File spoon-archives/phillitcrit.archive/phillitcrit_2000/phillitcrit.0004, message 3


Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 22:37:00 -0700
Subject: Re: PLC: Why Proust? And Why Now?



--------------CECF10AB82F265A6C9A52069

In response to the recent email on phil-lit-crit, I have no knowledge of
Proust, but nor have I any competence in his  philosophical work (with no
help from the article, too). So, bear this in mind, please, because I take
issue with the biographical sketch of Proust.

I don't know anything about Proust, but I did read the article and, now, I
would probably avoid his work if not for some brief further research over
the Internet. Regarding the below article, I have to ask why? The article:

Philosophy News Service * richard jones wrote:

> New York Times
> April 13, 2000
>
> Why Proust? And Why Now?
>
> By DINITIA SMITH

seems to concentrate on Proust's sexual life. Such information is so far
beyond the scope of philosophy that it concerns nothing about us, unless we
have a sex life thanks to Proust. I certainly do not. The only person to
have a philosophy of sex, in my opinion, is Sigmund Freud, who realized that
an adult human has a propensity toward psychosexual problems beyond the
understanding of that person, i.e., unconsciously.

The biography/autobigraphy enterprise seems a bit irrational, in my opinion,
if it fails to show any contribution to warrant the enterprise as well as
the life of the subject. What more, how does that business influence us? For
what does it reflect on the person who is dead, and what does it contribute
to their work? It presupposes the possibility of shared experiences, but is
meant to enhance the historical event of that experience. If ever a science
of a single person is possible, such an enterprise would seem to have this
goal in mind.

In answer to the question: "why now?", I think it has a lot to do with the
circulation of information these days about anything, and to such an extent
that that information is received either from an educated perspective or
not, but that without a historical conception of the means of that
information, it is too novel to avoid, perhaps? We think there is a single
moral method narrowly patterned to fit our values and beliefs (which may be
said to be exemplified by our intuitions), but the said or reported
experiences of others becomes a challenge, a "shock", if it produces
conflict, much in reverse of what apparently Proust would liken to any
experience of his own, as an experiment (that which is now presupposed by
our having some sort of knowledge about it). What luck and fortune to those
who can earn a profit in biographing a person who can do nothing to prevent
it? Instant history, perhaps? Or, instant subjectivity? It only seems to
makes sense to be more complex than any common sense conception can make of
a person, to be ever more novel than the ordinary can ever appreciate, but
what a consumption is this that the person is indefensible if they advance
any new knowledge and do not live to appreciate such esteem for their work?
My sympathies to Proust.

Nothing is said about Proust's philosophy, which leads me to believe the
author of the article is not concerned about it all. Readers beware, but for
authors, oh boy......think ahead? Keep your sex life to yourself, and with
your lover, maybe? Has anyone become suddenly horny and to have thought of
Proust?

PCR

--------------CECF10AB82F265A6C9A52069

HTML VERSION:

In response to the recent email on phil-lit-crit, I have no knowledge of Proust, but nor have I any competence in his  philosophical work (with no help from the article, too). So, bear this in mind, please, because I take issue with the biographical sketch of Proust.

I don't know anything about Proust, but I did read the article and, now, I would probably avoid his work if not for some brief further research over the Internet. Regarding the below article, I have to ask why? The article:

Philosophy News Service * richard jones wrote:

New York Times
April 13, 2000

Why Proust? And Why Now?

By DINITIA SMITH

seems to concentrate on Proust's sexual life. Such information is so far beyond the scope of philosophy that it concerns nothing about us, unless we have a sex life thanks to Proust. I certainly do not. The only person to have a philosophy of sex, in my opinion, is Sigmund Freud, who realized that an adult human has a propensity toward psychosexual problems beyond the understanding of that person, i.e., unconsciously.

The biography/autobigraphy enterprise seems a bit irrational, in my opinion, if it fails to show any contribution to warrant the enterprise as well as the life of the subject. What more, how does that business influence us? For what does it reflect on the person who is dead, and what does it contribute to their work? It presupposes the possibility of shared experiences, but is meant to enhance the historical event of that experience. If ever a science of a single person is possible, such an enterprise would seem to have this goal in mind.

In answer to the question: "why now?", I think it has a lot to do with the circulation of information these days about anything, and to such an extent that that information is received either from an educated perspective or not, but that without a historical conception of the means of that information, it is too novel to avoid, perhaps? We think there is a single moral method narrowly patterned to fit our values and beliefs (which may be said to be exemplified by our intuitions), but the said or reported experiences of others becomes a challenge, a "shock", if it produces conflict, much in reverse of what apparently Proust would liken to any experience of his own, as an experiment (that which is now presupposed by our having some sort of knowledge about it). What luck and fortune to those who can earn a profit in biographing a person who can do nothing to prevent it? Instant history, perhaps? Or, instant subjectivity? It only seems to makes sense to be more complex than any common sense conception can make of a person, to be ever more novel than the ordinary can ever appreciate, but what a consumption is this that the person is indefensible if they advance any new knowledge and do not live to appreciate such esteem for their work? My sympathies to Proust.

Nothing is said about Proust's philosophy, which leads me to believe the author of the article is not concerned about it all. Readers beware, but for authors, oh boy......think ahead? Keep your sex life to yourself, and with your lover, maybe? Has anyone become suddenly horny and to have thought of Proust?

PCR --------------CECF10AB82F265A6C9A52069-- --- from list phillitcrit-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu ---


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