Bucket's Reviews > Sodom and Gomorrah

Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust
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Dec 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 1001-read-all-editions, classic, culture, literary, love, reviewed, sex, world-lit
Read from February 13 to 22, 2012

This definitely feels like a mid-series book. The saga continues, there are new revelations and characters and event, but it picks up and leaves off in the thick of things.

The most important new theme in this volume is homosexuality and a surprising number of characters turn out to be homosexual or bisexual. I was put off my the description of what Proust calls 'inverts' at the beginning of this volume - he basically says inverted men are women and it's obvious when you see and hear them - as any modern reader would be.

But much of what followed was interesting. I'm intrigued by the Baron de Charlus' characteristics and power struggles, and I was amused by a few episodes related to this theme: M. Nissim Bernard and the tomato brothers, Morel repeatedly ditching the Prince de Guermantes, and Bloch's cousin and another woman causing a scene at a party.

The other new theme, which builds on the narrator's obsession with place-names and the emotions they evoke, is etymology. There is endless etymology in this volume (through Brichot) and the end result is the breakdown of meaning in place-names for the narrator.

The least interesting part of this volume is the narrator and his jealousy. His treatment of Albertine is (purposefully, I know) sophomoric and agonizing. I know that the next volume is going to focus on Albertine and the narrator's jealous and crazy love for her and I'm not too excited about it. The strands of the story that focus on social conventions and many of the other silly, strange, vain, neurotic, or even crazy characters are more interesting to me.

Themes: Parisian aristocratic social life at the turn of the 20th century, social structure, climbing (and falling) on the social ladder, love and conquest, homosexuality, jealousy, changes of heart, etymology
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02/14/2012 page 37
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