COLT Senior Theses Presentations

Comparative Literature Theses Presentations

Thursday, May 28, 2020
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Please contact Gerd Gemünden, chair or Elizabeth Cassell, administrator for the Zoom link.

Time Regained in the Great War
Joseph Estrada

Time Regained, Marcel Proust's meditation on the passage of time and the power of art to immortalize what is no longer, encourages us to consider the interplay of literature, history, and memory. Because the novel takes World War I as it's defining historical period, we might find it difficult to characterize the work as purely a piece of literature or history. How, then, can one situate this text that seems to have one foot in the realm of history, one in the realm of literature, and all of it regarding memory? To broach this question, my thesis situates Time Regained in relationship to the concept of sites of memory: physical and symbolic locations that influence a society's remembering of the past. Time Regained, as I argue, synthesizes literary and historical elements to take on a functional valence similar to that of many other sites of memory following the War. To examine the implications of this argument and how Time Regained might nuance a study of the literature and history of World War I, I provide a reading of the text that emphasizes its implicit connection between the physical destruction of the War and the moral undoing of society.

Lawrence Kritzman, Professor, French & Italian
Darrin McMahon, Professor, History