Proust and the art of language. Synonymy as linguistic idolatry. In: SERGIO CIGADA E MARISA VERNA A CURA DI. in La Sinonimia tra langue e parole nei codici italiano e francese,. p. 231-254, MILANO: Vita e Pensiero The aim of this article is to analyze the impossibility of conceiving of the idea itself of synonymy within the proustian understanding of language and his esthetics. Since his first theoretical reflections on literary language, Proust considered meaning as the result of a complex dynamics, never established once and for all. In his notes to his translations of John Ruskin, the future author of the Recherche reproaches the English esthetician of looking for linguistic meaning where it cannot be found: in the dictionaries or in the history of words. In this attitude Proust sees the same sin of idolatry that Ruskin shares with Montesquiou and that leads to a confusion between art and life, meaning and words. This conception of language can be found in the Recherche at different levels. Two of these will be analyzed in this article: the language of the characters and the formation of metaphor. Within the language of the characters it is possible to observe various clue synonyms , or even implicit synonyms , marking meaning shifts, where the similarity of meaning at the level of langue is even more revealing of psychological truths that language ends up always exposing. Within this indirect language studied by Genette, it is clear that there is not just one synonym and that it could not be simply replaced by its equivalent in the dictionary without a serious loss of meaning. The case of metaphor is even clearer to establish the impossibility of synonymy within the proustian understanding of literary language. Two examples will be presented of sememe metaphors , in which the narrator of the Recherche develops all the semantic directions of the linguistic sign by the metaphorisation of the whole sememe. The word itself is at the origin of a process of metamorphosis of reality of which the metaphor is the textual result. It is from the word, as a total sign and as it lies within the artist s conscience, that all comparisons derive. Therefore the metaphor does not realize a process of semantic equivalence, it is not a synonym of a word or an expression because it is born from an evocation, from the resounding of a memory that words awake within the soul of the person who produces it. Indeed the proustian style reflects on reality a network of questions where all the potentialities of a meaning are activated. Under these conditions, for a writer to believe in the existence of synonymy is like treason against his duty as an artist, which is not to say trois fois à peu près la même chose , but to find a truth able to give way to that journey through the self that every reader is supposed to begin once the book is fnished.

Verna, M., Proust et l art de la langue. La synonymie comme idolâtrie linguistique, in Verna, M., Cigada, S. (ed.), La Sinonimia tra langue e parole nei codici italiano e francese, Vita e Pensiero, Milano 2008: 231- 254 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/1538]

Proust et l art de la langue. La synonymie comme idolâtrie linguistique

Verna, Marisa
2008

Abstract

Proust and the art of language. Synonymy as linguistic idolatry. In: SERGIO CIGADA E MARISA VERNA A CURA DI. in La Sinonimia tra langue e parole nei codici italiano e francese,. p. 231-254, MILANO: Vita e Pensiero The aim of this article is to analyze the impossibility of conceiving of the idea itself of synonymy within the proustian understanding of language and his esthetics. Since his first theoretical reflections on literary language, Proust considered meaning as the result of a complex dynamics, never established once and for all. In his notes to his translations of John Ruskin, the future author of the Recherche reproaches the English esthetician of looking for linguistic meaning where it cannot be found: in the dictionaries or in the history of words. In this attitude Proust sees the same sin of idolatry that Ruskin shares with Montesquiou and that leads to a confusion between art and life, meaning and words. This conception of language can be found in the Recherche at different levels. Two of these will be analyzed in this article: the language of the characters and the formation of metaphor. Within the language of the characters it is possible to observe various clue synonyms , or even implicit synonyms , marking meaning shifts, where the similarity of meaning at the level of langue is even more revealing of psychological truths that language ends up always exposing. Within this indirect language studied by Genette, it is clear that there is not just one synonym and that it could not be simply replaced by its equivalent in the dictionary without a serious loss of meaning. The case of metaphor is even clearer to establish the impossibility of synonymy within the proustian understanding of literary language. Two examples will be presented of sememe metaphors , in which the narrator of the Recherche develops all the semantic directions of the linguistic sign by the metaphorisation of the whole sememe. The word itself is at the origin of a process of metamorphosis of reality of which the metaphor is the textual result. It is from the word, as a total sign and as it lies within the artist s conscience, that all comparisons derive. Therefore the metaphor does not realize a process of semantic equivalence, it is not a synonym of a word or an expression because it is born from an evocation, from the resounding of a memory that words awake within the soul of the person who produces it. Indeed the proustian style reflects on reality a network of questions where all the potentialities of a meaning are activated. Under these conditions, for a writer to believe in the existence of synonymy is like treason against his duty as an artist, which is not to say trois fois à peu près la même chose , but to find a truth able to give way to that journey through the self that every reader is supposed to begin once the book is fnished.
Francese
La Sinonimia tra langue e parole nei codici italiano e francese
Verna, M., Proust et l art de la langue. La synonymie comme idolâtrie linguistique, in Verna, M., Cigada, S. (ed.), La Sinonimia tra langue e parole nei codici italiano e francese, Vita e Pensiero, Milano 2008: 231- 254 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/1538]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10807/1538
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