Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Proust Bloggers Go Forth

Time present and Time past:!5DF8DD15B45677F5!462.entry

Reading Proust on the Terrace:

The old German saying is, “Wie Gott im Frankreich.” Like God in France

1 comment:

Ann O'Dyne said...

I never expected to come across Proust at a Great Moments In Science website -

"Smell and Memory 1
Karl's put his nose to the grindstone and sniffed out the facts on the micro-mechanics of nasal functioning and how smell can trigger memories. (The placing of noses near moving grindstones is in no way recommended by ABC. It's a Karl thing.)

By Karl S. Kruszelnicki

Traditionally, we humans have five senses - they're smell, hearing, vision, touch and taste. But only two of these senses are based on chemicals - smell and taste. Smell and taste let us sample the chemicals around us for information. But smell is different from all the other senses in a very special way. A smell from your distant past can unleash a flood of memories that are so intense and striking that they seem real - and we're getting close to understanding why.

This kind of memory, where an unexpected re-encounter with a scent from the distant past brings back a rush of memories, is called a "Proustian Memory". It's named after Marcel Proust, one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century. He describes this phenomenon in the opening chapter of his novel Swan's Way, the first novel in his mammoth seven-part work, Remembrance Of Things Past.

He writes how the smell of a madeleine cake (a small, rich pastry) dipped into a lime-blossom tea, unleashed a rush of brilliantly-clear memory: "and as soon as I had recognised the taste of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me ... immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set ... and with the house the town, from morning to night and in all weathers, the Square where I used to be sent before lunch, the streets along which I used to run errands, the country roads we took when it was fine."