Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Proust wrote a novel not a memoir

Proust used his life to write his novel, and a novel is fiction. It's unfortunate that writers and agents and editors can't seem to get this straight. These faux-memoirs would be written as novels, probably wonderful novels, if the literary establishment and the public responded to the fictionalized story as strongly as they do to so-called memoir. And so we tut-tut over the literary scandals and messes which surfaced this week, not one but three!

Ernest Hemingway stated that "All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened." This understanding, alas, seems to be lost.

I'm glad that Proust had enough sense to know the difference between fiction and memoir and to write his great novel instead of his "memories." All his memories are in the novel, shaped and honed to perfection. How clever and insightful he is.

For more information of the latest literary scandals (and Proust loved nothing better than a good gossip) read here:

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