This work intends to analyse Walter Benjamin’s concept of sadism in Marcel Proust’s Recherche taking Benjamin’s explicit referencies to Beyond pleasure principle. Escaping both from a “psychobiographic” interpretation and from the proustian idea of sadism itself, Benjamin resorts to Freud to offer a stimulating and complex interpretation of one of the most important and commented pieces of literature of our century. In this perspective, Benjamin’s interpretation focuses not the famous scenes of sadism in Recherche, but the insaciable and, in the edge, sado-masochist “curiosity” of the “narrator”. Taking this interpretation to the field of cultural analysis, Benjamin reveals the radical traces of social critics in Proust: the “death instinct” as an organizer of social relationship in capitalism.
Narration; curiosity; sadism; “instinct”; will of knowledge