This article examines the way Beckett transcribes Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu mathematically in Proust (1931), his early essay on the French writer. It argues that the mathematico-scientific register Beckett chooses for his essay, evident from the very
beginning in the 'equation' with which it opens, is evidence not of the fundamental misreading of À la recherche du temps perdu that Proust has often been claimed to be, but rather a way of bringing Proust's stylistic and aesthetic concerns, notably in relation to metaphor,
to the attention of the reader. In particular, it suggests that Proust's narrator's adoption of the language of mathematics as the privileged language of the intellect in fact foregrounds his anti- intellectualism. Far from a violent distortion of the earlier writer's singularity, Proust
thus constitutes an essential point of entry into À la recherche du temps perdu.
Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.