An Unprecedented Deformation
ebook ∣ Marcel Proust and the Sensible Ideas · SUNY Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
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French novelist Marcel Proust made famous "involuntary memory," a peculiar kind of memory that works whether one is willing or not and that gives a transformed recollection of past experience. More than a century later, the Proustian notion of involuntary memory has not been fully explored nor its implications understood. By providing clarifying examples taken from Proust's novel and by commenting on them using the work of French philosophers Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gilles Deleuze, Italian philosopher Mauro Carbone interprets involuntary memory as the human faculty providing the involuntary creation of our ideas through the transformation of past experience. This rethinking of the traditional way of conceiving ideas and their genesis as separated from sensible experience—as has been done in Western thought since Plato—allows the author to promote a new theory of knowledge, one which is best exemplified via literature and art much more than philosophy.