Monday, June 30, 2008

Blogging Proust blogging Proust

Proust and the Self:

An essay about re-reading Proust some years later. I can relate to this, but not quite as literarily. Too long in Foxborough?

Proust is no Hemingway.

Mais non! Proust is Proust and Papa is Papa. They are as different as say, Proust and Kerouac, who really do have much in common. Hmmmm. This is actually another readable essay by someone who has tried Proust and failed, and is back again to scale the summit. Looks like he may succeed this time. God knows, I tried Moby Dick several times before succeeding, and War and Peace endless times. Then I picked it up and read it from cover to cover. Sometimes the reader is not ready for a work of literature, but this is not failure.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Another Food Blog

Haven't been reading Proust, barely reading the daily papers.

Here is a fellow Proust and food blogger. Oh to be in Balbec about now. Bet everyone runs around in white jeans and shorts and tiny tops and not a top hat to be seen.

Are the girls in flower riding their bikes along the esplanade? Is Albertine there? What's on the menu?


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Blogging Proust: the summer heats up

Proust Bloggers:

Wanting Peace: Proust at Last

McSweeney’s has a Proust parody that’s très amusant:

And Reading Proust has a trenchant comment about Balbec, where we’ve all summered at the seaside with Proust.

Moi? I'm still at the reception with the Duchesse de Guermantes. I'm the weirdly dressed one from the wrong century with American French looking around surreptitiously for the booze.



Friday, June 20, 2008

A Proust Geekout

Sigh! What a cool way to spend the day. Wish I'd been there. Read two pages last night from Mme. Villeparisi's endless reception.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Duchesse de Guermantes invites a poet to dinner

Back to Proust last night and the long section about the Duchesse of Guermantes and how she entertains.

Another example of Proustian humor which is so gentle, really and so wry and so understated that one possibly could read right over it which is what I did for years.

The Duchesse of Guermantes invites someone to dinner, telling him that a well-known poet has been invited and she knows he wants to meet the poet, etc. The dinner party takes place, and the poet is at the table, but the Duchesse talks about food, gardening, this and that and poetry is never, ever mentioned and the guest who wanted to meet the poet and get his opinion on the state of the art of poetry is out of luck. Like the elephant in the living room, is poetry at that party.

The implication is that the Duchesse thinks that in the interest of hospitality, maybe the poet would just like to eat dinner and take a break from talking about poetry.

The other implication is that the Duchesse is dominating the conversation with her blather about this and that and no one can get in a word edgewise.

If one envisions that dinner, the comic possibilities are endless.

I love Proust.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reading Proust in Baghdad

In central Baghdad , as carp lolled in a circular pool, Al Faris Restaurant owner Haj Hashim said he now served fried fish to 10 or 12 tables of customers a night, up from only two tables a month ago.
A mile or so away, bookseller Jumaa Mohammed says sales of his newspapers and paperbacks have jumped 60 percent from early this year and 80 percent from a year ago. Now he boasts a table to display them. Before they were spread on the sidewalk.
Between their two establishments, bookstore owner Daoud Mohammed is proud to show his translations of Proust, Melville, Pasternak and Shakespeare. He does so in the dark: power is out again. He sells around 10 books a day, down from about 100 three years ago, but more than earlier this year.

This is quoted from Pat Dollard's blog which is normally not be on my radar. I would think life in Baghdad would not be conducive to reading Proust, but then maybe Proust is the ultimate escapist literature.

If you want one man's slanted view (surely all our views are slanted one way or another, n'est pas?) this is a link to the entire post.

The heat in Boston, but not Baghdad, has finally broken and I am off to the city today for lunch with a friend at the Barking Crab, far away from UID and car bombs.


Monday, June 09, 2008

More on YSL and Proust

From New York Magazine:

I think I've exhausted the subject. Interesting bits and pieces have scrambled out of the quagmire of gossip and fashion.

Proust with his dressing in lots of layers to stay warm , presumably, would not have been a fashion icon. Hate the word icon, the most overused and undeservedly used word in the language. Why did I use it? Merde. A fashion statement. That's better.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Yves St. Lauren and me

It is mega-annoying when Blogger craps out in the middle of a post and there you are, with the links and the prose and the thoughts in your head--all vapor.

Here are some interesting links to funeral news and obits of YSL. All mention Proust and it’s almost as if Proust died again with him.

And now my own insignificant story. A newspaper article (most likely the NY Times) mentioned Laurent’s pumping new vigor into the Safari Suit. I remember I had one (not the designer’s) way back when. I put one on a character in The Shadow Warriors, in fact.

But this week, on a dark, rainy day, I pulled a linen safari blouse out of the ironing. Yes, readers, I am one of a handful of females who still iron. Napkins, handkerchiefs, towels, a few articles of clothing, and what have you.

The safari shirt/blouse is a bitch to iron with all the epaulet straps and garbage, but it’s kind of cool. Imagine my surprise (no, you absolutely cannot) when I saw in that newspaper article that in 2008 (this year!!!!) and 2007 (last year!!!) big name designers had touted safari clothing again, under the influence of YSL.

Which meant my long-in-the-tooth blouse was Au Courant. Who knew? So you may catch a glimpse of me flitting around Boston in black slacks and a safari blouse, or pale silk slacks and a safari blouse or even black jeans and a safari blouse.

And I am reading Proust again. After a month of thrillers and what have you, mostly written at third grade level (I am not making this up), Proust with his long sinuous sentences and subtle observations is a culture shock.

As ever,


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Yves St. Laurent + Proust

So many of the YSL obituaries mention Proust, Proust as the only writer that could capture YSL's life, or that YSL lived a Proustian life. One does not often see those references these days. After all, how many of us live a life that is remotely Proustian in any aspect, except maybe for the gossip and the naughty bits. Not me, of course. No naughty bits at all. Boring.

Here is one example:

And another, just added:

Monday, June 02, 2008

Proust and Fortuny

Apparently Fortuny's technique has been lost and can't be recovered. Interesting, that with all our technology no one has figured it out.

In the meantime, here's food for thought. Albertine and the Duchesse of Guermantes both wear Fortuny. La di dah!

While we're on the topic of Fortuny, here is a link to the website:

Others are re-reading Proust like moi. I wish the blogger would change fonts and colors. Sometimes interesting blogs can be, alas, hard to read, font and colorwise.