Nomi, parole e stili in Proust
This article is a reworking of the first chapter of a longer work yet to be published. It aims at retrieving an idea, which Proust formulated in 1913 and subsequently discarded, that is, the splitting of his oeuvre into “The Age of Names”, “The Age of Words”, and “The Age of Things”. Following this tripartite division, and reading it both diachronically and synchronically, I suggest that the language of the Recherche (and of art in general) should be understood as a conflictual interweaving of styles. A theory of styles does not only state the multiplicity of expressions, but attempts to identify different types of linguistic articulation, from which differing language-thought regimes are born. Alongside the re-evaluation of the importance of Names, this study suggests a reading of the aesthetic apprenticeship of the Recherche as the conquest of a style which, apart from being original (as it is bound to be), enhances the linguistic potential more directly through flexibility and metamorphosis. To be adequately understood, this perspective requires the contribution of the theory of literature and of philosophy.