What can Dante tell us about Proust, and what can Proust tell us about Dante? In this book, Hartley follows a process of analogy, reading Dante’s Divine Comedy and Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu in light of one another in order to offer new insights into both works. Navigating Dante and Proust’s different literary and historical contexts, as well as the rich body of scholarship that their works have generated, Hartley explores in particular their treatments of subjectivity, authorship, and vocation. The book’s comparative perspective brings a unique contribution to such debated issues as the universality of Dante’s poem, Proust’s elevation of art, and the relationship between gender and literary authority.
Julia Hartley is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick.
‘Hartley’s erudite, persuasive, and reader-friendly book is a powerful debut, an irresistible invitation to love literature. I confidently look forward to her future work.’ — Thomas Pavel, Modern Philology 24 August 2020 (full text online)
‘Hartley’s book contributes significantly to the fields of Dante and Proust stu- dies. Moreover, it is persuasive in demonstrating the rich productive potential of this dynamic, interactive approach, setting an important example for literary comparisons to come.’ — Valentina Mele, Modern Language Review 115.4, October 2020, 891-92 (full text online)
‘By practicing a meticulous close reading of selected passages from both the Commedia and the Recherche, Hartley’s intention is to read Dante in light of Proust and Proust in light of Dante, in a continuous change of perspective that keeps the interpreter’s attention receptive enough to uncover, in each author, thematic and stylistic aspects that would not otherwise have been noticed... A stimulating methodological contribution to the field of comparative literature.’ — Alessandra Aloisi, H-France20.204, November 2020
‘A scholar who grew up in a trilingual family (English, Italian, French) and who therefore can slip smoothly from one linguistic world to another, Julia Caterina Hartley performs an exquisitely comparatist analysis in Reading Dante and Proust by Analogy. Hartley’s conclusions are quite unexpected and shed new light on two authors who share more than one might think: Alighieri, as a medieval writer who anticipates modernity, and Proust, as a modern writer who engages with the weight of the past... In sum, this book is a meticulous comparative work at its best.’ — Ilaria Serra, Speculum 96.2, 2021, 509-10
‘En plus d’être une brillante étude comparée de Proust et de Dante, ce livre offre un fin plaidoyer pour la littérature comparée considérée autant comme un art de la critique que comme une forme de critique littéraire... L’objectif est atteint, les deux œuvres sont lues ‘afresh’, dans une urgente réciprocité.’ — Hugues Azérad, French Studies 76.1, January 2022, 129–30 (full text online)
‘An enlightening, original, and powerful book, addressed to Dante scholars and Proust scholars, as well as comparatists and scholars of literature in general... Besides the simple fact that Hartley’s work gives us the pleasure of looking at two masterpieces together, with an elegant and enjoyable style, this volume is an important example of how comparative literature, across space and time, can tell us something new even on texts about which everything has already been said, and on literary structures in general, by finely combining close and distant reading.’ — Serena Vandi, Italian Studies 77.2, 2022, 202-03 (full text online)