Daniela De Leo

The «petite phrase»: existential intersections

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In the present work, I bring the manuscripts of Merleau-Ponty into contact with the lecture of Marcel Proust with the intention of going over the relationship be¬tween philosophy and music. Merleau-Ponty exceeds the simple descriptive approach to music and makes it present as an "open field" in which the "nodes" of a philosophical interrogation disentangle themselves. The path is that of a philosophy which questions the conceptual faith but does expect an answer in the usual sense because it is not a question of revealing an unknown variable or invariable which will answer this question, and because the world exists in an interrogative mode. Merleau-Ponty in his Proust's lectures arrives at delimiting a deep relation between this type of philosophy and music, discovering in hearing the place where this relational texture is explicit made. So, what is clarified and revealed is the value of art understood not as lexical, not as a verbal substitute for the world, but as the possibility of leading the silence of things themselves to expression. The relation structure to be reversed: not philosophy in relation with music, but music in relation with philosophy. The theoretical affirmation is that the experience of the encounter with a work of art unveils a world. No sooner we stop seeing the work of art as an object and start seeing as a world, then we realize that art reveals itself to be expedient that clarifies the meaning of our perceptual relationship with the world, this perceptual syntony between the essence of the world and the sens of subjects, this expressive proces¬suality in which activity and passivity are horizons that can certainly be distinguished in description, but that cooperate internally. This is what happens in the "petite phrase" to Swann, as very source of thought, the moment when it emerges.


  • Perceptual Relationship
  • Philosophy
  • Music
  • Petite Phrase
  • Manuscripts


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