Monday, October 1, 2012

The Occasional Series of Ideas for Papers on John Kennedy Toole, Part 14

Thesis #14: Toole and Proust via Waugh

In an article on Waugh and Proust ("Remembrance of Things Past: Proustian Elements in Evelyn Waugh 's Brideshead Revisited," Evelyn Waugh Newsletter, vol. 18, no. 3, 1984, pp. 1-5), Hodgson discusses Waugh's intertextual references to Proust's work in Brideshead Revisited. For his part, Ignatius in Confederacy declares that he has Proustian qualities.

New Orleans was famous for mocking nobility. (See Tallant's Mardi Gras for an tale about mocking the Russian Archduke, and then read Mitchell's book All on a Mardi Gras Day for a refutation of Tallent's story.) Old families of New Orleans had a sense of entitlement that was fading, but the Carnival element of New Orleans culture simultaneously celebrates that desire for nobility and mocks it. For their part, Waugh and Proust both mourned the loss of the refined, aristocratic culture of the 19th century.

Thesis: How does the relationship between Waugh and Proust alter the burlesquing of a longing for medieval traditions that one finds in Confederacy? One could throw in a discussion of the theme of the visual arts and art criticism from Proust, Brideshead, and Confederacy.