2018: Our Year of Reading Proust discussion

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message 1: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Tell us a little bit about yourself- your background, why you have chosen to read Proust, what you hope to achieve in reading...


message 2: by Lori (last edited Jan 01, 2018 05:26AM) (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
I'm Lori. I joined the 2017 Year of Reading Proust and wasn't able to keep up with the reading! I am hoping to have more success this year.

I've spent a fair amount of time studying Proust- in college, and on my own-- the bookshelf pictured at the top is actually my own, biographies and readings I've browsed over the years. I am reading the Recherche in English -because it's much easier for me to understand- but with the French nearby. I'm not fluent in French but I do love to see the original words. Sometimes it's enough to simply read them aloud and enjoy the flow.

I hope I'm able to read further this year. I've always been fascinated with Proust's use of language (I studied deconstruction in my past) and have read with a close explication du texte approach. Having said that, such a close reading of the text is sometimes counter to one's ability to read the narrative with an appreciation of the larger themes. So I hope to be able to open my mind to such a reading.


message 3: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 7 comments Lori, I'm so happy you created this group - THANK YOU! I read Swann's way a couple of years ago and loved it. I can't wait to reread it with the group and embark on the rest of the Recherche throughout the year. It has been a high priority for me for years. I intend also to absorb some critical texts and supplementary books such as Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time and Monsieur Proust's Library. I would be happy to help out in any way you need with moderating and whatnot.

Happy New Year and cheers to Proust in 2018!

Best wishes,
Kristen


message 4: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Kristen wrote: "Lori, I'm so happy you created this group - THANK YOU! I read Swann's way a couple of years ago and loved it. I can't wait to reread it with the group and embark on the rest of the Recherche throug..."

Thank you for joining the group! I welcome your assistance- thanks so much for offering.

I've added the two books you mentioned to a folder called Critical Reading.


message 5: by Dan (new)

Dan Up to six group members. I read it a hike ago, in the 1990’s when the updated translation was published in 3 volumes. And I read Swann’s Way twice more over the past decade or so. I hope the group is active and less worried about “keeping up” and more focused on enjoying the tale.

The first section, before we get to The narrator in Combray as a child, is a tough read for first timers. Th re is really no ay to know when this was written, and it is not a straight forward narrative. Instead it is an Overture. If you have read all seven books, these first fifty or so pages are both remarkable and a enjoyable summary of the following seven books.

I’d almost suggest skipping this section for a first time reader. Proust had to self publish this first novel, probably because no publisher could figure out what the hell was going on, or because it was 50 pages of some one falling asleep and waking up.

Proust clearly knew his ending, and much of the following books before he started. I don’t think he did this just to confuse readers.


message 6: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "Up to six group members. I read it a hike ago, in the 1990’s when the updated translation was published in 3 volumes. And I read Swann’s Way twice more over the past decade or so. I hope the group ..."

Great post, thanks Dan. A reminder to 1. enjoy the process. and 2. give yourself permission to skip the beginning- you can return later and read it with more understanding!


message 7: by Paula (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 5 comments Lori wrote: "Kristen wrote: "Lori, I'm so happy you created this group - THANK YOU! I read Swann's way a couple of years ago and loved it. I can't wait to reread it with the group and embark on the rest of the ..."

Hi everyone! Familiar faces from other groups. 😀

Lori, thank you for creating this space. I look forward to reading with all of you.

With regard to the supplemental reading, I can heartily recommend William C. Carter's biography, which, in addition to comprehensively presenting Proust to us, also does an excellent job of weaving in the many influences that art, music, architecture, and literature had on his development/evolution as a person and as a writer. I think it's magnificently written.

And so readable. I couldn't put it down.

I also have Paintings in Proust, which is not only an informative resource, but also a beautifully produced book.


message 8: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Hi Paula
Welcome and thanks for joining us!

I have put the Carter biography and Paintings in Proust (the latter also recommended by Kristen) here at this link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...
Feel free to add any other links here.

I totally agree- the Carter is wonderful- I too couldn't put it down.

talk soon...


message 9: by Ellie (new)

Ellie Steele | 1 comments Hi everyone! I’m new to Proust but have been meaning to read this for years. I’m on maternity leave with my second daughter and taking advantage of the hours trapped under a baby to finally read it. I’m going for the original French, so may be a little slow. I’m also hoping that reading in a group will mean I don’t miss anything crucial if my language skills let me down (I lived in France for a year when I was a student but that was a while ago!). Good to meet you all!


message 10: by MJD (new)

MJD | 5 comments Hello everyone. I bought the Modern Library kindle version of the book last year and slowly read the first volume. I am happy to have found this group to help get me through the rest of the book this year.


message 11: by Ben (new)

Ben | 6 comments I was a member of the 2014 group that read ISOLT and although I joined late (after my retirement in Sept '14), I enjoyed following the discussions as I went along and managed to catch up with the rest of the group before the end. This so inspired me that I then enrolled for the MOST fantastic Proust tour to Paris (and various other places mentioned in ISOLT, such as Illiers-Combray, Cabourg-Balbec, etc) under the expert guidance of Prof Bill Carter, Proust's biographer, together with his assistant and photographer, Nicolas Drogoul. I can highly recommend their website and online course to any would-be Proust readers:
http://www.proust-ink.com
I do not necessarily want to commit to a full re-read at this stage, although it's definitely on the agenda for the future. I would like to dip into the discussions from time to time, though, just to keep myself up to date. Furthermore, I acquired the first two volumes edited by Prof Carter and have been waiting for an opportunity to get stuck into them. That's why I've decided to join this group.


message 12: by Paula (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 5 comments Ben wrote: "I was a member of the 2014 group that read ISOLT and although I joined late (after my retirement in Sept '14), I enjoyed following the discussions as I went along and managed to catch up with the r..."

Hello Ben, I was going to ask the group if anyone was familiar with the online course. It's something I've been looking at for about a year. Can you talk about it a little?


message 13: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 7 comments Paula wrote: "Ben wrote: "I was a member of the 2014 group that read ISOLT and although I joined late (after my retirement in Sept '14), I enjoyed following the discussions as I went along and managed to catch u..."

I'm also curious about the online course. It's a bit of an investment, so I'm interested in first-hand impressions.


message 14: by Ben (new)

Ben | 6 comments Paula and Kristen both enquired about the online course by Prof Carter that I referred to in my message #11 above. While I am not an agent for Proust-Ink, I can state that it is a very, very comprehensive self-paced course, comprising 30 lectures of 1 hour each, each presented by Prof Carter, together with a wealth of additional material and comments. He is, of course, the author of the recognised definitive biography on Proust and shares the wealth of his erudition in an easy and accessible manner during the course. But you are correct, Kristen, that it is a bit of an investment, which I only made after I finished reading it the first time. Having said that, remember that you are in any event making quite an investment, time-wise, in embarking on this exercise, so perhaps you should first get started on the reading and see how it appeals to you, before making the additional investment in the online course.


message 15: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 7 comments Great advice, Ben, thank you. I have already read Swann's Way before 2 years ago and really loved it (after the first section as you allude to in the thread 'How's it going?'). :D So I'm eager for a refresh on SW so I can move on to the second volume as soon as I can. I'll see how it goes before committing to the on-line course.


message 16: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Welcome Ellie, MJD and Ben!


message 17: by Paula (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 5 comments I've read ISOLT in its entirety, and fell in love with it, but I knew at the time that I was only skimming the surface of all that was there. I think I will be investing in the course very soon.

The Carter bio is really magnificent.


message 18: by Louise (new)

Louise Hello everyone. I have just joined this group because I need encouragement, lol. One of my reading goals for 2018 is to finally read my beautiful leather-bound 7-volume Proust collection in French. My collection is 3181 pages in all so my aim is to read 9 pages per day. It sounds easy enough....

I am bilingual but 95% of my reading is in English. Still, I am committed to reading Proust in the original French but it is tough going because no one speaks this way today. I am presently on page 139 and I'm struggling. and considering giving up because there are so many good books waiting to be read (Ulysses being another one of my goals). So I'm here, hoping this group can help me to stick with it.

The course Ben suggested sounds interesting and might help me along because I love a structured course and that might help me keep on track so I'm going to go check that out as well.

How is everyone else doing so far?


message 19: by Ben (new)

Ben | 6 comments Louise wrote: "I am presently on page 139 and I'm struggling. and considering giving up because there are so many good books waiting to be read . . ."

Louise, please don't leave us yet! Your decision to read ISOLT in the original French is a brave one, but I'm sure you'll find the eventual reward worth the effort.

In the meantime, here are some Pins about Combray, just to keep you motivated:
https://za.pinterest.com/0dx56ysmcpm1...



message 20: by Louise (last edited Jan 14, 2018 02:47PM) (new)

Louise Thanks Ben. I decided to indulge myself and I just signed up for the online course at Proust Ink. I figure if I'm going to do this, I might as well do it right.

I also bought the ebook (for a whopping $1.41) in French. So now, instead of reading from my big heavy tomes, I can read on my ereader which also means really easy access to a dictionary for any word that stumps me (of which there are many). That should make things easier.


message 21: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Hi Louise- welcome and so glad you are continuing on! I too am reading in the French (though I'm not bilingual) with the English nearby. I totally get what you're saying about how challenging it is. It's a zen experience to read- taking pleasure sentence by sentence. When I think about the schedule in a broader sense I too think of giving up. I hope I can push through by thinking of the reading in this way. And I'm going to start reading a little bit every day rather than saving the reading for the weekend. Yesterday was a long haul to get through the reading chunk!

Were you reading from the Pleiade? If so I'm happy to share with you the page numbers in this edition that correlate with those in the English Viking, both for the reading schedule, and on a more micro scale i.e. I've e notated page numbers in the margin from both editions (English and French) so that I can go back and forth easily. Since the syntax is tough-going sometimes, this enables me to read the sentence in the French but catch the drift better in the English.

Last, would you mind sending me the link for the e-book?


message 22: by Louise (new)

Louise Oh my, reading it in French when you don't speak French must be really challenging! I'm feeling challenged enough as it is.

My leather set is Gallimard 1968. Here is a set just like mine:
https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Book...

This is the ebook I bought for $1.41

https://www.kobo.com/ca/fr/ebook/a-la...

My pages don't seem to correspond to the ones posted here, nor the one on Proust Ink but I can moreorless guess.

And yeah, I have learned to stick to my 9 pages (12 pages on my ereader) per day, because if I skip a day or two, then I have to read in a big chunk and big Proustian chunks are tough going.


message 23: by Lori (last edited Jan 15, 2018 08:31AM) (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
I learned French by reading Proust, so it's easier than if I only knew today's French and not his. And read it through once in French, so it's not all that bad.

The Gallimard certainly are big books! My Pleaide have tissue thin pages- 3 volumes. I can't figure out how to insert a photo directly into a post but here's the link: https://www.goodreads.com/photo/group...


message 24: by Louise (new)

Louise That looks like a nice set. I started with the one big paperback that I got from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/2070...

but the writing was too small for these aging eyes. Another plus with reading on the ereader now. I can make the font as big as I like :-)


message 25: by Mary (new)

Mary | 9 comments I have wanted to read Proust since celebrating his birthday with madeleines a few years ago.
I started reading, in the new year, the first vol of the new Penguin translations.
I have looked through the reading schedule - thanks for setting that up as a way to keep on track.
Also, the related readings look interesting, especially the book on art.
Alons-y!!


message 26: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Welcome Mary Anne! We're so glad you are joining us!


message 27: by Louise (new)

Louise Mary wrote: "I have wanted to read Proust since celebrating his birthday with madeleines a few years ago.
..."


Yay!!! You joined!


message 28: by Ayşe (new)

Ayşe (1kitap1sokak) | 2 comments Hello Proust lovers😊 I’m glad i found this group.
I’m from Turkey. I’m reading the series Turkish obviously.
I’ve started my Proust journey in January with Swann’s Way. Now i’m reading the 4th book Sodom and Gomorra. How about you? How is it going to read?

Have a nice readings 🌺


message 29: by Ayşe (new)

Ayşe (1kitap1sokak) | 2 comments I also have a Booktube Channel in youtube. I comment the books I read and Marcel Proust’s 3 books there.
The link is below:

https://youtu.be/BFmelafwlB4 ( Swann’s Way #1)

https://youtu.be/TNjSCLKqoAk ( Book #2 and #3)


message 30: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 202 comments I was in the previous group; I've read Proust since I was ten years old and found it by accident, and am currently going through it again. Yes, many (older) French scholars say that It Is Not The Same...interesting; the same could be said to apply to English, no?


message 31: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (k_llyi) | 8 comments Hi everyone! I'm Kelly and I'm about to embark on reading this and joined because I wanted to share the journey.

I read _Cities of the Plain_ in a course back in graduate school and must have made it partway through _Swann's Way_ a few years ago, and I'm excited to read the whole thing start to finish. I'm going to use the grey 3 volume Moncrieff/Kilmartin-translated Vintage edition, and I've been preparing by reading a reader's guide and _Paintings in Proust_.

Looking forward to reading along with everyone!


message 32: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Hi everyone! I'm Kelly and I'm about to embark on reading this and joined because I wanted to share the journey.

I read _Cities of the Plain_ in a course back in graduate school and must have made..."


Welcome Kelly! so glad you've joined us!


message 33: by April (last edited Jun 04, 2018 08:35PM) (new)

April | 245 comments Hi everyone! I have read by far to the first chap of book II.

I read it in the past, and this is the second time to read it. English is my second language.

I love to ask questions.


message 34: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 202 comments Ask away!


message 35: by April (new)

April | 245 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Ask away!"

Thanks!


message 36: by Francine (new)

Francine Kopun | 5 comments I just found this group and I hope there are still some active members. I am halfway through Swann’s Way in English, Moncrieff. Interested to know if anyone else is reading The Moncrieff translation and if so, why?


message 37: by April (new)

April | 245 comments I'm reading The Moncrieff translation.

Why, because it is classical, I think. But it is not the only version I am reading, I have the online version, another hard copy, reading the three concurrently.


message 38: by Francine (new)

Francine Kopun | 5 comments Do you have a favourite?


message 39: by April (last edited Aug 28, 2018 01:36PM) (new)

April | 245 comments Hard to say.

The three versions which I use when I meet difficulties and couldn't seem to figure out what the sentence means, at these times, do have a little bit of differences, I like the version which makes sense to me. All three versions have helped me at times.


message 40: by Guy (new)

Guy Aron | 6 comments April wrote: "I'm reading The Moncrieff translation.

Why, because it is classical, I think. But it is not the only version I am reading, I have the online version, another hard copy, reading the three concurren..."


Francine wrote: "I just found this group and I hope there are still some active members. I am halfway through Swann’s Way in English, Moncrieff. Interested to know if anyone else is reading The Moncrieff translatio..."

6 months later -- I have just started on the Penguin Classics translation. I am a little way through the Lydia Davis volume, The Way by Swann's. (Apparently this was not her choice for the title.) Years ago I read the Scott Moncrieff, with the updates by Enright & Kilmartin. I also have the 1934 Random House translation, which I suspect is the Scott Moncrieff minus the updates.


message 41: by David (new)

David Johnson | 3 comments Lori, is it time to change the name of this discussion group? Here are some suggestions:
a) 2019: Our Year of Reading Proust
b) Our Year of Reading Proust
c) Our Lifetime of Reading Proust
d) Our Proust Reading Lifetime
e) Our Life with [Marcel] Proust
f) other...


message 42: by Guy (new)

Guy Aron | 6 comments I didn't have time to say hi before! My name is Guy and I am a 64 year old retired librarian. Rereading Proust is now on my bucket list and I have set the year aside to, I hope, get this done faster than my first traversal. I have the editions mentioned in my first post, and also Clive James' verse commentary on Proust, Gate of lilacs (see https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/... ). This is a pretty unusual book on Proust, but manages to convey the flavour of this great novel very effectively.

I agree the name could be changed to reflect the fact that the group continues to be active. No preferences among the suggestions so far!


message 43: by April (new)

April | 245 comments I agree.


message 44: by FEDERICO TREJOS (new)

FEDERICO TREJOS | 3 comments Hi everyone I’m finishing Sean’s way, finding Proust fabulous a true scientist of life, detail & reality. Hope to make some new good literary friends. I love all sorts of literary strains and write poetry since long ago. Greetings!!


message 45: by Nidhi (new)

Nidhi Kumari Hi
I am Nidhi from India. I am new at Goodreads and recently found this group because i wanted to read Proust and its not easy to read him persistently alone. So i am very happy to find this group. But its August 2019, what should i do? Have all of you finished reading?


message 46: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 202 comments Proust eases you in, as it were. "Swann's Way" is in conventional novel form, and pretty easy to follow. After that he gets more complex. Read slowly. Re-read, re-re-read, re-re-re-read, etc.


message 47: by Guy (new)

Guy Aron | 6 comments I have had a few months off from Proust, after announcing my intention to re-read ISOLT this year. This was partly due to ill-health (the famous Proustian excuse), partly due to joining a book group and having other stuff to read. However, I am currently reading Chasing Lost Time, by Jean Findlay, a wonderful biography of C K Scott Moncrieff. This is easing me back into the Proustian ethos. (It also contains some interesting details about how he made the translation.) So I am setting myself another goal; after I have finished this book, I will make every second book I read one of the ISOLT cycle.

So Nidhi, you aren't alone! The advice you have received above is very sound. For me, I find it essential to force myself to really concentrate on and follow Proust's argument, no matter how lengthy the sentences. I say this because he writes in a way that may appear rhapsodic, but is actually extemely logical, in what I think of of as a very French way. So if part of a passage hasn't quite sunk in, and it's easy to allow that to happen, it won't all make sense.


message 48: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 202 comments Colette herself was a magnificent writer, but her 3rd (and only good) husband Maurice Goudeket gives us a picture of her eagerly reading every volume of ISOLT as it came out, while saying the French equivalent of "Damn, I wish I could do this!"


message 49: by MN (new)

MN (mnfife) | 19 comments Hello Nidhi,
I joined the group only very recently, and am still working my way through the book for the first time.


message 50: by Nidhi (new)

Nidhi Kumari I am also starting first book , i am new to this reading schedule system of Goodread reading groups , its good because i have a long list of unfinished books.

Do you have schedule MN? Or you follow flexible schedule depending on time available?


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