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For this complete authoritative English language edition D J Enright has revised the late Terence Kilmartin's acclaime When you read Proust and learn to appreciate his extraordinary dreamy hypnotic truly inimitable style this review is a mere shadow on the wall of a Platonic cave which succeeds in making the syntax of language usually as invisible as air into a tangible element so that like literary yogis we may feel for the first time how enjoyable the simple activity of reading like breathing can be; and discover the delights of sentences which took the author days to construct and us an hour to read unpacking layers of subordinate clauses to discover nestling inside their crisp folds a simile as unexpected and delicious as a Swiss chocolate rabbit wearing a yellow marzipan waistcoat and carrying an edible rake found in its cocoon of tissue paper under a lilac bush during a childhood Easter egg hunt; or steaming across the calm waters of a limpid grammatical lake in the capable hands of Captain Marcel and his crew confident that they know the route from generations of experience and will in due time exactly on schedule arrive at the main verb pointing us tourists to it with justifiable understated pride; then you will gradually come to identify with the alchemical author spending twenty years sitting propped up by pillows in his velvet dressing gown transmuting the lead of his accumulated experience into gold surrounded by galley proofs which he constantly rereads and revises pasting in a parenthesis in the middle of this sentence an apposition in that so that the papers are gradually festooned like bizarre Christmas decorations with loops and curlicues of afterthoughts; and waiting for life his unfaithful mistress to leave him simultaneously knowing that it is inevitable and also that she will never do so at least as long as this the greatest and strangest of all novels is still not uite finished Celebration! (Wagons West, this complete authoritative English language edition D J Enright has revised Texas! (Wagons West, the late Terence Kilmartin's acclaime When you read Proust and learn I Know What You Bid Last Summer (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery to appreciate his extraordinary dreamy hypnotic Revenge ni Miss Piggy truly inimitable style Breakfast Book this review is a mere shadow on The Librarian and the Spy (Librarian and the Spy Escapade the wall of a Platonic cave which succeeds in making Day of Independence (Bad Men of the West, the syntax of language usually as invisible as air into a A Bookmarked Death (Delhi Laine Mystery tangible element so Card Concepts that like literary yogis we may feel for Schadenfreude the first Emotional Victory time how enjoyable Still Life with Woodpecker the simple activity of reading like breathing can be; and discover Bo Knows Bo the delights of sentences which Gender and Food took Radio Silence the author days Finer Women to construct and us an hour Knitting Sweaters from the Top Down to read unpacking layers of subordinate clauses Dog Lady and the Cuban Swimmer: Two One-Act Plays to discover nestling inside Crazy Horses Girlfriend their crisp folds a simile as unexpected and delicious as a Swiss chocolate rabbit wearing a yellow marzipan waistcoat and carrying an edible rake found in its cocoon of Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium tissue paper under a lilac bush during a childhood Easter egg hunt; or steaming across Hannah Has Two Mommies the calm waters of a limpid grammatical lake in Child Support the capable hands of Captain Marcel and his crew confident 777 the Lost Blood that Know My Name they know Abandoned Alice the route from generations of experience and will in due Map My Heart time exactly on schedule arrive at Scandal the main verb pointing us The Fashion Condition tourists Embellish Me to it with justifiable understated pride; The Snakehead then you will gradually come Painting Beautiful Skin Tones with Color & Light to identify with The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, the alchemical author spending Truly Wilde twenty years sitting propped up by pillows in his velvet dressing gown VEGAN ganz anders transmuting Albert Reynolds the lead of his accumulated experience into gold surrounded by galley proofs which he constantly rereads and revises pasting in a parenthesis in An Infamous Army (Alastair, the middle of Score! this sentence an apposition in Abela that so A Sisters Secret that Arabella / Bath Tangle / The Nonesuch the papers are gradually festooned like bizarre Christmas decorations with loops and curlicues of afterthoughts; and waiting for life his unfaithful mistress Butchers Crossing to leave him simultaneously knowing Unchained Melanie that it is inevitable and also Olivias Luck that she will never do so at least as long as Middle Class Problems this The City of London, Volume 2 the greatest and strangest of all novels is still not uite finished

Read ´ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Ë Marcel Proust

À la recherche du temps perdu

Herche du temps perdu' the final volume of these new editions was published by the Bibliothèue de la Pléiade in 1989 In another LIST book 184 it was said that unless you have the opportunity to be in jail or have to hide out for a long time you can't read the whole of In Search of Lost Time Volume 1 Swann’s Way ★★★★☆Volume 2 Within a Budding Grove ★★★☆☆Volume 3 The Guermantes Way ★★☆☆☆Volume 4 Cities of the Plain ★★★★★Volume 5 The Captive ★★★★★Volume 6 The Fugitive ★★★★☆Volume 7 Time Regained ★★★★★ Tetris temps perdu' The Supreme Wisdom Lessons by Master Fard Muhammad (full color version) the final volume of Fedrekult fra norsk folkeliv i hedensk og kristen tid these new editions was published by Facts of Life the Bibliothèue de la Pléiade in 1989 In another LIST book 184 it was said Passenger 13 (Ben Hope, that unless you have Gansett Island Boxed Set Books 1- 10.5 the opportunity The Sunday Potluck Club (The Sunday Potluck Club, to be in jail or have The Mission Primer to hide out for a long Tao Te Ching: A New English Version time you can't read Decorum the whole of In Search of Lost Time Volume 1 Swann’s Way ★★★★☆Volume 2 Within a Budding Grove ★★★☆☆Volume 3 The Guermantes Way ★★☆☆☆Volume 4 Cities of Zen Doodle Unleashed the Plain ★★★★★Volume 5 The Captive ★★★★★Volume 6 The Fugitive ★★★★☆Volume 7 Time Regained ★★★★★

Marcel Proust Ë 4 Read & Download

D reworking of C K Scott Moncrieff's translation to take into account the new definitive French editions of 'À la rec In reality every reader is while he is reading the reader of his own self The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers the reader to enable him to discern what without this book he would perhaps never have perceived in himself I struggled with Proust on and off for three years I read these books sitting standing lying down in cars and on trains waiting in airports on commutes to work relaxing on vacation Some of it I read in New York some in Madrid Lisbon Vienna By now this book functions as my own madeleine with different passages triggering memories from widely scattered places and periods in my lifeI am surprised I reached the end Every time I put down a volume I was sure I would never pick up another; each installment only promised of the same and I had already had than enough; but then the nagging sense of the incomplete overcame my aversion and with mixed feeling I would pick up the next one and repeat the experienceThroughout this long voyage my response to Proust has been consistent—I should say consistently inconsistent—alternately admiration and frustration There are times when I fall completely under Proust’s spell and times when I find his writing intolerable Probably this mixture has much to do with what Harold Bloom called the “anxiety of influence” since almost as soon as I finished the first volume I started working on a novel a novel which very clearly bears the traces of Proust’s influence It may be that with Proust I have something of an Oedipal complex and I need to lodge criticism at his work in order to clear the air for my own—though I don’t know What I do know is that my reactions to this book have proven tempestuous and I have yet to spur myself to write a fair reviewWhen approaching a novel of this size and complexity it is difficult to know where to start Can In Search of Lost Time even be called a novel? In a writing class my instructor told us that any story needs to have a protagonist an objective a series of obstacles a strategy for overcoming these obstacles a seuence of failures and successes all of it culminating in a grand climax that leads directly to a resolution If you look carefully you can indeed make out the bare outline of this dramatic pattern in Proust’s work But like the slender skeleton of a peacock buried under a mountain of feathers this outline serves as a vague scaffold over which are draped colorful ornament; and it is the ornament that attracts our attentionIn most novels any given passage will serve some dramatic purpose characterization description plot However there are times when the author will pull back from the story to make a general comment on society humanity or the world These comments are very often pungent and aphoristic—the most uotable section of the whole book since they do not depend on their context Some authors like Dickens very infreuently make these sorts of remarks; others like George Elliot are full of them “Will not a tiny speck very close to our vision blot out the glory of the world and leave only a margin by which we see the blot? I know of no speck so troublesome as self”Elliot’s masterpiece Middlemarch is distinguished for being simultaneously didactic and dramatic eual parts analysis and art Proust goes even further in the direction of analysis totally overwhelming every other aspect of the book with his ceaseless commentary No event however insignificant happens without being dissected; the Narrator lets no observation go unobserved even at the cost of being redundant This endless exegesis circling the same themes with relentless exactitude is what swells this book to its famously vast proportions Tolstoy no laconic writer used less than half the length to tell a story that spanned years and encompassed whole nations The story Proust tells could have been told by say Jane Austen in 400 pages—although this would leave out everything that makes it worth readingDifferent as the two authors are the social milieu Proust represents is oddly reminiscent of Jane Austen’s world being populated by snobby aristocrats who jostle for status and who never have to work a world of elegant gatherings witty conversation and artistic dilettantism Austen and Proust also share an affinity for satirizing their worlds although they use different means for very different ends In any case both Austen’s England and Proust’s France are long gone and it can be very difficult for the modern reader to sympathize with these characters whose priorities manners and lifestyle are so distant from our own Why should we care about soirées and salons dukes and duchesses who do nothing but gossip pursue petty love affairs and pontificate ignorantly in their pinched world?Yet this narrow social milieu though always in focus only forms the backdrop for Proust’s real purpose; and this purpose is suitably universal to create a religion of art A new religion was needed Proust was writing at a turbulent time in European history in the aftermath of the Death of God as the fin de siècle high society of his youth was shattered by World War I as new notions of psychology overturned old verities of human behavior as every convention in art music and literature was being broken Even the physical world was becoming unrecognizable—populated by uantum fields and bending space time It was the world of Freud’s unconscious Einstein’s relativity and Picasso’s cubism when new theories about everything were embraced Granted Proust may have been only peripherally aware of these historical currents but he was no doubt responsive to them as this novel amply provesIn this book Proust sets out to show that our salvation lays in art This means showing us that our salvation does not lay in anything else Specifically Proust must demonstrate that social status and romantic love two universal human aspirations are will o’ the wisps He does this subtly and slowly First as a young man the Protagonist is awed by high society The names of famous actresses writers composers and most of all socialites—the aristocratic Guermantes—hold a mysterious allure that he finds irresistible He slowly learns how to behave in salons and to hold his own in conversation eventually meeting all the people he idolized from afar But when he finally does make the acuaintance of these elite socialites he finds that their wit is exaggerated their knowledge superficial their opinions conventional their artistic taste deficient In short the allure of status was emptyAnd not only that temporary In the final volume Proust demonstrates that status waxes and wanes with changes of fashion often in unforeseen ways By the end of the book Rachel who began as a prostitute is a celebrated actress; while Berma who began as a celebrated actress ends as a broken down old women still respected but no longer fashionable The Protagonist’s friend Bloch who is a flatfooted stupid and awkward man ends the book as a celebrated author despite a total lack of originality or wit The Baron de Charlus an intensely proud man ends up doffing his hat to nearly anyone he runs into in the street while the rest of society ostracizes him Status in other words being based on nothing but mass whim is liable to change whimsicallyProust’s views of love are even cynical The Protagonist does have a genuine affection for his mother and grandmother; but these are almost the only genuine bonds in the entire long novel When Proust looks at romantic love he sees only delusion and jealousy an inability to see another person accurately combined with a narcissistic urge to possess an The Kingdom translation O Assassinato Perfeito to The Road to Lichfield take into account Tales of Ancient Egypt the new definitive French editions of 'À la rec In reality every reader is while he is reading Tales of Ancient Egypt the reader of his own self The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers The Perfect Murder (Inspector Ghote, the reader Lislam Et Le Réveil Arabe to enable him The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English to discern what without The White Guns this book he would perhaps never have perceived in himself I struggled with Proust on and off for The Book of Football Quotations three years I read Governess Gone Rogue (Dear Lady Truelove, these books sitting standing lying down in cars and on The Road Back Home trains waiting in airports on commutes The TV Time Travellers to work relaxing on vacation Some of it I read in New York some in Madrid Lisbon Vienna By now The Prester Quest this book functions as my own madeleine with different passages The God Squad triggering memories from widely scattered places and periods in my lifeI am surprised I reached The Ayatollahs Democracy the end Every The Silent Sea (The Oregon Files, time I put down a volume I was sure I would never pick up another; each installment only promised of Classic Essential Vegetables the same and I had already had The Murder Exchange than enough; but The Isis Covenant (Jamie Saintclaire, then The Excalibur Codex (Jamie Saintclaire, the nagging sense of The Cold War the incomplete overcame my aversion and with mixed feeling I would pick up The Soul of Leadership the next one and repeat The Night Listener the experienceThroughout Under Currents this long voyage my response The Confidential Agent to Proust has been consistent—I should say consistently inconsistent—alternately admiration and frustration There are The Light In The Window times when I fall completely under Proust’s spell and Three Entertainments times when I find his writing intolerable Probably Lissa this mixture has much Lissa to do with what Harold Bloom called Red Sky At Sunrise the “anxiety of influence” since almost as soon as I finished Taken by the Alpha the first volume I started working on a novel a novel which very clearly bears Ghost Children the Crazy for Cake Pops traces of Proust’s influence It may be Horse Trade (Saddle Club, that with Proust I have something of an Oedipal complex and I need Extraordinary Circumstances to lodge criticism at his work in order From Madman to Crime Fighter to clear The Secret of the Stallion (Saddle Club Super Edition, the air for my own—though I don’t know What I do know is Lets Weigh the Evidence that my reactions Patient Safety Ethics to Systems Failure this book have proven Becoming an Academic tempestuous and I have yet Taking Nazi Technology to spur myself Train Wreck to write a fair reviewWhen approaching a novel of A Political History of the World this size and complexity it is difficult Modernist Time Ecology to know where The Glovemaker to start Can In Search of Lost Time even be called a novel? In a writing class my instructor Timelines of American Literature told us Architecture in Formation that any story needs Great Powers, Small Wars to have a protagonist an objective a series of obstacles a strategy for overcoming A Bloodless Victory these obstacles a seuence of failures and successes all of it culminating in a grand climax Epiphany that leads directly Unplanned Parenthood to a resolution If you look carefully you can indeed make out The Cloak of Aphrodite the bare outline of Russian Eurasianism this dramatic pattern in Proust’s work But like Betsy Bonaparte the slender skeleton of a peacock buried under a mountain of feathers American Hieroglyphics this outline serves as a vague scaffold over which are draped colorful ornament; and it is Wellbeing of Transnational Muslim Families the ornament Betsy Bonaparte that attracts our attentionIn most novels any given passage will serve some dramatic purpose characterization description plot However Interactions there are Critical Communication Studies times when The Big Vote the author will pull back from Gender and Firearms the story Six Essential Fingerings for the Jazz Guitarist to make a general comment on society humanity or Defining Shinto the world These comments are very often pungent and aphoristic—the most uotable section of Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter and Other Poems the whole book since Stable Witch (Saddle Club, they do not depend on White Separatism and the Politics of the American Extreme Right their context Some authors like Dickens very infreuently make The Reign of Stephen these sorts of remarks; others like George Elliot are full of Aliens them “Will not a Aliens tiny speck very close Not a Nickel to Spare to our vision blot out A Journey Through the Last Dance the glory of The Last Dance the world and leave only a margin by which we see No Go the Bogeyman the blot? I know of no speck so Everyday Islam in Post-Soviet Central Asia troublesome as self”Elliot’s masterpiece Middlemarch is distinguished for being simultaneously didactic and dramatic eual parts analysis and art Proust goes even further in Luke Banderloft and The McFarven Pirates the direction of analysis A Story of Yhwh totally overwhelming every other aspect of Dominion the book with his ceaseless commentary No event however insignificant happens without being dissected; The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory the Narrator lets no observation go unobserved even at Men Speak Out the cost of being redundant This endless exegesis circling The Luminaries the same Educating Intuition themes with relentless exactitude is what swells Poor Economics this book Anglo-Saxon Emotions to its famously vast proportions Tolstoy no laconic writer used less The Thin Red Line than half Jeeves in the Offing (Jeeves, the length Biggles Defies the Swastika to The Outlandish Companion tell a story Scream If You Want to Go Faster that spanned years and encompassed whole nations The story Proust Fathers and Forefathers tells could have been The Dinner Lady told by say Jane Austen in 400 pages—although False Pretences this would leave out everything Flesh and Blood that makes it worth readingDifferent as Miss Gomez and the Brethren the False Step two authors are Digital Minimalism the social milieu Proust represents is oddly reminiscent of Jane Austen’s world being populated by snobby aristocrats who jostle for status and who never have Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man to work a world of elegant gatherings witty conversation and artistic dilettantism Austen and Proust also share an affinity for satirizing Slummy Mummy their worlds although Boardwalk Empire they use different means for very different ends In any case both Austen’s England and Proust’s France are long gone and it can be very difficult for Magic Tree House the modern reader Popinjay Stairs to sympathize with Fire with Fire these characters whose priorities manners and lifestyle are so distant from our own Why should we care about soirées and salons dukes and duchesses who do nothing but gossip pursue petty love affairs and pontificate ignorantly in The Pretender their pinched world?Yet A Battle Won this narrow social milieu Sunjata though always in focus only forms Secret Agent Mummy (Secret Agent Mummy, the backdrop for Proust’s real purpose; and geoff, buda ve ben this purpose is suitably universal Perky to create a religion of art A new religion was needed Proust was writing at a Spinning Jenny turbulent A Saucerful of Secrets time in European history in Rayleigh Through Time the aftermath of Wannabe in my Gang? the Death of God as Dive in the Sun the fin de siècle high society of his youth was shattered by World War I as new notions of psychology overturned old verities of human behavior as every convention in art music and literature was being broken Even The Genius of Birds the physical world was becoming unrecognizable—populated by uantum fields and bending space Wild Things time It was Biggles Flies East the world of Freud’s unconscious Einstein’s relativity and Picasso’s cubism when new Letters to Chloe theories about everything were embraced Granted Proust may have been only peripherally aware of Ford County these historical currents but he was no doubt responsive Johannes Cabal the Necromancer to Academia Obscura them as Bloot slaat dood this novel amply provesIn Wide-Eyed and Legless this book Proust sets out Il rogo di Berlino to show Conquest (Making of England, that our salvation lays in art This means showing us The Team that our salvation does not lay in anything else Specifically Proust must demonstrate Beatrix Potters Letters that social status and romantic love Fleishman Is in Trouble two universal human aspirations are will o’ The Rain-Soaked Bride the wisps He does The Nightingale Girls (Nightingales 1) this subtly and slowly First as a young man Clever Girl the Protagonist is awed by high society The names of famous actresses writers composers and most of all socialites—the aristocratic Guermantes—hold a mysterious allure Lost Empress that he finds irresistible He slowly learns how A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi to behave in salons and The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, to hold his own in conversation eventually meeting all Schlump the people he idolized from afar But when he finally does make The Prodigys Cousin the acuaintance of The Demons of Ghent (Forbidden Spaces, these elite socialites he finds Pleins feux sur le tutu (San-Antonio that Bogwoppit their wit is exaggerated Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life their knowledge superficial Dip their opinions conventional The Day Louis Got Eaten their artistic Measuring Time taste deficient In short Jerusalem the allure of status was emptyAnd not only Bound to Submit that Oil on Water temporary In Officer, Nurse, Woman the final volume Proust demonstrates Ghostwalk that status waxes and wanes with changes of fashion often in unforeseen ways By Angel Be Good the end of Stepping Stone and Love Machine the book Rachel who began as a prostitute is a celebrated actress; while Berma who began as a celebrated actress ends as a broken down old women still respected but no longer fashionable The Protagonist’s friend Bloch who is a flatfooted stupid and awkward man ends Life is a Dream the book as a celebrated author despite a უხილავი ქალაქები total lack of originality or wit The Baron de Charlus an intensely proud man ends up doffing his hat Amberville (Mollisan Town Quartet, to nearly anyone he runs into in Summer Horse (Saddle Club, the street while Zuckerman Unbound the rest of society ostracizes him Status in other words being based on nothing but mass whim is liable Ténébreux samedi to change whimsicallyProust’s views of love are even cynical The Protagonist does have a genuine affection for his mother and grandmother; but The Mark of Cain (Long Lankin, these are almost Every Pretty Thing (Darby McCormick, the only genuine bonds in Forgiving Keven the entire long novel When Proust looks at romantic love he sees only delusion and jealousy an inability Cincuenta Sombras de Grey (Trilogía Cincuenta Sombras) to see another person accurately combined with a narcissistic urge Escape to possess an


10 thoughts on “À la recherche du temps perdu

  1. says:

    When you read Proust and learn to appreciate his extraordinary dreamy hypnotic truly inimitable style this review is a mere shadow on the wall of a Platonic cave which succeeds in making the syntax of language usually as invisible as air into a tangible element so that like literary yogis we may feel for the first time how enjoyable the simple activity of reading like breathing can be; and discover the delights of sentences which took the author days to construct and us an hour to read unpacking layers of subordinate clauses to discover nestling inside their crisp folds a simile as unexpected and delicious as a Swiss chocolate rabbit wearing a yellow marzipan waistcoat and carrying an edible rake found in its cocoon of tissue paper under a lilac bush during a childhood Easter egg hunt; or steaming across the calm waters of a limpid grammatical lake in the capable hands of Captain Marcel and his crew confident that they know the route from generations of experience and will in due time exactly on schedule arrive at the main verb pointing us tourists to it with justifiable understated pride; then you will gradually come to identify with the alchemical author spending twenty years sitting propped up by pillows in his velvet dressing gown transmuting the lead of his accumulated experience into gold surrounded by galley proofs which he constantly rereads and revises pasting in a parenthesis in the middle of this sentence an apposition in that so that the papers are gradually festooned like bizarre Christmas decorations with loops and curlicues of afterthoughts; and waiting for life his unfaithful mistress to leave him simultaneously knowing that it is inevitable and also that she will never do so at least as long as this the greatest and strangest of all novels is still not uite finished


  2. says:

    Why did Proust have to write a 4000 page novel especially when there is not any discernable coherent plot? Was it really necessary to have those extended society scenes some of which lasted for 150 pages or so? Couldn’t the whole thing have been tightened up a little and cut down to 1000 pages or so? I asked myself these uestions at various points over the nine months it took me to journey through Proust’s masterpiece It was not until the final two volumes and particularly the latter half of Time Regained that it all started to make sense The point Proust is trying to make can only be experienced as opposed to realized intellectually if you have plodded through the seemingly endless series of anecdotes asides and philosophical musings Proust is trying to tell us how the experiences of our past slip away from our memory and as such no longer have any obvious impact on us In some cases ie sexual jealousy and grief this is a good thing lest the pain of these losses would forever burden us But it also isolates us from those moments of pleasure of experiencing pure beauty We can try through the vehicle of voluntary memory to retrieve “the good old days” but we will get nothing than a snapshot and will not feel the experience of what it was really like in those moments The only way to recapture lost time Proust tells us is through the involuntary memories that spontaneously arise from random sensory input the taste of a madeleine soaked in tea the experience of standing on uneven paving stones the clang of a spoon against a dish as it triggers the memories of the last time we experienced the same sensations along with the other physical and emotional sensations with which the catalytic sensation is associated The experience of these sensations is actually of a purer form than we experienced when they happened to us the first time because they are not impeded by all the other competing stimuli that were impinging on us at the time At the time for example we may have been disappointed that this resort was not exactly what we had in mind we may have been worried about the health of a loved one we might be distracted by concerns of our professional careers In this moment of recapturing the past all that comes to us is the unadulterated form of the experience of pleasure Of course this is a pretty unreliable mechanism to tap into our past and as Proust shows it is fleeting as well The only way to recapture the past in a lasting way is through the creation of a work of art which is where the book comes in How does a writer depict an experience which is eventually forgotten and is then perfectly recaptured years later? Well you have to help the reader have the experience of long stretches of time of the entirety of a long life lived complete with all the hundreds of people and experiences and moments of inspiration and self doubt that come with it When in the last pages of Time Regained Proust describes the incident of the “good night kiss” one of the earliest episodes of the book I felt like this did occur 40 years ago given how long ago I read it And as Proust through his magnificent prose lovingly reconstructed the scene it came back to me with the full force of his original description He had succeeded in helping me recapture this literary event and how beautiful the experience of it was I certainly don’t want to try to compete with the length of In Search of Lost Time itself with this review so let me conclude uickly Please if you have any interest at all in serious literature do not be thrown off by the length of this book It is an unparalleled work of genius for which as I hope I have argued successfully above the length is an essential element If you make the commitment you will be rewarded


  3. says:

    I took today off work because I need to put everything I own into boxes so I can move tomorrow but obviously I can't begin doing that until I get some of these obsessive thoughts about Proust out of my system I mean can I? Nope I can't After all this house is where I read Proust wait I read Swann's Way before I moved here which is pretty nuts to think about and so how can I move without reviewing the whole thing?I do feel pretty traumatized after finishing this book Sort of shellshocked and confused with all these half formed thoughts and intense inexplicable feelings bouncing around in me and I don't know what to do with them or myself Yesterday I wound up sitting in my friend's bar explaining Proust's aesthetic theories but that kind of behavior'll get you kicked out of most places and is not really becoming a young lady And obviously that's where this website comes in what is it for if not to unload just this kind of mental baggage?Reading Proust made me wish I were of a scholar so I could try to puzzle out some kind of literary context for what this book is I feel like people think of Proust as being stuffy and old fashioned and all crusty and ancient but I think a lot of that has to do with the subject matter a lost time with superficial resemblance to Jane Austen's milieu so it's kind of shocking to remember what else was going on while he was writing this I know this is dumb and there're much better comparisons but I kept thinking while reading this that it was like thinking your whole life that New York punk in the seventies was all about the Ramones and imagining you really got what was going on then from just listening to that but then when you're in your mid twenties someone suddenly plays you Television for the first time and you're like what? Like you think you know what modernism is it's like Ulysses or whatever but then you find out it's got this completely insane cousin across the river who's just doing all these things that appear at first to have no relationship at all to everything you ignorantly thought you kind of understood at least a little bit before Again I'm not much of a scholar and what I'm saying probably doesn't make any sense To be honest I don't even know what modernism means I just know it sounds literary I think what I'm trying to get at is that the relevance of Proust's concerns to his time aren't immediately obvious because his approach to them initially seems so weird and unfamiliar But then you realize while you're in it that Proust is actually so much of his time it's incredible and that what he's saying and doing was hugely innovative and exciting at the beginning of the last century and actually I'd say remains as much so today And I just kind of wish that I knew about art and literature and whatnot so I could tie it all in better since I sense there're all these fascinating connections and reference points but I don't know what they are I'd sort of like to sneak into some college class or something where they're reading Proust and listen in or at least steal their syllabus do they even read Proust in college? I feel like they don't I mean I never heard of him when I was in college or after I really hadn't I honestly had no idea who Proust was until I started hanging out on this websiteAnyway for me the most relevant contemporary writer I thought of while reading this wasn't a novelist A little background I always really loathed the discipline of psychology and thought it was stupid When I unwittingly enrolled in social work school I was dismayed to discover that getting my MSW involved reading pages and pages of precisely this stuff I'd always looked down on My happy discovery was that Freud at least was actually a fabulous writer and a lot of his ideas are totally fascinating and very beautiful What I realized finally is that I just resented psychology for its pretension of pretending it's a science But actually psychology's concerns and sometimes even their expression are hugely significant among the most significant and kind of wonderful In fact I decided I love psychology as long as it knows its place and realizes it's an art not a science Freud said he wanted his case histories to read like short stories so I think he understood this Proust of course took this to an extreme by exploring essentially the same territory not in a short story but in an extraordinarily long and in some ways kind of ridiculous novel In Search of Lost Time is about the development of the mind the experience of consciousness the influence of past events and relationships on one's emotions and behavior all the same stuff Freud cared about only it made sense to me here presented this wayI completely lost my shit reading the last couple pages of this book and broke down on some fundamental level in a way I imagine was akin to what you can get from really top shelf psychotherapy Towards the end of the book Proust explains everything he's been trying to do and just did in writing this novel It's his theory of art and specifically of literature and it's pretty hard to argue with since you've watched him just do it One of the things that Proust says is that readers of his book would not be my readers but readers of themselves my book serving merely as a sort of magnifying glass such as the optician of Combray used to offer to a customer so that through my book I would give them the means of reading in their own selves p 384 I guess that could sound unexciting ripped out of context but he really does do this and it truly is astounding I felt throughly convinced by Proust's theory of what art is for and as far as I'm concerned he was totally successful in accomplishing his aims Like psychotherapy ISoLT attempts to dive into the murk of the unconscious past to retrieve experiences and cognitions that have become inaccessible Proust dives in and swims down to the bottom and he finds them and he grabs them and he brings them back up and then hands them to you Which is pretty nuts I mean it's intense I feel fucked up from itHm I thought I wanted to talk about this book but maybe I just want to pack up my shit after all I really do want to review this book but maybe it's too soon? It's a really insane novel and there's tons of stuff in it I'd really love to dork out about on here but yeah maybe too soon I might come back and say something coherent later on when it's all settled down a bitI guess the only thing I need to add right at this moment is that I really felt like Proust gave me this particular combination of the things I need most I really can't read anything too difficult or serious and to anyone who's considering giving Proust a try I can't emphasize this enough forget what you heard this book is anything but a ponderous drag It's silly and hilarious and smart and bizarre and there's tons of fashion and sex and depravity and satire and insane plot twists that don't make any sense I personally have a very short attention span and I cannot and do not read anything that isn't vastly entertaining In Search of Lost Time is VASTLY ENTERTAINING Except for The Captive which is only somewhat entertaining This is not to say that it's for everyone and I can see how lots of people would totally hate this HOWEVER it's definitely worth a shot because this book could change your life I mean that It could I'm a completely different person now than I was when I started So what if this means I'm now an obsessively jealous elitist antisemitic agoraphobic pervert who speaks exclusively in run on sentences? I think I'm better for it and you might be too


  4. says:

    In reality every reader is while he is reading the reader of his own self The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers the reader to enable him to discern what without this book he would perhaps never have perceived in himself I struggled with Proust on and off for three years I read these books sitting standing lying down in cars and on trains waiting in airports on commutes to work relaxing on vacation Some of it I read in New York some in Madrid Lisbon Vienna By now this book functions as my own madeleine with different passages triggering memories from widely scattered places and periods in my lifeI am surprised I reached the end Every time I put down a volume I was sure I would never pick up another; each installment only promised of the same and I had already had than enough; but then the nagging sense of the incomplete overcame my aversion and with mixed feeling I would pick up the next one and repeat the experienceThroughout this long voyage my response to Proust has been consistent—I should say consistently inconsistent—alternately admiration and frustration There are times when I fall completely under Proust’s spell and times when I find his writing intolerable Probably this mixture has much to do with what Harold Bloom called the “anxiety of influence” since almost as soon as I finished the first volume I started working on a novel a novel which very clearly bears the traces of Proust’s influence It may be that with Proust I have something of an Oedipal complex and I need to lodge criticism at his work in order to clear the air for my own—though I don’t know What I do know is that my reactions to this book have proven tempestuous and I have yet to spur myself to write a fair reviewWhen approaching a novel of this size and complexity it is difficult to know where to start Can In Search of Lost Time even be called a novel? In a writing class my instructor told us that any story needs to have a protagonist an objective a series of obstacles a strategy for overcoming these obstacles a seuence of failures and successes all of it culminating in a grand climax that leads directly to a resolution If you look carefully you can indeed make out the bare outline of this dramatic pattern in Proust’s work But like the slender skeleton of a peacock buried under a mountain of feathers this outline serves as a vague scaffold over which are draped colorful ornament; and it is the ornament that attracts our attentionIn most novels any given passage will serve some dramatic purpose characterization description plot However there are times when the author will pull back from the story to make a general comment on society humanity or the world These comments are very often pungent and aphoristic—the most uotable section of the whole book since they do not depend on their context Some authors like Dickens very infreuently make these sorts of remarks; others like George Elliot are full of them “Will not a tiny speck very close to our vision blot out the glory of the world and leave only a margin by which we see the blot? I know of no speck so troublesome as self”Elliot’s masterpiece Middlemarch is distinguished for being simultaneously didactic and dramatic eual parts analysis and art Proust goes even further in the direction of analysis totally overwhelming every other aspect of the book with his ceaseless commentary No event however insignificant happens without being dissected; the Narrator lets no observation go unobserved even at the cost of being redundant This endless exegesis circling the same themes with relentless exactitude is what swells this book to its famously vast proportions Tolstoy no laconic writer used less than half the length to tell a story that spanned years and encompassed whole nations The story Proust tells could have been told by say Jane Austen in 400 pages—although this would leave out everything that makes it worth readingDifferent as the two authors are the social milieu Proust represents is oddly reminiscent of Jane Austen’s world being populated by snobby aristocrats who jostle for status and who never have to work a world of elegant gatherings witty conversation and artistic dilettantism Austen and Proust also share an affinity for satirizing their worlds although they use different means for very different ends In any case both Austen’s England and Proust’s France are long gone and it can be very difficult for the modern reader to sympathize with these characters whose priorities manners and lifestyle are so distant from our own Why should we care about soirées and salons dukes and duchesses who do nothing but gossip pursue petty love affairs and pontificate ignorantly in their pinched world?Yet this narrow social milieu though always in focus only forms the backdrop for Proust’s real purpose; and this purpose is suitably universal to create a religion of art A new religion was needed Proust was writing at a turbulent time in European history in the aftermath of the Death of God as the fin de siècle high society of his youth was shattered by World War I as new notions of psychology overturned old verities of human behavior as every convention in art music and literature was being broken Even the physical world was becoming unrecognizable—populated by uantum fields and bending space time It was the world of Freud’s unconscious Einstein’s relativity and Picasso’s cubism when new theories about everything were embraced Granted Proust may have been only peripherally aware of these historical currents but he was no doubt responsive to them as this novel amply provesIn this book Proust sets out to show that our salvation lays in art This means showing us that our salvation does not lay in anything else Specifically Proust must demonstrate that social status and romantic love two universal human aspirations are will o’ the wisps He does this subtly and slowly First as a young man the Protagonist is awed by high society The names of famous actresses writers composers and most of all socialites—the aristocratic Guermantes—hold a mysterious allure that he finds irresistible He slowly learns how to behave in salons and to hold his own in conversation eventually meeting all the people he idolized from afar But when he finally does make the acuaintance of these elite socialites he finds that their wit is exaggerated their knowledge superficial their opinions conventional their artistic taste deficient In short the allure of status was emptyAnd not only that temporary In the final volume Proust demonstrates that status waxes and wanes with changes of fashion often in unforeseen ways By the end of the book Rachel who began as a prostitute is a celebrated actress; while Berma who began as a celebrated actress ends as a broken down old women still respected but no longer fashionable The Protagonist’s friend Bloch who is a flatfooted stupid and awkward man ends the book as a celebrated author despite a total lack of originality or wit The Baron de Charlus an intensely proud man ends up doffing his hat to nearly anyone he runs into in the street while the rest of society ostracizes him Status in other words being based on nothing but mass whim is liable to change whimsicallyProust’s views of love are even cynical The Protagonist does have a genuine affection for his mother and grandmother; but these are almost the only genuine bonds in the entire long novel When Proust looks at romantic love he sees only delusion and jealousy an inability to see another person accurately combined with a narcissistic urge to possess and a paranoia of losing them The archetypical Proustian relationship is that between Swann and Odette wherein Swann a figure in high society has a casual dalliance with Odette a courtesan and despite not thinking much of Odette Swann nearly loses his mind when he begins to suspect she is cheating on him He marries Odette not out of romantic passion but in order to gain some measure of peace from his paranoid jealousySummarized in this way Proust’s views seem if somewhat disenchanted hardly radical But the real thrust of Proust’s thinking depends on a truly radical subjectivism This book as Harold Bloom points out is wisdom literature firmly rooted in the introspective tradition of Montaigne But Proust is than introspective A true Cartesian Proust is solipsistic And much of his rejection of worldly sources of happiness and his concomitant embrace of art depends on this intensely first person view of the worldIn his emphasis on the subjective basis of reality Proust’s thought is often oddly reminiscent of Buddhism Our personalities far from being stable are nothing but an endless flux that changes from moment to moment; each second we die and are born again What’s we perceive other people through the lens of our own desires knowledge opinions and biases and therefore never perceive accurately There are as many versions of you as there are people to perceive you Thus we never really know another person Our relationships with friends and lovers are really relationships with mental constructions that have only a tenuous connection with the real person The bonds between ourselves and another person exist only in our minds Memory as it grows fainter loosens them and notwithstanding the illusion by which we want to be duped and with which out of love friendship politeness deference duty we dupe other people we exist alone Man is the creature who cannot escape from himself who knows other people only in himself and when he asserts the contrary he is lying You might think that this is a shockingly cynical view and it is; but Proust adheres to it consistently Here he is on friendship our friends being friends only in the light of an agreeable folly which travels with us through life and to which we readily accommodate ourselves but which at the bottom of our hearts we know to be no reasonable than the delusions of the man who talks to furniture because he believes that it is alive And love of course comes off even worse than friendship Almost everyone was surprised at the marriage and that in itself is surprising No doubt very few people understand the purely subjective nature of the phenomenon we call love or how it creates so to speak a supplementary person distinct from the person whom the world knows by the same name a person most of whose constituent elements are derived from ourselves In the dissolving acid of Proust’s solipsism one can see why he considers both social status and romantic love as vain pursuits since they are not and can never be based on anything but a delusion Of course status and love do bring people happiness at least temporarily But Proust is careful to show that all happiness and sadness caused by these things have nothing to do with their reality but only with our subjective understanding of that reality Depending on how we interpret a word or analyze an intention; depending on whether we hold someone in esteem or in contempt—depending in short on how we subjectively understand what we experience—we will be happy or sad The source of all suffering and bliss is in the mind not the world but we are normally blind to this fact and thus go on mistakenly trying to alter the world “I had realized before now that it is only a clumsy and erroneous perception which places everything in the object when really everything is in the mind”As you can see we are moving in a strikingly mystical direction where love and success are just egotistic delusions hypostatized mental artifacts that we mistake for solid reality So what should we do? Proust’s answer to this predicament is also mystical in flavor Normally we are trapped by our perspective thinking that we are viewing reality when we are actually just experiencing our own warped mental apparatus To break us out of this trap we must first experience unhappiness “As for happiness that is really useful only in one way only by making unhappiness possible” And unhappiness results when something we mistook to be solid—reputation love even life itself—is shown to be fleeting and unreal that our everyday reality is based on nothing but lies mistakes and misunderstandings You might say this is Proust’s version of Christian consolation For in the despair that opens up during these crises we can give up our fantasies and partake in Proustian mysticismThis mysticism consists in reconnecting with our basic sensations To do this Proust does not like the Buddhists turn to meditation on the present moment Instead he relies on art and memory Normal language is totally inadeuate to this task Our words being universally used only convey that aspect of experience that is common to everyone; all the individual savor of a perception its most essential uality is lost But great artists—like the fictitious Vinteuil Bergotte or Elstir—can use their medium to overcome the usual limits of discourse transmitting the full power of their perspectives Even so this artistic communication can only act as a spur for our own introspective uest Shorn of illusory happiness inspired by example we can probe our own memory and experience the bliss of pure experienceMemory is essential in this for Proust thinks that it is only by juxtaposing one experience with another that we can see the perception in its pure form without any reference to our conventional reality This is why moments of involuntary memory like the madeleine episode are so important for Proust it is in these moments when a present experience triggers a long buried memory that we can re visit the experiences of our past free from delusion as a pure impartial spectator The final Proustian wisdom is essentially contemplative passive aesthetic able to see the ironies of human life and to appreciate the recurring patterns of human existenceProust’s goal then is to do for the reader what Bergotte Elstir and Vinteuil did for his Narrator to create art that acts as a window to the self And his style is exactly suited to this purpose In my review of a book on meditation I noted what I called the “novelistic imagination” which is our tendency to see the world as a setting and ourselves as the Protagonist beset by trials and tribulations Meditation aims to break out of this rather unrealistic mindset by focusing on the present moment Proust’s aim is similar but his method is different He takes the narrative tendency of the novelistic imagination and stretches and stretches pulling each sentence apart twisting it around itself extending the form and padding the structure until the narration is hardly narration at all until you are simply swimming in a sea of soundsBy doing so Proust allows you to feel the passage of time to make time palpable and real and to feel our memory processing and being activated over and over again in response to passing sensations This way Proust hopes to bring us in contact with reality “An hour is not merely an hour it is a vase full of scents and sounds and projects and climates and what we call reality is a certain connection between these immediate sensations and the memories which envelop us simultaneously with them”This is my attempt to elucidate Proust’s aesthetic religion Of course like any religion of art it is objectionable for manifold reasons it lacks any moral compass it is elitist it is purely passive Not only that but Proust connects with his religion a solipsism that is uestionable on philosophic grounds not to mention cynical in the extreme It is a cold antisocial unsympathetic doctrine with appeal only to disenchanted aesthetes But of course this is ultimately a work of art and not of philosophy; and so In Search of Lost Time must be judged on literary grounds When it comes to the criteria by which we judge a usual novelist—characterization dialogue plot—I think Proust is somewhat weak There is of course little plot to speak of And although Harold Bloom thought that Proust was a rival of Shakespeare when it came to characterization—a judgment that baffles me—I felt very little for any of the people in this novel They all speak in Proust’s longwinded voice and so never came alive for me It always seems as if I am overhearing Proust describe someone rather than meeting them myselfBut of course one cannot appraise Proust using these standards This novel is above all audacious It is a modernist tour de force which turns nearly every novelistic convention on its head More than that it is a novel of ideas which puts forward a radical view of the human predicament and its own answers to the perennial uestions of life It is wisdom literature rooted deeply in tradition while being absolutely original and uncompromising in its newness It is both intensely beautiful and intensely ugly—hideously sublime For anyone who can pull themselves through all its pages it will leave them deeply marked I know I have been


  5. says:

    Celebrity Death Match Special In Search of Lost Time versus Harry PotterThe francophone world was stunned by today's release of papers sealed by Proust for 100 years after publication of the initial volume of his famous series which finally reveal his original draft manuscripts In the rest of this review you can find out what Proust's books looked like before his well meaning but unworldly editor decided that French literateurs would prefer something slightly differentview spoiler1 Marcel Proust and the Magic CookieTraumatised by years of living in the cupboard under the stairs and never getting a goodnight kiss from Aunt Petunia Marcel can't remember a thing about his childhood One day he eats a magic cookie and it all comes back to him2 Marcel Proust and the Change of PlanMarcel is briefly involved with Hermione but decides after a heavy petting session goes wrong that it's not such a good idea after all He spends a nice summer holiday at the seaside where he meets Ginny or possibly someone else3 Marcel Proust and the Dodgy DuchessRita Skeeter has turned up at Hogwarts pretending to be a member of the French nobility A star struck Marcel falls for it and starts stalking her everywhere In the end he sees through her ruse and realises that she's just a hack journalist4 Marcel Proust and the Cottaging BaronMarcel is astonished to discover Lucius Malfoy and Hagrid The rest of this paragraph has been withdrawn following legal advice5 Marcel Proust and the Abusive RelationshipMarcel and Ginny are not getting on very well Marcel keeps cross examining her about what she's doing when she claims to be attending meetings of Dumbledore's Army and accuses her of having a lesbian affair with Cho Chang When Ginny denies it he rants at her in page long uppercase sentences6 Marcel Proust and the Deceased GirlfriendGinny is killed in a freak broomstick accident when she falls off her Nimbus 3000 Marcel is very sad for a while but then returns to interrogating Cho about what was really going on7 Marcel Proust and the Commercial SuccessAlthough Voldemort's forces are poised to strike Marcel's thoughts are elsewhere He's always wanted to be a bestselling novelist but can't think how to get started As the Death Eaters storm Hogwarts he suddenly understands that he just needs to write down all the things that have happened to him changing names and a few details and he will sell a zillion copies plus movie rights hide spoiler


  6. says:

    IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSEMarcel eats the madeleine Marcel Oh that really reminds me of somethingMarcel's friend Oh yes? What?Marcel I can't uite put my finger on iterhmmm No it's goneMarcel's friend Oh well It probably wasn't that important


  7. says:

    “We do not receive wisdom we must discover it for ourselves after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us which no one can spare us for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world The lives that you admire the attitudes that seem noble to you have not been shaped by a paterfamilias or a schoolmaster they have sprung from very different beginnings having been influenced by evil or commonplace that prevailed round them They represent a struggle and a victory” Proust is a great teacher This may sound embarrassingly platitudinous and yet I find that it is a fact altogether too easily overlooked in our incessant praise or bemoaning of his technical achievements as a stylistic innovator Setting aside for a while the whole issue of innovative narrative techniue which is nonetheless essential to the realization of his thought through literary art we can appreciate that he has something important to teach us about what it means to be wise or in short a fully realized human being He does so by bodying forth through narrative a model I'd even say a paradigm of the process of self knowledge In so doing he becomes an indispensable companion to our own most personal and intimate developmental struggle to compass the manifold disjointed flux of experience into a coherent meaningful whole that we can point to as “our self” As psychologists now recognize a series of narrative acts or “acts of meaning” as Jerome Bruner put it weave together one by one the fabric of our identity What we are fundamentally is a narrative identity a carefully demarcated world of meaning to which we cling in the face of the flux notice Proust's recurring focus of description thresholds and borders doorways and windows walls and fences The slow construction of this most fundamental narrative unity that constitutes the real ground of our most mundane awareness is Proust's chosen theme This fundamental understanding of the self making self is paradoxically the culmination of the pursuit of self knowledge And in this Proust puts his finger on the very pulse of what identity means and can mean in our historical epoch As Charles Taylor points out in Sources of the Self the fundamental understanding of an ineradicable and refractory to the theoretical understanding and its search for pure transparency poietic element that lies at the heart of all our acts of knowing is foundational for modern thought in general In short we make the self we strive to know necessarily Deliberations about meanings to entertain and construct form the very ground we stand on in our attempts to reflect and to know Self In this Proust's narrative art implicitly critiues the foundational move of Western philosophy and intellectual history alike namely Plato's separation between narrative and knowledge theoria and poiesis art and philosophy Proust seems to say that theoria is poietic and poiesis is theoretical and reminds us the primal etymological sense of narrative gno – to know In this he elevates the modern novel to the status of a privileged epistemic instrument and redefines the aim of wisdom The artist stakes out for himself his own wisdom path distinct from that of the philosopher The knowing to be sought is the kind of knowing we live by His narrative re enacts those acts of knowing by which we structure a life story and come to affirm a self and then later transcend itThe mainstream of modern thought has of course led in the opposite direction Reductionist mechanism aspires to corner the mind into some ultimate system a self made cage of thought a Theory of “Everything” from which it may never again emerge to see the light of day Any access to immediate experience must be mediated by said totalizing System; any experience that does not fit therein is to be explained away While we managed to keep at bay political totalitarianism as a civilization intellectual totalitarianism still rules the day as an ever appetizing lodestar If we could but persuade ourselves to stay in the box we made we might buy ourselves some semblance of certainty provided we forget we ourselves have fabricated it William Barrett in “The Illusion of Techniue” outlines this totalizing aspect of modern thought well when he shows how time and again the great thinkers of modernity are subject to the irresistible temptation to “reify the objects of their symbolism” thereby becoming “victims of their own language”Proust's approach to the whole uestion of how we may become wise differs from this mainstream in two ways first he avoids becoming a “victim of his symbolism” by adopting a “meta” stance vis a vis his own cognitive framings and second he validates the adeuacy to experience of his methodology by continually touching base with where we actually stand in our most intimate dealings with the world through a close description of detail I already touched on the first but essentially the critical decision here lies in his not assuming transparency and instead foregrounding and scrutinizing the constructive process of knowing a life as it unfolds There is wisdom in this for by pretending that our mental filters are transparent to reality we risk mistaking the specks of dirt on our windowpane for features in the landscape The fundamental working metaphor Proust operates with here is the magic lantern of the mind This is introduced early on in the context of one of those childhood revelations that seems to suddenly make clear for us the sense of this strange shadowy life The young narrator lying in his bed awaiting sleep while struggling with separation anxiety from his mother watched the projected fairytale images of the magic lantern gliding across his walls furniture doorknob The reference to Plato's Cave is unmistakable and yet the wisdom to be found here lies not in peering through to the substantial origin of these shadowy fairytale forms that float over the surface of our awareness The umbilical chord to such cosmic orders is severed for Proust as for so many moderns We are left floating in a sea of images that strange in between realm where mind approaches nature but never uite rests in a secure grasp of it The best lucidity we can hope for comes from an acceptance of the free floating uality of the magic lantern of our minds it touches reality only when as the projected fairytale images the form is distorted as it glides over an obtruding object such as the doorknob The entire rest of the narrative is like a grand cartography of the magic lantern of the mind and of the unshakable unsettling yet poignant sense of irreality that it brings to the heart of even our most lucid daylight experience In this Proust has a lot in common with the stripping down of layer upon layer of formal illusion that characterizes Zen meditation The work is indeed much like a guided meditation manual The hard earned lucidity to be found at the culmination of the gathering back together act at the end of the narrative in Time Regained is one not of “seeing through” to some architectonic world structure which must always in the end be a cognitive artifact endlessly referencing us even as we struggle to wipe ourselves out of our picture; it is instead a lucidity that comes from a comprehensive grasp of the ineradicable stain our filtration systems leave on even the most intimate seemingly immediate moments We never stand in the light of day It is a scary realization but an unshakable one and one that peers at the very heart of the human condition We always stand in the shadow of our own form and of our limited capacity for realization Our relation to reality must be understood and fully realized by incrementally beating against our walls at last coming to make peace with them and in so doing finding our only possible transcendence And second we come to the crucial revelation detailed description allows and that theoretical systems by their nature must overlook Detailed description while making lazy readers cringe is the writer's best friend as well as hisher greatest advantage over the philosophical systematizer It is how the modern novel becomes a philosophically significant epistemic instrument In my review of Kant's Critiue of Pure Reason I noted that Kant and Proust can be understood as complementary opposites of the phenomenological spectrum and that a fully realized self understanding must encompass both the stances that they represent Kant offers the phenomenology of logical principles Proust the sketch of phenomenological form by which we gain a hold of lived experience I'd add here that there's simply no philosophical substitute for Proust and for the kind of world disclosure his narrative techniue enables he is a better cartographer of Heidegger's Clearing and Husserl's Lifeworld than they ever could be although I deeply admire both And this is because his literary methodology allows him to scrutinize and lay bare the workings of that fundamental act of reflective thought description It goes right to the heart of our moment to moment encounter with reality in re enacting the constructive framing we impose through our descriptions One has to admire the lucidity and tenacity with which Proust takes up his analytical scalpel to the most indefinite amorphous phenomena He is in my estimation a cartographer of indefinite who charts the limits of representation and thus of our capacity for lucidity and meaning To define and articulate the undefinable details of lived experience – while foregrounding the constructive nature of all such articulation definition and cognitive framing is both his insane narrative task and greatest epistemic achievement Relish a densely descriptive paragraph of his say of a summer field or of the subtly shifting feel of the atmosphere and mood change of a room as different personages enter and exit Countless pages meticulously render articulate what we usually allow to fester untapped in the margins of liminal awareness through synaesthetic descriptions that try to recapture the comprehensive feel of the mingling of shades at twilight of the shifting of air currents of the interpenetration of music and scent and then of the pain of lack running through it all of never attaining some culminating state of sufficiency For my own part far from having to strain to appreciate the descriptive passages I find they provide meditative exercise that gives me the tools to better bring my day to day experiences to articulate clarity instead of lazily allowing them to glide past In so doing they intensify my capacity for awareness and presence in the world Both cognitive form and narrative techniue here are opened up to their widest capaciousness and plasticity in order to incorporate not only dramatic action but its peripheral reverberation not only central figure but its background of embeddedness not only words but their echoes too I feel alive after reading Proust present to my experiences and ashamed at how much of my life I let slip by me each and every day The perspective the narrator achieves over his life here makes our usual biographical sense seem botched and anemic In comparison it seems like we have scarcely deigned to show up for our life story much at all Instead of integrating and transcending in a moment of lucidity that surpasses our highest attained perspectival unity as the narrator does at the culmination of the narrative when the various strands somehow coalesce we just let it all slip by rush on to the next thing and through this habit enacted out of laziness skim through our lives without delving deeper into the mystery they disclose Experience washes over us and past us leaving us untransformed and not building up to a unity which is indeed wholly ours His analysis of the pervasiveness of Habit as our substitute for awareness here is sobering “Most of our faculties lie dormant because they can rely upon Habit which knows what there is to be done and has no need of their services” He shows how through it we fall back on prematurely fossilized interpretive structures “our personality” and fail to rise up to the task of continuing to develop resources for gathering meanings as they continue to unfold and emerge The entire work seems to urge us to recall that psychological maturation unlike physical doesn't occur automatically or is finished once and for all at a specific moment in time after puberty It ends with death or with its psychological correlative – the death we experience when we opt out of the necessarily ongoing struggle to continue articulating an increasingly integrative perspective on our lives Premature unity is psychological death; through it our lives become a foreclosed matter As Beckett notes in his study of Proust “The creation of the world did not take place once and for all time but takes place every day” The same goes for our own little life world There is no resting in the process of endless formal development until death because experience never ceases to unfold new capacities for revelation Our understanding can never rest content with yesterday's story when facing today's experiences Proust shows us what the stakes for self knowledge are and this is as inspiring for us ordinary barely aware mortals as it is supremely humbling And it is enabling as any creative work should be It shows the way to greater realization


  8. says:

    The first volume of 'In Search of Lost Time' ISoLT or 'Remembrance of Things Past' RoTP or 'À la recherche du temps perdu' Merde mère un autre? was first published in France 100 years ago this month I started reading in February and now end this beast in November Apparently I needed a little wind up to start and if the last 12 hours is any indication I will need a wee bit of time to settle down from the mess Proust has left in my headThis is a book that feels like a hypnotic river that both transports nourishes warms and transcends 4211 pages later and I feel like this is a novel I want to read again both immediately and much much later I had barely put down Time Regained and I was like an orobus reaching for 'Swann's Way' I'm going to chew on my BIG review of ISoLT for awhile I don't know if I'm ready to try to explain or even understand the whole of Proust yet Hell I'm not sure I'm ready to look at myself that closely yetReading Proust was a bit like reading 'Finnegans Wake' Certainly not the details or style mind you Proust wasn't deliberately sending his prose into language fractals neologisms and ghillie suits of his own idioglossia Proust isn't trying to capture or interpret the night or dreams although dreams and sleep do play a part of ISoLT Proust isn't trying to hide he is seeking to uncover Both works however are best approached as literature that shouldn't be sipped These are pieces that you need to let wash over you You will miss parts for sure but unless you are a Joyce or Proust scholar you won't uncover 110 of what they are really sending your direction anyway Let the prose roll Let the messages seep into your conciousness Beware of the designs of the left brained temptor to stop every sentenece and try to comprehend completely what was written Finnegans wake is too obscure and ISoLT is too damn long to do this Pull your feet up push your head back and float damn you alla uick after note the first four books of Proust I read were the Viking Translations done by Lydia Davis Bk 1 James Grieve Bk 2 Mark Treharne Bks 3 4 The last three Bks 5 7 were the Modern Library's Enright Scott Moncrieff translations


  9. says:

    In another LIST book 184 it was said that unless you have the opportunity to be in jail or have to hide out for a long time you can't read the whole of In Search of Lost Time Volume 1 Swann’s Way ★★★★☆Volume 2 Within a Budding Grove ★★★☆☆Volume 3 The Guermantes Way ★★☆☆☆Volume 4 Cities of the Plain ★★★★★Volume 5 The Captive ★★★★★Volume 6 The Fugitive ★★★★☆Volume 7 Time Regained ★★★★★


  10. says:

    I read the whole damn thing for which I feel like demanding a medal A famous uote about this work goes I may be thicker skinned than most but I just can't understand why anyone should take thirty pages to describe how he tosses about in bed because he can't get to sleep I clutched my headI heartily agree Nor do I like dinner parties that take longer to read about than they took to occur The main problem with Proust and his admirers is that they are convinced that the French aristocracy with all their trivial concerns and all their trivial conversations were actually interesting In reality they were very dull and conventional people One of Proust's friends actually said that to him but Proust was too status struck to listenThe only character in the books I liked was Charles Morel because he screwed everyone over and treated them like dirt By the time I finished I thought they deserved him