Processes of Literary Creation
Flaubert and Proust

Marion Schmid

Legenda (General Series)


1 May 1998  •  234pp

ISBN: 1-900755-06-8 (paperback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85


This book examines the genetic processes that shaped two of the great literary masterpieces of modernity: Flaubert's L'Education sentimentale and Proust's A la recherche de temps perdu. A detailed investigation of Flaubert's notebooks and scenarios from 1864 to 1869 and Proust's cahiers from 1908 to 1911 reveals the almost diametrically opposed ways in which the two novels evolved in their early stages. By challenging certain 'modernist' readings of Flaubert, and inviting a rethinking of Proust, the author demonstrates that genetic studies have a direct bearing on the interpretation of literary texts. Processes of Literary Creation contains a thorough review and assessment of genetic criticism which makes it particularly valuable for students and scholars unfamiliar with the genetic method. The main body of the book will be of interest to students and specialists of Flaubert and Proust alike.

Marion Schmid is a Lecturer in French at the University of Edinburgh.


  • ‘This is an excellent, scholarly analysis with insights both for the specialist and the non-genetic scholar.’ — notice, The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies 60, 1998, 164
  • ‘A penetrating and valuable contribution to genetic scholarship.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 37.1, 2001, 110-11
  • ‘Represents a formidable amount of research... a very substantial and fruitful study on all counts.’ — Nola M. Leov, New Zealand Journal of French Studies 22.1, 2001, 29
  • ‘A painstaking and perceptive account... Schmid defends genetic criticism against Bourdieu's charge that it marks a return to the positivism of traditional literary historiography. Her own application of genetic theories of composition is measured and nuanced, and throws up many insights.’ — Edward J. Hughes, Modern Language Review 95.3, 2000, 843-4 (full text online)
  • ‘Intriguingly, Proust had placed medical prescriptions centre-stage in one of the drafts for the opening line of the novel... Nuggets such as this feature in Schmids study, in which she meticulously explains genetic criticism, before uncovering two contrasting compositional styles.’ — Edward Hughes, Times Literary Supplement 21 May, 1999, 8
  • ‘As well as containing detailed analysis of two radically opposed writing practices, the work is especially valuable in setting out the main issues in genetic studies.’ — Larry Duffy, French Studies LIV.2, 2000, 233-4
  • ‘Schmid's analysis sheds new light on the organizational intricacies of these canonical texts, which may encourage even scholars of Flaubert and Proust to reread, in hopes of appreciating the subtle patterns she uncovers.’ — Hollie Markland Harder, French Review 77.5, April 2004, 990-1

Bibliography entry:

Schmid, Marion, Processes of Literary Creation: Flaubert and Proust (Cambridge: Legenda, 1998)

First footnote reference: 35 Marion Schmid, Processes of Literary Creation: Flaubert and Proust (Cambridge: Legenda, 1998), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Schmid, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Schmid, Marion. 1998. Processes of Literary Creation: Flaubert and Proust (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Schmid 1998: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Schmid 1998: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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