion.  There are no worldly contents which can be systematized [empirically] or idealised in an associative chain.  The viewpoints that transcend the subject themselves are not unified, more that 'a universe corresponds to each, not communicating with the others, affirming an irreducible difference' (104).  Each artistic viewpoint is the same.  The essence then becomes 'an individuating viewpoint superior to the individuals themselves' [further explained in the book on Leibniz], with no power to unify or totalize.

So what constitutes the unity of the work, and how can different readers communicate with the work?  There is Logos or other kind of unity.  Instead, it is 'the unity of this very multiplicity, the whole that is the whole of just these fragments' (105).  The whole as an effect of the multiplicity, of a machine.  Leibniz was the first to discuss this notion of communication between sealed parts, through the argument that closed monads all express the same world but in an infinite series of predicates, each offering a separate region of expression or different viewpoint.  However, it is God that causes this envelopment and correspondence between the monads, but God is not available to Proust, so there is no ultimately shared world or 'pre-established stock'[of viewpoints].  (106).  Proust thinks that Balzac originated the problem and solved it with a new type of work of art, where unity is 'an effect of his books', after a 'retrospective illumination'.  The Whole that results does not alter anything about the fragmented parts, however.  There is no individual Balzac style, or rather that the fragments he distributes eventually result in a confirming whole as a result.  This is, Proust argues [in Against Sainte Beuve], a matter of style explicating, joining together fragments which are not dissolved and which do not exhibit some pre-established harmony.

Proust's 'idiosyncratic' (107) language also produces effects, and we could suggest that he has no style in any individual sense either, although this would require further comparisons with Balzac [suggested 107].  Proust certainly 'explicates with images', interpreting without identifying which subject it is,  and by multiplying viewpoints even towards the same sentence [I have called these bits metafictional].  The signs are at different rates of development and are in associative chains, but they lead to viewpoints [which Deleuze is equating with essence throughout, as in Leibniz?  However, it is these essences that are combined into multiplicities].  Explicating the significance of each sign often involves beginning with two different objects, which might offer objective resemblance or subjective associations, and this is how a viewpoint proper to each of the objects is attained: this also dislocates the object.  A single viewpoint is subdivided into viewpoints of these objects which do not communicate.  They work by 'setting up resonance among themselves'[the example is how the painter Elstir interchanges the sea and the land which remain distinct - it is their viewpoints that are being combined in the painting].

Style which explicates  'produces [objects as] partial objects'.  This in turn 'produces effects of resonance and forced movements' in the form of an image.  Producing these images 'in the pure state is what we find in art', above all in music.  We can follow essences from the signs of art to the lower level signs.  'Objective description and associative suggestion' (108) are inevitably reintroduced, as a result of the 'material conditions of incarnation' contained in the essence.  Free artistic creativity seems to be limited by this, another reason for not thinking of style is a matter of individuals but of essence [to be nice and paradoxical, Deleuze  then defines essence as 'nonstyle'.  He plays the same trick talking about nonsense in Logic of Sense, so that it looks as if there's some deep connections or contradiction being suggested here, although sometimes nonsense just means something which is not sense.  To spoil his rhetorical tricks, my notes render that meaning as 'non-sense'].

So [individual] style is unified by something outside.  This is not essence as viewpoint, which remains 'perpetually fragmenting and fragmented'.  It is a special unity that appears afterwards, enables the viewpoints to exchange the essences to communicate.  It is communicated by what looks like another fragment, 'a final brushstroke'.  What is happening is that 'a world reduced to a multiplicity of chaos' is unified by 'the formal structure of the work of art' [why not just say that before, you prat!  This is going to turn out to be an artistic version of the  'plane of consistency', a 'plane of composition',  which philosophy/art both constructs and then explorers as if it was something external].  [Proust's] art introduces new linguistic conventions to which the work itself submits [citing Eco].

The structure is particularly characterized by 'a transversal dimension'. [Bogue says Deleuze discovered this concept in Proust,but also met it in Guattari's work -- nicely made practical in Chaosmosis]   In Proust, it is described in terms of understanding of the route of the train to bring into communication the viewpoints of a landscape [we understand the track as uniting specific geographical places and also people who appear on the stations.  I read that as just a straightforward banal device to use a journey to connect things].  Proust brings into communication things that do not communicate among themselves.  The various Ways are also constituted by a transversality [the author's particular way of connecting people, countryside and ancestry].  Transversality is the route of the fertilizing insect in the reproduction of hermaphrodite plants.  Proust's contribution is to develop the linguistic conventions of transversality, within and between sentences, and also to connect Proust's book to those that he liked.  This transversality communicates with the public, with the other works by the same person, and with the works of other people and with works to come.  Transversality establishes unity and totality, but not as a matter of totalizing objects or subjects [it all sounds like a fancy version of how analogy works].  Proust adds this dimension to the characters and events in the book, and transversality operates in time, but 'without common measure' (109).  Only then are the sealed vessels brought into communication [the examples are Odette and Swann, or Albertine and the narrator—seeing Odette as an old woman tied up with the Duke of Guermantes is the 'final brushstroke'.  I must say that the same suspicion of nonsubjective formal kinds of communication also intruded with the other unlikely coincidences where the characters meet.  I can see that these unlikely meetings help break with any simple objective description of the characters, as does the surprising interest of Albertine in Gomorrah].  [The last sentence says that it, something that he has been calling time, is also a 'the dimension of the narrator, which has the power to be the whole of these parts without totalizing them', another rather damp squib then.  It could be Derrida, on writing].

Conclusion to Part II Presence and Function of Madness: The Spider

It is not a matter of whether Proust was mad himself, but how madness appears in the work and what its function might be.  There are two different modalities of madness in de C and Albertine.  De C appear as as a mad person early in the novel.  Morel is terrified of him.  He always seems to be in the grip of some [self-destructive] madness rather than just being immoral [although the Verdurins just see him as an immoral prat]. Mme de Sturgis forbids him to visit her children because he was always pinching their chins [can't say I've made a note of that], a matter of irresponsibility rather than immorality.  His madness becomes certain at the end of the novel. Albertine is retrospectively seen as mad, and Andree even suspects that she might have been led to suicide by it.

The connections between madness, irresponsibility and sexuality is not explained in terms of the Oedipal schema, despite 'Proust's cherished theme of parricide' (111) [must be pretty implicit - we do get to hear very little about his father, and there are clearly tensions about not letting Mama kiss him goodnight].

De C is a strong personality and individual, but his individuality also conceals many unknowns things.  His two 'notable points' are the eyes and the voice [a pretty restricted notion of faciality then], and both are capable of displaying a number of emotions.  This makes him into a secret and mystery to be interpreted.  He also endlessly interprets himself as a kind of 'delirium of interpretation'.

He offers 'three major speeches to the narrator'.  Beneath the signs he transmits, there is something essential elsewhere, some Logos which he subscribes to.  The three speeches have a common structure: first denial and distancing [strange cycles of attraction and repulsion I called it], and then a third unexpected one, displayed by 'rage... sadistic fantasy…  the eruption of madness'  (112).  These appear in all the speeches, but the madness is really only diagnosed and managed by trampling his hat [ hilarious scene] in the third speech.  There are also 'involuntary signs' which 'rout the Logos'[disrupt his self control].  They seem to belong to deeper feelings, like offended pride, some' idee fixe' [obsession] , a certain pathos, demonstrated in his eventual social and physical decay.  Speech no longer dominates communication, and we have 'aberrant transverse' forms instead, such as in the initial encounter with Jupien [which is wordless and involves them both exchanging meaning via postures to show their sexual tastes].  It is not just that the secret lies in homosexuality, but rather that there is some 'deeper universal madness inextricably intermingling innocence and crime' [deep anomie or egoism for me].  We discover a world in which speech is not necessary, 'the silent vegetal universe'.

If the Logos is an animal offering animal unity, the pathos 'is a vegetal realm' with indirect communication among its isolated elements, a world of fragments,  'schizoid universe of closed vessels, of cellular regions' (113).  'Contiguity itself is a distance'.  This is the world of sex which the speeches teach us about, a world of [queer] combinations between men and women, and their male and female parts [ten possible combinations for Deleuze], unfolding after considering at first the most orthodox combination of male men and female women.  Starting with the orthodox is apparently found elsewhere, producing new series which become in their turn 'a new galaxy…  decentred or eccentric', new fragments and transversal connections.  This is how we learn about de C—first the connections between ideas, voice and speech, then a more disturbing world of signs and cells. One example of the unity of this world is provided by the disturbing picture of de C being followed by a series of hooligans and beggars, as if he is somehow producing them.

For Albertine, the galaxy of girls explains her first, then a series of jealousies, then the complexity, 'the coexistence of all the cells in which Albertine imprisons herself in her lies' (114).  The narrator 'starts with Albertine's face', and its components as 'a mobile set' [so some agreement with Guattari here], and as he closes in, he sees a series of different Albertines.  Here, it is still 'the law of loves and of sexuality' that provide for compositions and later decompositions, both hetero and homo.  The two series then display a transsexual universe with a number of regroupings 'along aberrant transversal lines'.  Conventional sex has 'a surface normality', but queer sex is marked by sufferings and anguish, 'what is called neurosis'.  However, at the vegetal level, essence returns within decomposition, apparent madness absolves itself and becomes a human comedy with a new power.  The search itself unites normal and mad elements.

Although there is a general law uniting Albertine and de C, their madnesses are different.  First, de C. has an overdeveloped 'imperial individuality' which makes us think he must be hiding something that he is unable to communicate.  We discover this only by 'violent accidental encounters' as de C is forced to enter new risky milieux.  Albertine has a different problem, struggling to become an individual in the first place amid a group of young girls: the  'mystery of her individuation' (115) is the topic, and it can only be grasped when her communications are disrupted, and Albertine herself imprisoned.  De C is 'a master of discourse', leaving him with a problem with involuntary signs which can disrupt his speech or even contradict it.  Albertine is capable only of simple lies, operating with a view of language which simply expresses things or objects, open to manipulation only through lying.

Psychiatry of the time distinguished 'two kinds of sign - deliriums', associated with paranoid interpretation, or 'erotomaniacal or jealous' demands.  The first began gradually, reacting to external forces that eventually became a general network which produced 'the series of verbal investments'.  The second one was linked to 'real or imagined external occasions' and led to something being postulated about specific objects, leading to 'a delirium of action animated by an intensive investment in the object' (116), the delirious pursuit of the beloved person, rather than 'a delirious illusion of being loved'.  The first disorder produces 'radiating circular sets', but the second 'a succession of finite linear processes'. 

Although Proust did not apply this work specifically, we can see de C and Albertine following these two paths.  It is clear that de C is a paranoiac, at the centre of a network.  Albertine is herself an object or in pursuit of objects, even when imprisoned by the narrator [the argument seems to be that she can still see this as some kind of pursuit of love without being loved].  The narrator is also erotomaniac and jealous, open to the 'constellations of lying', not de C's 'delirium of ideas and interpretation'.

Albertine's and the narrator's behaviour are confused - the narrator is jealous of an Albertine who is herself jealous of the objects [women?] she is trying to attain.  His erotomania directed at her, is interrupted by her erotomania [towards women].  He imprisons her, and this prevents him from realizing her demands until it is too late.  The narrator and de C also get confused in the process of interpretation.  These both offer 'partial identifications' and the problem is to decide their function.

We have to distinguish the narrator and the hero, since the novel is not just a matter of realizing subjectivity.  The narrator actually represents the 'machine of the Search' (117) the hero is merely an effect of the arrangements of the machine.  The narrator - hero 'does not function as a subject' [very similar argument in Kafka -- an initially split subject is replaced by a machine] .  Proust constantly presents the narrator as incapable of seeing or perceiving.  He has no origins, not even a conventional body, 'no organs, or never…  those he needs, those he wants'.  When he kisses Albertine for the first time, he says that 'we have no adequate organ to perform such an action that fills our lips, stuffs our nose, and closes our eyes.  Indeed the narrator there is an enormous Body without organs'.  [I must say I can't remember another reference anywhere to this view that bodies or organs are inadequate: it all seems to turn on one paragraph in a 12 volume novel!  When I read it, it just seemed to me that the poor lad was overwhelmed with sensations, and couldn't quite locate them anywhere.  Or maybe, he was too polite to locate them in the obvious place.]

Spiders also see nothing, perceive nothing and remember nothing.  They only receive vibrations from the edges of their webs, producing 'an intensive wave' in the body.  Spiders 'answer only to signs' [there is an odd bit that says they are 'without eyes, without nose, without mouth'—doubtless, literary licence].  They search through a web structure, and each 'thread is stirred by one sign or another'.  The spider and the web together constitute a machine.

Back to the narrator [!].  The narrator 'has no organs insofar as he is deprived of any voluntary and organized use of such faculties' [he's not a character, ya prat! If only he had read some later stuff on the role of the narrator in realism]. It is faculties that function within him, awakening an organ, as it were, 'as an intensive outline roused by the waves that provoke its involuntary use'.  Sensibility memory and thought are involuntary, reactions 'of the organless body to signs'.  This machine, the body and the web, 'opens or seals each of the tiny cells' touched by the search [its 'sticky thread'].  The narrator has this strange 'spider body', acting as a spy, policeman, jealous lover or interpreter, and even madman or 'universal schizophrenic'[hasn't he discussed this better through the notion of indirect free discourse?]. Universal schizophrenia defines and describes the more specific psychoses of de C and Albertine.  He sends a thread towards de C or Albertine, 'in order to make them so many marionettes of his own delirium, so many intensive powers of his organless body, so many profiles of his own madness'(118).

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