Proust at the Ballet: Literature and Dance in Dialogue

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This article examines French choreographer Roland Petit's ballet adaptation of À la recherche du temps perdu as an example of the little-researched interartistic relations between literature and dance. Drawing on translation theory and recent dance scholarship, it argues that Petit's ‘lecture dancée’, Proust ou les intermittences du cœur, offers a bold critical reading of the source text that challenges conservative public perceptions of Proust through its foregrounding of the darker side of human passions in the text and its focus on homosexuality as a major theme. By lifting the novel out of its traditional medium, the ballet brings to the fore aspects of the work that criticism tends to overlook: Proust's interest in the body in motion, the gestural and choreographic qualities of his writing, the marked theatricality of some of the text's most prominent scenes. Not bound by the strictures of faithfulness, Petit signs a performance that extracts Proustian ‘essences’ in the interstices between text and performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-198
JournalFrench Studies
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


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