2018: Our Year of Reading Proust discussion

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message 1: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
curious to know if folks are reading!


message 2: by Paula (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 5 comments I'm starting this weekend.


message 3: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 7 comments As am I - this weekend. Can’t wait to start.


message 4: by Ben (new)

Ben | 6 comments As people are starting with their reading (or getting ready to do so), I just wanted to add a word of caution, as expressed by one of the members of previous year group:

'A lot of people get lost/frustrated the first time through with the beginning of the book, especially the Overture. This section is wonderful and completely understandable if you have already read Search, but puzzling/boring otherwise - seems like forty or fifty pages about a guy in bed. The the bulk of the book, Swan in Love, is a very traditional 3rd person love story. Don't worry, things will make sense soon enough.

Either Proust assumed everyone was going to re-read the book, or just wanted to slow the reader down and very gradually introduce the journey; it shouldn't bother or trouble you if you don't get it, or understand right away. (It is a search, after all). Once you finish the first volume you may say "not my cup of tea" but try not to struggle too much at first, just read the words.'

Reading the first section again -- with the benefit of hindsight after completing the 'search' -- I can certainly confirm the validity of the advice.


message 5: by Lori (last edited Jan 21, 2018 01:17PM) (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
I just finished this week's section. Having broken my pledge to myself to read a little each day rather than all of it in one sitting, it took a fair amount of time. When I'm simply reading and not looking at how many pages I have left, I am enjoying each phrase - the beauty, the humor, the observations. It's the larger task in front of me which is daunting! In short, it's a bit of a zen exercise.

How is everyone else doing?


message 6: by Louise (new)

Louise Today I finished the Combray section and will be starting Swann in Love tomorrow (page 306 in my edition). I can't say that I am enjoying it yet. I've been watching a few videos on Proust for motivation.

I heard one quote that said "to read Proust is to reread Proust" so I'm starting to think I may not enjoy this book until the reread. But I shall persevere.


message 7: by Mary (last edited Jan 22, 2018 07:05AM) (new)

Mary | 9 comments I am reading larger and larger chunks as I get in the 'zen' mood of the long sentences. They are almost dream-like in evoking images. I try to let myself go, otherwise I get anxious about understanding every word and phrase. Having lost my place once, I thought 'I will never find where I left off', but, to my surprise, I could remember text I had read and then easily found my place. It wasn't all a dream.


message 8: by MJD (new)

MJD | 5 comments Lori wrote: "I just finished this week's section. Having broken my pledge to myself to read a little each day rather than all of it in one sitting, it took a fair amount of time. When I'm simply reading and not..."

Touching on your problem of the overwhelming sense you get when you look at how many pages there are left (a problem I share when I read long books), I would like to say that this book may be more enjoyable when read as an ebook.

I have found that reading large books of over a thousand pages are better read off my ereader than in physical form, though I like physical books better overall. It has allowed me read large books twofold: psychologically in the sense that starting off with a very thick book can be intimidating in the way that I have found mitigated by a thin ereader, and physically in the sense that it's just easier to hold while reading (which allows for more reading).

Just a thought for those that may be put off by the size of the book.


message 9: by Louise (new)

Louise I am reading on an ereader. What I discovered this week, is that Proust is best read aloud (in French at any rate). That helps to slow down my reading. So now I'm reading Proust in French to my dogs, lol.


message 10: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Louise wrote: "I am reading on an ereader. What I discovered this week, is that Proust is best read aloud (in French at any rate). That helps to slow down my reading. So now I'm reading Proust in French to my dog..."


So funny. I am doing the same exact thing!


message 11: by Carol (new)

Carol | 3 comments Just found this group which is wonderful because my only New Year’s resolution was to read Proust

Does anyone have a thought as to which translation/edition is the best? Thanks!


message 12: by Mary (new)

Mary | 9 comments I am reading the Penguin Classics Edition whose Vol 1 has been newly translated by Lydia Davis. The General Editor is Christopher Prendergast. The idea of the new edition is to have contemporary writers/translators each translate a different volume.
You can read a review: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2...


message 13: by Carol (new)

Carol | 3 comments Mary Anne wrote: "I am reading the Penguin Classics Edition whose Vol 1 has been newly translated by Lydia Davis. The General Editor is Christopher Prendergast. The idea of the new edition is to have contemporary wr..."

Thanks SO much, Mary Anne!


message 14: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "Just found this group which is wonderful because my only New Year’s resolution was to read Proust

Does anyone have a thought as to which translation/edition is the best? Thanks!"


Welcome Carol! So glad you found us! I'm not in the know about translations. I own the Moncrieff (Viking) so that's what I use. I've heard that the Davis version is more reliable. The Moncrieff takes liberties, although some say they like its poetry...


message 15: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
I fell a little behind this week and just now finished section 4. I've found the Swann sections to be a little more baffling in terms of sentence structure. Granted I'm reading in the French, and I've read the Meseglise/Guermantes ways and Martinville sections more times than the Swann intro, but I find myself having to consult the English translation way more often for syntax than prior. The sentences seem longer and wind themselves around more. Has anyone felt this way? And if so, is this intentional on Proust's part, to change the style a little as we move from Marcel to Swann?


message 16: by Mary (new)

Mary | 9 comments Much of the first section has very long sentences that one needs to concentrate hypnotically so as not to get lost. I find Lydia Davis does a great translation.


message 17: by Carol (new)

Carol | 3 comments Thanks Lori - I did order and just received the Davis version. I have a book I'm finishing up in the next day or so, then finally heading into Proust!


message 18: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 202 comments To those who are reading in French. In "Mme Swann at Home" [In "Within a Budding Grove"] Odette tells the Narrator that he is Gilberte's best friend: in Moncrieff, she says her "chum, as the English say"; in Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, she says, her "crack, as the English say." This is too weird. His crack? for chum? Someone please elucidate for me, possibly tell me what the heck she says en francais.


message 19: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Elizabeth wrote: "To those who are reading in French. In "Mme Swann at Home" [In "Within a Budding Grove"] Odette tells the Narrator that he is Gilberte's best friend: in Moncrieff, she says her "chum, as the Englis..."
if you can tell me the approximate page (i.e. what week of reading) I can look it up for you...


message 20: by Lori (last edited Feb 14, 2018 04:57AM) (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
In this week's section Swann gets upset reading the word marble in the newspaper- Les Filles de Marbre, a play by Theodore Barriere. Does anyone know the origin of the idea that lesbians would be called this?


message 21: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 202 comments Lori: The Modern Library, New York; paperback; pp. 150-151.


message 22: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
Not very helpful. She says" 'le grand crack,' as the English say..."


message 23: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 202 comments ...You're right. Maybe Proust is pointing out that Odette's delusion that she can speak English is just that...a delusion.


message 24: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 202 comments Lori: just googled Les filles de Marbre and got this: "the devil agrees to bring the marble girl to life on condition that she herself does not fall in love. " Possibly at this point Swann is realizing that Odette does not love him at all...


message 25: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 7 comments Hi Proust readers, well I fell behind in my good intentions right from the start with Swann's Way. But because I've already read it I'm not feeling too bad about it. I'm going to start In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower now and get a little head start. First I'm reading the overview of Swann's Way in Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time: A Reader's Guide to the Remembrance of Things Past to refresh my memory because it's been a couple of years. What other supplemental books are readers finding helpful so far?


message 26: by Ben (new)

Ben | 6 comments Kristen, another useful source to refresh the memory of Swann's Way is the synopsis at the end of the first volume edited and annotated by WC Carter (at p485-7), which I finished recently. Currently busy with Carter's 2nd volume and finding the edited/annotated version very helpful.


message 27: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 7 comments Ben wrote: "Kristen, another useful source to refresh the memory of Swann's Way is the synopsis at the end of the first volume edited and annotated by WC Carter (at p485-7), which I finished recently. Currentl..."

Excellent, thank you Ben!


message 28: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (k_llyi) | 8 comments I read through the first half of _A Reader's Guide_ last week in prep for starting and found it really helpful for getting oriented! I'm intending to go back to the per-novel summaries as I traverse them. Seems like a very good resource.

Last night I made it through the "Overture" in Swann's Way; apparently I'd read it before with a pen so now it's double marked. Hope to keep up the momentum!


message 29: by MJD (new)

MJD | 5 comments For me the extreme level of detail that Proust gives to everything is a double edge sword. In one way, it makes it take forever to read a single scene or even a single thought of a character. In another way, it makes it easy to remember what's going on (i.e. since a single small event takes pages to develop, it makes it easier to remember in contrast to something of note in other books that is described in a sentence or two), which is helpful for such a long book.


message 30: by Lori (new)

Lori (lorifw) | 40 comments Mod
MJD wrote: "For me the extreme level of detail that Proust gives to everything is a double edge sword. In one way, it makes it take forever to read a single scene or even a single thought of a character. In an..."

Yes. It also makes it easier to open the book up and read a few pages virtually anywhere. Which paradoxically makes me not inclined to read the whole book, even when reading through on a continuous and sustained basis offers such a different and amplified experience of the work.


message 31: by Francine (new)

Francine Kopun | 5 comments I know this is a thread that hasn’t seen action in some time, but being new, I’ll post my current progress. I am about 150 pages into Swann’s Way, Moncrieff translation. Although subsequent translators point to many instances where Moncrieff may have overstepped himself, I prefer his way with words: Remembrance of Things Past is a better title to me than In Search of Lost Time, which conjures in my mind, images of a man in a suit and top hat frantically searching for a lost pocket-watch. Glad to have found this group!


message 32: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 202 comments Moncrieff is a better prose stylist than any subsequent translator; however, his British slang is both arcane and dated; it's a good idea to try a couple of others. Proust totally benefits from multiple readings.


message 33: by April (last edited Aug 23, 2018 01:25PM) (new)

April | 245 comments Francine wrote: "I know this is a thread that hasn’t seen action in some time, but being new, I’ll post my current progress. I am about 150 pages into Swann’s Way, Moncrieff translation. Although subsequent transla..."

" which conjures in my mind, images of a man in a suit and top hat frantically searching for a lost pocket-watch. "

exactly!

the gist lies in that which is between “Remembrance” and “In Search of”, it hides somewhere, you never expect.

the former is so sure that it is all memory; the latter is uncertainty, and one has to make efforts.

Which also reflects the difference between voluntary and involuntary memory, and that is why Proust preferred the later.


message 34: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (k_llyi) | 8 comments I've been reading Moncrieff too, and liking it, but I've started to think about trying the new translations once I've made it all the way through once.

I'm about 50 pages from the end of _The Fugitive_, also, and there's just one more volume after that, so I'm already mildly worried about "the desert of after Proust" and the idea of reading a different translation feels comforting.


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