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Proust: Swann's Way

"A sleeping man holds in a circle around him the sequence of the hours, the order of the years and worlds..." from Swann's Way

Proust is such a literary catch phrase. (And one that seems to travel well in psychology, neuroscience, and therefore in self-help.) But who has really read him? Lydia Davis, to be sure.

In her new translation, she has removed some of the familiar layers of the past to give one a feeling similar to that of encountering an old master painting that has just been cleaned: the colors seem sharper and momentarily disorienting. This is all the better to recount a sensitive boy's impressions of his family and neighbors, all brought dazzlingly back to life years later by the famous taste of a madeleine. For first-timers who don't have French and are allergic to the slightest whiff of euphemism, this is the best means for traveling the way by Swann's.

So, don't fear Proust's madeleine! Just dip it into your tea cup...then come and tell us what you experienced.

 

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  • Arlinda S.

    Thank you everyone who took a chance with Proust and joined the discussion last night. He is not so impenetrable, after all. Regardless, the next read will be breezier. I promise.

    June 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Any possible way this could be pushed back one or two weeks? I could use much more time (am on page 100 or so) and didn't know if any others shared the same sentiment for a little bit more time. Thx. If not, I understand.

    June 3, 2013

    • Arlinda S.

      Well, based on the "response," it seems we should stick to the original date. Luckily, this isn't plot dependent...

      June 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      OK. Thanks!

      June 4, 2013

  • Arlinda S.

    You may want to supplement your reading with Raoul Ruiz's excellent Le temps retrouvé. I could only find it dubbed in Italian on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2OY8I_udYo

    May 27, 2013

  • Bill W

    The first few pages were not encouraging, but it gets better. I think this is doable.

    1 · May 26, 2013

  • Clare F.

    So, while the introduction to my copy confidently asserts that most people associate "Proust" with "madeleine," I admit I predominantly associate "Proust" with Monty Python's "All-England Summarize Proust Competition" sketch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiMLMl_D0hs

    May 25, 2013

    • Arlinda S.

      Thanks, Clare. I hadn't seen this one. Do you think you can summarize Proust for us, instead? :)

      May 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Cool Arlinda. Thanks for sharing the link. Interesting....

    May 23, 2013

  • Arlinda S.

    And Lydia Davis just won the Man Booker Prize. I say it couldn't have happened to a better writer! http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/may/22/man-booker-international-prize-lydia-davis

    May 23, 2013

  • Manny

    I have the Moncrieff-Kilmartin-Enright translations, is this focusing on the Davis only?

    May 21, 2013

    • Arlinda S.

      I recommend the Davis translation, but of course you can use others.

      May 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    SOOOOOO excited! Has been on my list and by my beside and now the gauntlet thrown down with a complete by date of June 9. THANK YOU!!!!! ;)

    May 21, 2013

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