31 December 2008
In preparation for my next book, The World of Madeleine Castaing, I have committed to reading Proust's magnum opus In Search of Lost Time. Castaing claimed to have read it a staggering 12 times and undoubtedly his poetic and descriptive prose played a part in Castaing's romantic interiors.
Proust can not be read in brief spurts, jammed into the subway ride on the way to work. It is not that it is intellectually rigorous, but rather that one needs the mental space to savor and meander along with his paragraph-long sentences.
The first volume, Swann's Way, introduces us to Proust's Aunt Leonie whose house (where Proust spent his summers) is conserved today as a museum in Illiers-Combray, France.
As part of my New Year's resolution to read more, I will be tuning out for the next few days and enjoying Proust and his madeleines. Bonne Annee!
All photos © Bernard Annebicque/CORBIS SYGMA