William C. Carter Lecture


Location: 119 O'Shaughnessy Hall

William C. Carter Lecture - “Proust, the Writer: Mastering a Craft and Breaking a Taboo”

119 O'Shaughnessy Hall 5-7pm

Much has been written about the genesis of Proust’s great novel, In Search of Lost Time, and about his difficulty in finding a publisher, and the history of the novel’s editing and publication. Indeed, the debate continues today about whether this novel can be considered finished, and, if so, which version of The Fugitive (Albertine disparue) should be considered the definitive one. Yet no one has collected and examined the evolution of Proust’s ideas about the craft of writing, about what constitutes literature. Nor has anyone examined his decision to become the first author to break a taboo and depict the continuum of human sexuality by creating characters who are exclusive in their sexual orientation, those who are bisexual, and those who evolve during their lives from heterosexual to homosexual or vice versa. In his lecture, William Carter will make a strong case for Proust as the founder of Gay and Lesbian Studies and as one of the earliest proponents of gay marriage. The texts that he will draw upon come not only from Proust’s writings but from his letters, which span his lifetime, many constituting a journal of his apprenticeship as a novelist. William Carter’s work in this regard will be the basis for a new book whose working title is “Proust on the Craft of Writing.”

William C. Carter is a distinguished Proust scholar, author of critically acclaimed books as well as numerous articles: The Proustian Quest, Marcel Proust, a Life, Proust in Love.  William Carter was also project director and co-producer of the documentary film Marcel Proust: A Writer's Life, which aired nationally on PBS in 1993 and has won numerous awards.  William Carter is the creator of a new website on Proust, "devoted to studying and celebrating the life and works of Marcel Proust while enjoying what he calls 'the revealing smile of art.""

Recently retired from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, William Carter is still actively pursuing his research and participating in conferences abroad as well as in the United States.  An internationally recognized proust scholar, he is frequently interviewed about Proust and invited to lecture on him. 

Co-Sponsored by The Gender Studies Program Boehnen Fund for Excellence and The Genevieve D. Willis Endowment for Excellence