Volume 8, 2008
Phenomenology and Literature
Architectonic and Myth Time
Merleau-Ponty’s Proust in The Visible and the Invisible
In a Working Note to The Visible and the Invisible, Merleau-Ponty uses the fine phraseology of an “architectonic past” and a “mythical time” to describe Proust’s remembrances of things past. This paper first considers how this architectonic past sheds light on Merleau-Ponty’s ontology, and second how this results in a mythical time, which is an originary encounter with this past. Paying also attention to Merleau-Ponty’s final, completed reflections on “Swann’s Way,” Volume One of Remembrances of Things Past, I suggest that by exposing the inner-connection between the two senses of time, Proust is highly significant for Merleau-Ponty’s thesis of “reversibility”. Proustian remembrances are used by Merleau-Ponty not to expose an inwardness, but something that is withdrawn and behind the sensible. The way in which these remembrances operate in myth time bespeaks of a memorial dimension of the past of being itself.