Spring 2015, All-level

Who is this program for?

Students who love to read, want to engage for 10 weeks with arguably the greatest novel of the 20th century, and are eager to undertake their own original research and writing on memory.


Faculty: Stacey Davis, x6761, Sem2 C3104, davisst@evergreen.edu

Sam Schrager, x6335, Sem2 C2110, schrages@evergreen.edu


How does memory shape our identity and sense of the world? This inquiry explores the interplay of personal and collective experience in forming the narratives people tell about their pasts. It looks at strategies for representing repressed aspects of the past in communities and societies. We will take Marcel Proust’s masterpiece of modern literature, In Search of Lost Time, as focus and inspiration for examining these issues. Proust crystallized key psychological, cultural and sociological concerns of the emerging “modern age”; to put his novel in context, we’ll study fin-de-siècle European and intellectual history and thinkers. We’ll also study recent folklore, nonfiction, fiction, and films that offer powerful insights into dynamics of memory.


Students will create their own original research and writing on memory-in-action—crafting a memoir, an oral history, fieldwork in a community, or a textual or library-based investigation of an historical or cultural memory-topic that grows out of our studies. You’ll develop a polished piece with guidance from faculty and dialogue with peers. We support senior thesis projects. Students proficient in French will be able to read portions of Proust in French if they wish.


Required texts:

Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time (6-pack), tr. Moncrieff-Kilmartin-Enright. Modern Library, 2003. We urge you to get the 6 volume boxed set, which includes a fine guide to characters, places and themes. We’ll assign 1/3+ of the 4000+ pp, across the arc of the novel. You’ll have the full text to read/reread in the future.

Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space 1880-1918. Harvard U. Press, 2003.

Patrick Modiano, Dora Bruder. U. California Press, 2015.

Octavia Butler, Kindred. Holt McDougal Library, 2004.

Plus short articles and book chapters available as pdfs on the program website.


Weekly schedule:


9:30-11:00                  Lecture/Discussion                                              Sem2 D3105

1:00-3:00                     Proust Seminar                                                      Sem2 D2107, D2109


9:30-12:30                  Reading/Workshop on Ancillary Texts    Sem2 D1105


9:30-11:30                  Proust Seminar                                                      Sem2 D2107, D2109

12:00-1:15                  Research/Writing Methods                           Sem2 D2107, D2109

1:30-4:00                      Film/Discussion                                                    Sem2 D1105


First meeting: Monday, March 30, in Sem2 D3105. Read Swann’s Way (Proust, vol. 1), pp. 1-64, prior to class. Read to p. 186 for Thursday.