Albertine and Other Performers: Aesthetic Agency, Love, and Jealousy in Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu

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In Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (1913–27), musical performance, particularly of the composer Vinteuil’s works, is an important means through which the protagonist appreciates the fleeting nature of time and the mutability of the personalities, relationships, and sexualities of characters such as Mlle Vinteuil, Charlus, Morel, and Albertine. Here, the piano and pianola and their use to communicate love and desire, and truths concerning aesthetic interpretation, are explored in close readings of several scenes of private music-making, including Charlus’s piano and Albertine’s pianola performances. This paper explores the ways in which such per­formances convey information about sexuality which will ultimately prove germane to the conception and realization of the protagonist’s creative literary vocation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalRomance Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • agency
  • pianola
  • piano
  • Albertine
  • Charlus
  • bicycle
  • performance


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