The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

Rereading Proust in 2019

Start Date and Time:

Friday, November 15, 2019, 3:00PM

End Date and Time:

Friday, November 15, 2019, 5:00PM


Antoine Compagnon

Rereading Proust in 2019? Whose reading? Who is reading the Recherche du temps perdu? I am celebrating fifty years of reading Proust, remembering my first reading of Proust’s novel more than half a century ago. That sounds like a very long time. Proust died in 1922.  When I read him in 1967-69, that was less than fifty years after his death. The interval, the span of time between Proust’s death and my first reading of the Recherche was shorter than the years I have lived with Proust, alongside the Recherche, reading and rereading it all over again, editing it, teaching it. And the cultural, epistemological context of each reading has been profoundly different. Can one recover the original emotion?

Antoine Compagnon has been professor at Columbia University since 1985 and at the Collège de France since 2006, where he holds the Chair in French Modern and Contemporary Literature. His research interests span Sixteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century French literature and literary theory and history of criticism.  He is the author of two novels and over twenty volumes of seminal essays on major writers from Montaigne to Proust, a number of which were translated into English: Proust entre deux siècles (trans. 1992); Les Cinq Paradoxes de la Modernité (trans. 1994); Démon de la théorie (trans. 2004); La littérature, pour quoi faire? (trans. 2014); Un été avec Montaigne (trans. 2019).  He also co-authored The Death of French Culture with Donald Morrison (2010) and edited numerous works by Marcel Proust.

Antoine Compagnon has been granted the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from King’s College London, HEC in Paris and the University of Liège He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academia Europaea and corresponding fellow of the British Academy. He has been awarded by France the decorations of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, Officier de l’ordre national du Mérite, Commandeur de l’ordre des Palmes académiques and Officier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres.


  • Centre for the Study of France and the Francophone World (CEFMF)
  • Dept. of French

Contact Information

Rebecca Blanchard

Centre for the Study of France and the Francophone World


Emmanuel College, Room 001, 75 Queen's Park view full map




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