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The Rhythm of ThoughtArt, Literature, and Music after Merleau-Ponty$
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Jessica Wiskus

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226030920

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226031088.001.0001

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On the Musical Idea of Proust

On the Musical Idea of Proust

(p.90) 8 On the Musical Idea of Proust
The Rhythm of Thought

Jessica Wiskus

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses Marcel’s path toward the achievement of his own literary vocation and how it is occupied by his engagement with multiple arts. An artistic figure that had the greatest impact on Marcel existed in the person of the composer Vinteuil—a man whose works inspire within Marcel an extraordinary joy and feeling of hope. Through Vinteuil’s sonata and septet, Marcel is able to affirm the reality of the idea as well as a means through which this idea might be accessed. It is also thus that Merleau-Ponty turns to the “musical idea.” The course notes and drafts on the “musical” or “sensible” idea are specifically inspired by Proust. What Merleau-Ponty discloses through the musical idea is an ideality that comes to be known according to the divergence, depth, and temporality of the flesh.

Keywords:   literary vocation, multiple arts, vinteuil, sonata, septet, merleau-ponty, musical idea, depth, proust

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