• Alison Criddle

Student thesis: Phd


Three female protagonists-Madeleine Elster of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958), Céleste Albaret of Percy Adlon's Céleste (1980), and Ariane of Chantal Akerman's La Captive (2000)-are considered as the three Proustian women who form the tripart body of this thesis. In approaching them as such, the research has at its origin in the sensory encounter of the notorious 'madeleine moment' of Marcel Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu, in which the taste of a morsel of cake dipped in tea expands memory, collapses linear time, and from which the voluminous novel blooms. Transcribed, translated, and transposed from the literary experiences of the reader's encounter with Proust's writing, text transcends the page and the encounter becomes visual in the form of the moving image of film. These three filmed women all differ: the first, Hitchcock's dizzying, dazzling Hollywood siren of San Francisco, lifted from the pages of a Parisian detective novel; the next, a German reincarnation of Proust's devoted housekeeper, drawn from her own words, recorded fifty years after his death; the third, a closely-watching memory-making woman-loving nomadic director's nod to the Search's captivating Albertine Simmonet. To experience this trinity in contiguous proximity to one another through Proust is to enter a sensorial spiral in which time, bodies, text, and vision press up against one another in a movement that has the power to be as unsteadying as it can be pleasurable. Immersed in Madeleine Time, the time of these three Proustian women, allows for a consideration of the author's life-in-writing, the Narrator's waiting, and the reader's own place in relation to the textual encounter. Madeleine Time is shown to suspend and sustain, nourish and withhold, prevent and provoke, to move.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCarol Mavor (Supervisor) & Mark Crinson (Supervisor)


  • Proust
  • Film

Cite this