Marcel Proust discussion

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Proust's death in 1922

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message 1: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 17 comments Tomorrow, November 18th, is the anniversary of Marcel Proust's death in 1922. Will you be doing anything to observe this date? I usually write a post for one or both of my blogs, some years I have baked madeleines. Tell us of what you will do to commemorate his death, and tomorrow I will share with you a remembrance of the day.
Mari


message 2: by Betty (new)

Betty Asma (everydayabook) On November 18, the biography Marcel Proust: A Life will be my reading. And, I'm trying out the recipe for French Butter Cakes (Madeleines) to have with tea. Shall I send e-cards, too? Inspired idea, Mari, to commemorate this day. thks.


message 3: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 17 comments Asmah wrote: "On November 18, the biography Marcel Proust: A Life will be my reading. And, I'm trying out the recipe for French Butter Cakes (Madeleines) to have with tea. Shall I send e-cards, to..."

That sounds like a fine day, Asmah! Have you read
Marcel Proust: A Life? I like the idea of sending e-cards, too; do you suppose there are any out there to commemorate this day? We could make one up. Enjoy your madeleines and don't forget the tisane.
Mari


message 4: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 17 comments Here is the remembrance of the day I promised yesterday:
From Time Regained, by Marcel Proust, who died on November 18th, 1922.

"The idea of Time was of value to me for yet another reason: it was a spur, it told me that it was time to begin if I wished to attain to what I had sometimes perceived in the course of my life, in brief lightning-flashes, on the Guermantes way and in my drives in the carriage of Mme. de Villeparisis, at those moments of perception which had made me think that life was worth living. How much more worth living did it appear to me now, now that I seemed to see that this life that we live in half-darkness can be illumined, this life that at every moment we distort can be restored to its true pristine shape, that a life, in short, can be realised within the confines of a book! How happy would he be, I thought, the man who had the power to write such a book! What a task awaited him! To give some idea of this task one would have to borrow comparisons from the loftiest and the most varied arts; for this writer- who, moreover, to indicate the mass, the solidity of each one of his characters must find means to display that character's most opposite facets- would have to prepare his book with meticulous care, perpetually regrouping his forces like a general conducting an offensive, and he would have also to endure his book like a form of fatigue, to accept it like a discipline, build it up like a church, follow it like a medical regime, vanquish it like an obstacle, win it like a friendship, cosset it like a little child, create it like a new world without neglecting those mysteries whose explanation is to be found probably only within worlds other than our own and the presentiment of which is the thing that moves us most deeply in life and in art. In long books of this kind there are parts which there has been time only to sketch, parts which, because of the very amplitude of the architect's plan, will no doubt never be completed. How many great cathedrals remain unfinished! The writer feeds his book, he strengthens the parts of it which are weak, he protects it, but afterwards it is the book that grows, that designates its author's tomb and defends it against the world's clamour and for awhile against oblivion."

From the French Pleiade edition translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, First Vintage Books Edition, September 1982


message 5: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Waggoner (crazybass33) | 4 comments I really appreciate your posts here as I am currently working through Proust's Swann's Way. I am amazed with the eloquent prose and elaborate detail with which Proust wrote. The work continues to keep me on my toes and teach me new ways to describe life and everything around me. Thank you.


message 6: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 17 comments Skbpen wrote: "I really appreciate your posts here as I am currently working through Proust's Swann's Way. I am amazed with the eloquent prose and elaborate detail with which Proust wrote. The work continues to k..."

You're welcome, Skbpen. Is this your first time reading Proust? Where are you in Swann's Way; perhaps we could read along? I think the amazing thing about Proust describing so much in such detail is how when you read it, it feels so right, like its something that you already knew but never thought to put into words. You just think, "Yes, that's exactly right!". I envy you your first reading!


message 7: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Waggoner (crazybass33) | 4 comments Yes, this is my first time reading Proust, though I longed to for many years. I am 3 pages away from "Swann In Love." He has just left the steeples of Martinville and has recalled the text he wrote. I would love some insight and assistance with this read. I cannot read this without my reading journal next to me writing down thoughts, reflections, and vocabulary. I love it, but it can be taxing after a long day's work as an elementary teacher.


message 8: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 17 comments Skbpen wrote: "Yes, this is my first time reading Proust, though I longed to for many years. I am 3 pages away from "Swann In Love." He has just left the steeples of Martinville and has recalled the text he wrote..."

How are you doing in your reading? I like that you are keeping a reading journal and writing in it as you read; I do that, too, and find it helps me a lot. You must be farther along now, than when you wrote on Dec 6th, but I just looked up where you said you were, three pages away from "Swann in Love" and found this amazing little passage:
"I never thought again of this page, but at the moment when, in the corner of the box-seat where the doctor's coachman was in the habit of stowing in a hamper the poultry he had bought at Martinville market, I had finished writing it, I was so filled with happiness, I felt that it had so entirely relieved my mind of its obsession with the steeples and the mystery which lay behind them, that, as though I myself where a hen and had just laid an egg, I began to sing at the top of my voice."

It makes an image in my mind of Proust, tucked up in his bed with all his pillows and sweaters like a nest around him, all of a sudden laying an egg and cackling like an old hen about it. Don't ever let anyone tell you that Proust didn't have a sense of humor!


message 9: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Waggoner (crazybass33) | 4 comments I am making my way. Do you know why publishers or an editor did not break any part of this book into chapters? Aside from looking at very long paragraphs, the content seems to lend itself towards chapters. For instance, I am at the point where Swann just went looking for Odette, he bumps into her and the cattleya's are set-up. The 'entirely individual and new' paragraph has ended, the next paragraph reads for three and half pages. This could be a chapter unto itself. What gives? Any thoughts?

Also, Odette and Swann could be the next romantic couple to grace the big screens, don't you think?

I agree that Proust had a sense of humor, he also seemed to have an awful lot of time to write these monumental volumes. Wasn't he laid up ill for much of this time, like 10 years or so? I seem to have read that somewhere.

What about the rest of these volumes, do they move at the same pace, with the same organization? If so, I am to endeavor the rest of my reading life to finishing them.

I envision Proust surrounded by tapestries of maroon velvet, dark walls of mahogany, and a bed of dark timber with posts that reach for the ceiling, scrolled with the etches of the time; propped up against a headboard with elaborate carvings of some Victorian scene at his back, writing manuscript after manuscript with his quill and ink well.


message 10: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 17 comments Skbpen wrote: "I am making my way. Do you know why publishers or an editor did not break any part of this book into chapters? Aside from looking at very long paragraphs, the content seems to lend itself towards c..."

I think the reason that no publisher or editor broke up the work into chapters is because there really was no editor except Proust. He basically self-published the first book and it was so popular that he was given (and demanded) free rein through the publishing of the remaining books. I know that he drove the publisher crazy with his constant revisions and additions, right up until they were printed. It flows the way Proust wanted it to, essentially.

There have been a few attempts to put Proust on the big and small screen; you can see some of them on youtube. As far as I know, they have not been successful. So much of A la recherche is internal, of the mind...

Proust didn't feel he had a whole lot time in which to complete his work, he had been sick since childhood and knew he was dying. But I know what you mean, he did not work at a job and so did have the time to write as much as he could. His family had money, although by the time of Proust's death he was not as well off as he had been, he still did not have to work a day job. Probably could not have, as sick as he was.

His bedroom is actually in the Musee Carnavalet in Paris: http://lito-apostolakou.suite101.com/.... Unfortunately I think Proust wrote with a fountain pen, not a quill pen! But it's still a nice image that you have!

I have a lot of information on Proust and his life and work at my Proust website (http://madeleinemoments.com/index.htm) and blog (http://marimann.wordpress.com/2011/11...) which you may be interested in and might help you in your reading and understanding of Proust.

Yes, the rest of the volumes continue in the same manner as the first, and so yes, you are on an endeavor for your life to finish them! But let me assure you, it is well worth the effort.

P.S. I see that you are in the 1800's reading group reading The Mill on the Floss. I am in that group too but I am in the Dickens group reading Nicholas Nickleby. I have read it before but don't tell anyone :)
Mari


message 11: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Waggoner (crazybass33) | 4 comments "I have a lot of information on Proust and his life and work at my Proust website "

Wow! How researched you are! Thank you for the insight and link, I will have to spend some time there learning my Proust.

I don't know how 'into' the reading brain you are, but have you ever read "Proust and the Squid, The Story and Science of the Reading Brain" by Maryanne Wolf? It is an intriguing read which makes several parallels with Proust and his work/philosophy. I would highly recommend it if you have not. My motivation for reading it was my career teaching 2nd graders.

And, I won't tell anyone you already read Nicholas Nickleby, another book I hope to read one day.

Have a great day!

PS. I am striken with Proust's prose on love and suffering, "Other people are, as a rule, so immaterial to us that, when we have entrusted to any one of them the power to cause so much suffering or happiness to ourselves, that person seems at once to belong to a different universe, is surrounded with poetry, makes our lives a vast expanse, quick with sensation, on which that person and ourselves are ever more or less in contact." How eloquent. How beautiful! How aptly written!!


message 12: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 17 comments Skbpen wrote: ""I have a lot of information on Proust and his life and work at my Proust website "

Wow! How researched you are! Thank you for the insight and link, I will have to spend some time there learning m..."


Thanks, Skbpen! Yes, I have read Proust and the Squid, here's a post I wrote about that book and another one on my blog: http://marimann.wordpress.com/2007/11...

I guess I need to get them up on my bookshelf here on Goodreads. I am looking next to read Proust's Overcoat: The True Story of One Man's Passion for All Things Proust ; have you read that one?

Your Proust quote is very eloquent and so true, but then it seems to me that much of what he writes is written incredibly beautifully, both in the way he writes it and in its speaking of the truth.

Cheers!
Mari


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