Monday, August 29, 2016

26.2 miles with Marcel; I will bring bottled water

In the summer of 2006, I think, I read Marcel Proust's novel Swann's Way. Most of that reading was done in a porch swing during very pleasant weather. I don't remember what edition/translation I read, but when I finished "Place Names," I thought, "Now that was an interesting book. I assume I'll read the other five volumes someday." A decade passed, alarmingly quickly, and I did not read any of the subsequent books of In Search of Lost Time though I read some of Proust's shorter works here and there, now and then. Mostly then. Mighty Reader, in the meanwhile, kept reading and finished In Search of Lost Time as well as, I think, everything else of Proust's that has been translated into English (except for that novel that is apparently a sort of short rough draft of ISoLT). Anyway, this unfinished business has remained a nagging voice in my pre-conscious mind, and last fall, or maybe last winter, Mighty Reader and I declared that we would spend the summer of 2016 performing A Duet in Search of Time to Read, which is to say, a two-person readalong of ISoLT.

Summer of 2016 is, as we can all see, mostly past us, at least in the Northern Hemisphere of Planet Earth. However, the time finally almost seems ripe for this event. As soon as Mighty Reader finishes her Jasper Fforde re-read and I finish that Dinesen book which I can probably put aside until 2017 anyway as it's just not sending me, we will be off and running for our marathon Proust read. I don't know why I am telling you any of this. Do you care if I read Proust? No, you do not, just as I was only vaguely yet politely interested to hear about your own reading of Proust, those of you who have done. But still, here I am, typing away. Where was I?

For the Proust marathon, I will be reading this set, which Mighty Reader so kindly gave me on my recent birthday. Mighty Reader will be employing a variety of translations, just like the last time she read the complete In Search of Lost Time.

14 comments:

  1. Well, good luck with that one. (I do want to know what Dinesen title is not sending you.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seven Gothic Tales. It's okay, but it's no Out of Africa. It might just be too gothic for my tastes just now. The last two pages of "The Monkey" are simply insane. Nobody could've seen that coming. And what the hell is it supposed to mean? What was the monkey's agenda? Who knows?

      Delete
    2. *dies laughing* OK, I'll give you The Monkey.

      Delete
    3. Ah, I had the same question about you and Dinesen. I've read "Seven Gothic Tales" several times but not in a while. Maybe it's time to read it again.

      Delete
    4. By the end of the book, I was converted. Some very fine stuff in there.

      Delete
  2. Next time through, I'm going to employ a variety of translation. See what's going on away from Scott-Moncrieff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, the Scott-Moncrieff translation has gone through multiple hands since his, revising away. I don't want the distraction of wondering about different interpretations from volume to volume.

      Delete
  3. Oh, if revised Scott-Moncrieff's count as variety, then I guess I have done that.

    Seven Gothic Tales was too weird, when I read it a couple of years ago, for me to write about. I realized I would have to reread it just to get the basics right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The closest I get to Gothic literature is Poe, or maybe Lovecraft or ETA Hoffmann. I haven't read anything by Radcliff, etc. Dinesen's book first makes me want to sleep, and then it wakes me up in an alarming manner, but then it doesn't keep me awake. I am not a good reader of this type of thing, and I blame it on lack of familiarity.

      Delete
  4. believe it or not, there's a graphic translation of Swann's Way and ISoLT; i read (scanned, looked) at it/them and i thought they were pretty good...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen that, too. I confess that comic books make my nerves and skin itch. Even fancy-dress comic books.

      Delete
  5. The "short rough draft," which I'm guessing is Contre Saint-Beuve, is worth it if she can find a copy. I don't remember who said Proust would have been twentieth-century France's greatest literary critic if he hadn't been its greatest novelist, but reading Contre is probably the best way to see what they were getting at.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the one, yes. After spending 20 minutes with Google, I am now much better informed about that book and it does look pretty good. Probably I'd like it more than would Mighty Reader, she being less a fan of essays than I am. But Contre Saint-Beuve is not in print anywhere in English. I can hardly believe that.

      Delete
    2. I don't think they've given us a new Jean Santeuil in a while either. But they even published the incidental poems a short while ago, so you have to hope that someone, somewhere, is so eager for material that they decide Contre can weather another spin.

      Delete