Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Year of Reading Proust

Phyllis Rose wrote The Year of Reading Proust. It arrived today from an Amazon seller, and I am liking it already. Rose is an academic and a scholar, while Odette is a former computer programmer who once could have been a scholar and chose Another Path. Getting back to the scholar seems impossible. So there are regrets and a certain gnashing of teeth. It's amazing the pull that Proust still exercises. Books, movies, discussions, reading. We ask ourselves why? Maybe an answer will come. This is my hope. There is no point in nattering on about Proust for a year. Is there? I think not. So we'll hope this doesn't degrade to nattering.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Sonata CD arrived

I am underwhelmed by the Saint-Saens sonata. It's going to require my sitting down and listening with concentration a few times. Not that it's bad. I just didn't find it as riveting as Marcel did and wasn't even sure I correctly identified the petite phrase. Oh well. Must be a problemo with my tin ear.

Off to a writer's conference which mayhap will inspire.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Proust Receives Prix Goncourt in 1919

Today the NYTimes announced that Jonathan Littel, an American ex-pat won the 2006 Prix Goncourt for a 913 page book, Les Bienveillantes.

Proust's 1919 prize swirled in controvery for several reasons. The prize is supposed to go to a young writer, and Proust was 48, and the feeling was that the prize should have gone to a war novel or at least to someone who had served in the Great War. Proust had asthma and was excused from service. What a disaster that would have been!

When I read the article in the Times, I realized that a) I would never win the Prix, b) I would never win any great literary prize, and c) I probably would not win any MWA or Agatha awards either. Won't climb a tall mountain or cross a great desert on a camel. Like Proust, I was never adventurous, except in the mind which is the best and safest place to have adventures.

It was fitting that France awarded Proust his prize. If they had done it sooner, then 1919 would have been open for another writer. Windows of opportunity open and slam shut.


Monday, November 06, 2006

In Search of Something Original

Merde! I'm still smarting from my new knowledge that the the idea of blogging a reading of Proust is so yesterday. Makes me want to skulk around and forgot the whole project.

Being in IT (Information Technology, 'computers' for you Luddites) for 20+ years has left its mark. I'm no longer a scholar or even a thinker in the academic sense. Instead I'm more of a logician. Me? How could this has happened? Of course it helps cut through the crap and the bullshit. Leading the sacred cows to the slaughterhouse , however, wins won no medals. I confess to a competitive bent, so unattractive in a young lady of my generation, or even a grown woman.

Nonetheless, ladylike, I stop and smell the flowers. Maybe the hawthorns? For sure the linden trees. Will I even have patience with Proust? What if I hate him now? Can I even be honest about the whole endeavor?

We will find out all these things down the road in Foxborough.



Saturday, November 04, 2006

Not terribly originale. . .

Merde! I thought I was the only person ever to devote a year to reading Proust and blogging it and the world is full of us. There is indeed, nothing new (nouveau) under the sun except maybe the first Beaujolais.

So here are some links to other Proustians.

Odette will be generous with links to others and citing opinions of others. We're all in this together, right?

C'est Bon!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Proust, The Early Years

I got out George D. Painter's Proust biography, astonished that it was written in 1959. He provides photos and maps and good references. If Proust were writing today, he might publish his great work as memoir instead of a novel, as he used his life but he synthesized and shaped and molded like some of today's memoirists, except he called it fiction. Too bad others don't always follow his example.

The Sonata has been shipped, and I am chomping at the bit to listen to it. Any number of classical "tunes" are sort of like a cheapy pop songs. If you can hum it, does that make it cliched and sentimental. I don't think so.

But then, I used to like Rod McKuen. Way back when God was a boy. I like to think that my tastes are catholic.