Proustian afterlives: Paolo Sorrentino's La Grande Bellezza (2013)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter focuses on a hitherto neglected aspect of Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza (2013): its sustained intermedial dialogue with one of the masterpieces of literary modernism, Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927). If, at first glance, Sorrentino’s garish portrayal of Rome’s bella gente in the wake of the Berlusconi era seems to have little in common with Proust’s vast fresco of French life from the Belle Epoque to World War I and beyond, closer analysis reveals an intricate web of relations between the two works, manifested not only at the level of citations and themes, but also in the film’s narrative structure and self-reflexive aesthetic. A postmodern heir to both Fellini, to whom he is often compared, and the modernist Proust, I argue, Sorrentino’s film resonates with seminal Proustian preoccupations, most notably the conflict between mondanité and artistic vocation, the recovery of lost time through involuntary memory, and the interrogation of what constitutes genuine originality in the arts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLabours of Attention
Subtitle of host publicationWork, Class and Society in French and Francophone Literature and Culture: Essays for Edward J. Hughes
EditorsAdam Watt
PublisherLegenda/Modern Humanities Research Association
ISBN (Electronic)9781839540578
ISBN (Print)9781839540554, 9781839540561
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2022


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