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Friday, 22 February 2013


To have read Proust is a benchmark of a cultivated person – in the West at least.  Last summer I re-read all of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu’ on my I-Pad.

From Christopher Hitchins’ review of ‘Swann’s Way ‘by Marcel Proust, translated by Lydia Davis.
The Acutest Ear in Paris….if asked to summarise the achievement of Proust I reply as dauntlessly as I dared that his is the work ‘par excellence’ that exposes and clarifies the springs of human motivation…along with being “about” social climate and fashion, and the countryside versus the city, and sexual inversion and also Jewishness, with l’affaire Dreyfuss one of the binding and constitutive elements in its narrative, Proust’s novel…is all about time.

Also from this article – regarding English translations - Nancy Mitford wrote to Evelyn Waugh…There is not one [joke] in all sixteen of S. Monerieff’s volumes.  In French one laughs from the stomach, as when reading you”. To use an old-fashioned expression ‘non swanks’ – I re-read it in French. 

For shirkers who need to practice the language there are some charming books of cartoons.

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