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31 December 2008

Proust for the New Year


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

6 comments:

Janet said...

Happy ready...and may your adventures with Proust be rewarding! Happy new year! xo.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Oh, Emily. I will try again.

p.s. I read Gone with the Wind seven times in junior high, does that count?

p.p.s. can't wait for the next book, but I bet RR will still be on my bedside table when it's published.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Mrs. Blandings, Proust isn't working out so well. I really need to white knuckle it. You might have to keep RR on the bedside table for a looooooong time by the rate I'm going. I guess I'll just use Scarlet's philosophy of tomorrow is another day (how did it go?)...EEE

Mrs. Blandings said...

That's it exactly. Oddly, I'm a bit relieved you have not been shut in your room reading from dawn to dusk. But I do wish you luck.

Toby Worthington said...

My feeling about Proust wass that if you can get past the first nearly hallucinatory 55 pages you are home free. But in fact the real stumbling block is Swann's Way itself. It paves the way for MP's relentless dissection of society and obsessive love, but isn't half so satisfying as the following volumes. (May we assume you've got Swann out of the way at this point in time?)

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Oh Toby, if only! I have 100 pages left of Swann's Way - but knowing that there are treasures on the horizon is tremendously encouraging. EEE