Saturday, April 25, 2020

Reading Proust in Social Isolation

Reading Proust at last

And hiding out with some imaginary friends.   Thousands of pages.  New glitzy (and even weird) friends!   Nature.  Parties.  Conflict. Aristocrats. Servants.  The Beach! Dinner parties, soirees.
Proust's great work has it all.
If you're socially isolated and alone,  you  can immerse yourself in Remembrance of Times Past by Marcel Proust. AKA   In Search of Lost Time

Even if you read it once or twice, it's still worth another read.  Visit old friends.  

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Laperouse, A Gem of a Restaurant With an Interesting Reputation

A Restaurant To Remember 

 Proust and other famous French citizens dined there, some in the private salons.

My husband and I wandered into Laperouse one fine summer day (back when God was a boy).  Our first trip to Paris.  We stood outside the restaurant and studied the menu.  Wow!  Did it look good.  I thumbed through my Guide Michelin and discovered three stars! Impressive.  So far we hadn't eaten at any stars, although that would change.

So, babes in the cuisine world, in we trod.  Very elegant with lots of gold and fancy fabrics.  One could see little private dining rooms, but that was of no interest.  I think we ate from the carte du jour, but I can't be sure.  We had both fish and meat courses, a rarity for Americans.  The most  embarrassing moment came in the ordering process when the waiter asked which flavor of souffle for dessert.  I said "chocolate,"my husband said, "Grand Marnier."  The waiter said, "you will be sharing one," or words to that effect.  I quickly opted for Grand Marnier.  I had never had a souffle in my life.  Or meat and fish at one meal.  Or surroundings this opulent.  We also had both white wine  (with the fish) and red wine( with the meat). I recognized the actor Jean Gabin sitting at a nearby table.
This was heaven on earth.  Every bite delicious.  Oh, my goodness! We thrilled to the formal but polite service.  I didn't even know food could taste this good, and I came from a long line of great Kansas cooks.

So, eventually the bill was presented.  One hundred francs.  My God, that was twenty dollars.  Who could even imagine spending twenty dollars for lunch? Remember I said this was back when God was a boy.  That long ago. 
We staggered (due to the wine and the bill) out into the sunshine.  It was a meal to remember.  We would go on to eat at many famous restaurants in Europe and the U.S., but this was our first introduction to haute cuisine.  It could not have been better.

Of course, I had no idea that the little private rooms were also used for hanky panky.
So nice to hear that Laperouse is opening again.  Doubt if we could afford to eat there now, and the food is likely different, so I will just remember this stellar lunch with the service and the wine and the food and my souffle faux pas.   Vive la France!

Laperouse Web Site

Saturday, December 22, 2018

If You Have A First Edition of Proust, You're in Luck

A First Edition of Proust recently hit the auction block.  Yikes!  This is not chump change.

 Lucky buyer lucky seller World Record for Proust First Edition if Swann's Way
I have an ancient edition of two volums of the entire novel that I bought in Houston when I attended Rice.  In those days of yore, I  patronized a bookstore that had many books from the Seamen's Library in Galveston.  Some of them were waterlogged, so they might have gone though the great hurricane.  My copy of Proust (in English) is a bit ratty but holding its own.  Been read a lot.

How is YOUR copy  of Proust?  Is it a First Edition?  You are in luck. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Martha's Vineyard Reads Proust

Wow!  Wish I didn't live a ferry ride away.  The island of Martha's Vineyard (off the south coast of Massachusetts) will read Proust beginning late September.  Summers are busy, autumns are beautiful, and winters are long on the island as the population dips to the stalwart year rounders.

Reading Proust will make the winter pass a lot faster, and since much of Proust is set on the Atlantic coast where Proust spent summers with his grandmother,  the scenes should resonate with Vineyard residents.

See more here:  The Vineyard Gazette of September 20th

And here:  In Search of a Weinstein Lecture 

Let's  wish the hardy (mentally and physically) Vineyard residents happy reading.  Maybe they'll be baking madelines and imagine dinners at the Verdurins.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Visit to an Art Museum

Proust has the novelist Bergotte visit a gallery to see a painting by Vermeer.  While viewing the painting, the old writer drops dead.

Marcel Proust himself was a huge fan of Vermeer.  Painting, music, and architecture as well as writing permeates Proust's great novel, A La Recherche du Temps Perdu.  

This article discusses Proust and painting.  Marcel Proust Dreams of Art
The  painting of Proust himself will be familiar to readers of this blog.

This is a terrific article on Proust which I highly recommend.  It touches a lot of bases and gives the casual (if there is such a thing) reader of Proust a commanding explanation of Proust's relationship to painting and how it informs his art. 

I don't post very often because I don't find most of the recent references to Proust to be really about Proust or they don't have anything new to say.

If you find something of interest that I have missed, please comment on this blog. 

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Princess Alice Comes Into Her Own in NOLA

Marcel Proust used Princess Alice as a model for one of his female characters, Princesse de Luxembourg.  Proust had many models in society and in the demimonde.  Recently Princess Alice was honored in New Orleans, her birthplace.  What a stretch for a Proust character!  Or is it?
Read about it here: Society Lineage Lives 

By the way, in case you are interested in a Proust summary, not done by Monty Python (remember them?), Wikipedia does a decent job of describing the plot (such as it is) of Proust's great work.
Take a look.  Wikipedia on In Search of Lost Time

Putting On the Ritz

Marcel Proust had a relationship with the Ritz Hotel in Paris as did many notables throughout the hotel's history.

Everyone had an opportunity to buy a piece of the furnishings as the Ritz geared up for a huge remodeling job.

Sad to say,  I didn't buy anything,  Did you?  Read all about it here. A Bit of History, Luxury and Glamour

Friday, January 12, 2018

Watching Proust in New York City

The Proust news of late has been rather boring, and I've also been busy writing and trying to get my novels and short stories published.  But today something Proustian caught my eye that I wanted to share: 

Experiencing Proust in New York City

Writer Jane Lever has this to say: 
A Proust Sonata--a multimedia performance that brings Marcel Proust’s literary masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time, to life—is having its New York debut tonight at the French Institute Alliance Francaise.

So wish I could be there.  These events always sneak up on one.  But if you're reading this today, January 12th, and you're in the Big Apple and you're a Proust groupie, well, there's only one place to be.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Remarkable Proust Archives Sold at Auction

Treasure trove of Proust memorabilia auctioned off.  Wow! Proust Auction

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 2.19.42 PM.png

Intimate letters, photos and other items said to be worth about $800,000.00.  Did you get to bid?  

And this link from the BBC news:  More about the auctioned items

Sotheby's in Paris conducted the auction May 31, 2016.  I can just imagine Proust writing about such an event.  Maybe some of his characters were there.  Anyone from the Jockey Club?  Certainly Swann, and maybe a Duke and Duchess or two.  Can you imagine the scene?  Some tension, enemies crossing paths, the Verdurins snubbed and snubbing.  The bids, the fear of exposure when such personal items go on the auction  block.  One is almost tempted to write such a scene.

This is the time of year everyone would have been at the beach hotels (or private residences), so it was a good thing they had the auction before the summer season started.   

I have been terribly negligent with this blog.  Reading. Writing. Cooking.  Gardening.  Family stuff. 


Here's an extra:  Who made Proust swoon?  

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Catching Up On Proust

Whew!  Busy writing, cooking, gardening, doing the holidays, and racing around in general.  I have neglected Reading Proust in Foxborough, but here is a catch up post, because all the interesting Proust "stuff" that's come into my mailbox has been saved.  

Here are some cool links, in no particular order.  Read on. 

From November 11th.   Who was the woman who made Proust swoon?  Who was the model for the Duchess of Guermantes?

 France Marvels At a Class of Woman Who Made Proust Swoon

From November 19th:  The Albertine Workout.  What is heaven's name is that?  Read on and all shall be revealed.  Not what you think.  No weightlifting or wind sprints.  Some mental exercise involved.  Hey, it's Proust!

Enigmatic writer Anne Carson shares ‘The Albertine Workout’

Anne Carson Reads the Albertine Workout  

Proust: The Search by Benjamin Taylor review – scintillating narrative 

Swooning, scintillating, enigmatic:  we are definitely in Proust territory here. 

A new Proust biography from Yale University Press. 

 Searching for Proust and also lost time 

The Search: A Review 

 Are you exhausted yet?  Read on. 

December 10th, 2015  Proust Forum in Boca

My New York friends who spend part of the winter in Florida are always dismissive of its culture.  You probably were not in Boca Raton on Dec. 10th, but if you were, you, alas, missed an insightful lecture on Swann's Way.   Read on.  Proust and Swann's Way Discussed at Boca Forum 

Lastly, not strictly Proust, but tangential to Proust and I found it interesting to see Proust influencing the third world and you might also. 

January 11, 2016  Delhi, India

The popular writer-blogger talks about Delhi, Marcel Proust, and his days as a hotel waiter. 

 Mayank Austen Soofi is an interesting man.




Saturday, March 21, 2015

Proust's Famous Translator Gets His Own Biography

C. K. Scott Moncrieff, the man who translated most of In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust's great masterpiece
À la recherche du temps perdu, now has his own biography.

As a young woman I thought the name, Scott Moncrieff, was the most romantic-sounding name imaginable, and it still resonates with me.  Proust's translater had his job cut out for him.  More than one million words.  Mon Dieu, what a task!

 Chasing Lost Time: The Life of CK Scott Moncrieff by Jean Findlay's is new biography of her (several greats) uncle. Moncrieff had an interesting life of his own.   Moncrieff also translated Luigi Pirandello, although he claimed not to be fluent in Italian.

Here is a link to several articles and reviews of the biography.

The Guardian's Book Review

The Telegraph review

And The Economist

The Wall St. Journal and the New York Times also reviewed the book.

Take a look!  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Is Mondiano the "new" Proust?

Mondiano wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Hard to imagine that anyone could be the new Proust, but such a statement makes one want to read Mondiano, apparently never a big seller in this country.  We don't read a lot of foreign literature except for mysteries and thrillers, of course.   And those are usually late arriving in translations.            

I have discovered there is a Proust reading group in Ft. Lauderdale, a city that I very much like to visit, esp. in the depths of the New England winter, which apparently will begin here Sunday evening just in time for the big football game in Foxborough.  You don't think we all sit dunking our madelines into the camomile while reading Proust all the time, do you?  No.  Some of us are big football fans, as Foxborough is definitely more famous for the New England Patriots than for reading Proust.  But all that may change.  Or not. I would just love to post that the New England Patriots read Proust.  Such a coup. 

I have a new link for you.  Read Proust  Lots of good information and historical facts and verities. 

And if you have read Mondiano, let me know.  Apparently the French Culture Minister has NOT.  Oh, the shame.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

When Proust Met Joyce

NOT like "When Harry Met Sally."  Proust and Joyce met at the Hotel Majestic in Paris in 1922.  They didn't particularly take to each other.  Well, opposites don't always attract.  Wouldn't you have liked to have been a mouse in the woodwork or a fly on the ceiling? The hotel hosted other famous guests.  Ah, Paris!

Read all about it. Where Proust Met Joyce

Proust Complains of Noisy Neighbor

Our friend on 5th Avenue in New York, lives in an apartment where renovations have been proceeding apace next door.  Plaster dust, banging, rattling, drilling and all the noise that accompanies a remodeling have been her constant companion for months.

Imagine if your neighbor is Proust, and he complains to you in heartfelt letters about YOUR noise.  Ye Gods!  what would you do?  Read on.   Found in The New Yorker

The Sympathetic Spy Downstairs