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Proust remarked that the artist’s task is to activate different modes of attending within the beholder and to create new ones. Attention as an object of inquiry in Proust, however, has been largely ignored since it is associated with the pitfalls of voluntary memory. The author theorized conscious volition as a dead end when it comes to arriving at the truth of things—for instance, other people's desires, finding the topic of one’s novel, or even the remembrance of our past selves. And yet Proust has a lot to tell us about the ways in which attention works if we do not restrict its definition to a sole variety, that is, as the expression of individual focus. Drawing on the works of Marion Milner, Donald Winnicott, and Bernard Stiegler, this talk will attend to the forms Proustian attention takes and ponder how these attachments to the world make life worth living.

John D'Amico is visiting assistant professor of French at Agnes Scott College. All members of the campus community are welcome to attend this event.

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  • Cassidy Caven

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