“In search of lost time”, Marcel Proust © SPARK

By exploring the particular subject of loss and mourning in Proust’s novel “A la recherche du temps perdu”, this soirée illustrates the visceral pleasure of reading Proust and the creative potential inherent in the process of mourning. It thereby outlines the significance of literary works in enhancing emotional development.

Time: 19.00 – 20.30 followed by an ‘apéritif dînatoire’. Door opening 18.30.

Location: SPARK, Schreberweg 8, 8044 Zurich.

Prerequisites: An open mind. No prior knowledge of Proust needed.

Language: English.

Registration:  Please contact Ariane, +41 79 317 11 11.

Description: Avantika Sujan, of philosophy club Secret Socrates, is in conversation with Dr Anna Elsner, Research Fellow in Modern French Literature and the Medical Humanities at King’s College London, and Serena Olgiati from SPARK,  on the theme of loss and mourning in Marcel Proust’s novel “A la recherche du temps perdu”.

Mourning is the emotional process triggered by the loss of a beloved person, but in the course of this evening, we also propose to re-think the Proustian meditation on mourning as applicable to the loss of intangible concepts, such as time, space and memory.

In particular, the speakers will discuss the following key points, which are at the heart of Dr Elsner’s forthcoming book on the subject:

1. Introducing the concept of mourning in psychoanalysis by considering Sigmund Freud’s writing on mourning.

2. Distinguishing, as Proust’s novel may be said to do, between the concepts of ‘anticipatory’ and ‘endless’ mourning.

3. How loss and forgetting contribute to the formation of memory and identity and are thus integral to self-development.

4. How mourning may be defined against or overlap with other concepts related to loss, such as grief, bereavement or nostalgia.

It will thereby function as a stepping stone to discussing the importance of loss for SPARK’s own work on personal development and self-becoming.