Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Duke and the Duchesse

I picked up Proust again, and read and read and am still at Mme. Villeparisis party with Marcel and Bloch and the hostess and the Duke and the Duchesse of Guermantes. The Duke (Basin) arrived and manuevered through the drawing room with his hand held out at his side "like a shark's fin." What a great image. Of course the couple didn't arrive together. She is furious about his infidelities, as naturally a proud duchesse would be. He is still handsome. Oriane and Basin. What a couple.

What a masterful writer! And how the Duchesse disses St. Loup's (her nephew's) mistress. It's interesting how we get various sides, wholly opposite of the mistress/actress. She is dumb. She is smart. She is pretty. She is ugly. She can act. She can't. Hmmm. What is going on here?

And good old Bloch is as clueless as ever, and we find out who Mme. Villeparisis love is, in a clever aside by the author.

I like it ever so much, and even if I only read a page or two (and who can claim to have raced through Proust?) it's well worth while.

I may take the book on vacation with me. A car trip, and therefore a thick hardcover is not such a liability.

So, children, I haven't posted because I tend my garden, and have begun a new novel, not what I expected to write, au contraire, and we had houseguests and dinner guests, and well, yanno, pretty soon the weeks have taken wing and here we are in eeek, August, the month of Vacances.

When all the Paris restaurants are ferme. Mon Dieu. But not Chicago restaurants. I noticed, in a persusal of the guidebook, that Chicago has many more French restaurants than Boston, where French cuisine is practically an endangered species. O.K., there's a few. Damn few. Boston is for seafood and Italian and whatever.

Of course the guidebook stated some pretty eye-popping prices. Better to be at the little evenings of the Verdurins, or better yet, much better, at Balbec on the beach, in the hotel dining room, at one's fixed table, and bicycling with the little band. Ah! Summer!


Friday, July 11, 2008

The Best Proust Birthday Present

This blogger (see link below) has a fab photo of madelines and a glass a wine, never mind the tea.

Hmmm. When I was an undergrad at a Texas school, we always referred to U of T students as "tea sips." This was a huge insult, and in fact when I hear someone ordering a soy latte with no caffeine, the word "tea sip" always comes to mind, as with any wimpy talk, like "I could never drink wine with lunch," eat, butter, bacon, fried food, strong coffee, any number of wimp-outs. Kierkegaard said, "Sin bravely."

Proust was no wimp either, in spite of his poor health. I think of him tramping around St. Loup's barracks, and through town and hiking along the paths of Balbec.

Here is the link to the Birthday Present. Cool blog, too.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

They're Still Summarizing Proust

Personally, I haven't ever tried to summarize Proust but I did write an English paper in my senior year which must have done some summarizing--Proust and time, what a topic--at 21 I was obsessed with time, duree (yeah, I know the apostrophe is missing) and all this terribly pretentious literary stuff.

Life was interesting in those days. But back to Proust, whose birthday was yesterday, by the way. Happy Birthday, Marcel, wherever you are.

Here is a link to an interesting post that links to some summaries of Proust on another website. This all started with the Monty Python All England Summarize Proust Contest, which was one of their classics. God, was that program great. Spam, spam, spam, baked beans, egg, tomato and spam. We quote from it all the time.


Maybe you should write your own summary.

Odette, no not that one!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Proust Errata

Blogging Proust in his various permutations.

Jacqui’s room: 15 Classics in 15 weeks.

What ambition. I am astounded. Can barely get through the newspapers and magazines that come into the house.

Proust for the 3rd Time. This is what I’m doing. Once as an undergrad, 15 years later as a suburban mom (no soccer) and now with grown children. Each age brings something to Proust. Now I’m enjoying his humor, which I totally missed the first two reads. How is this possible?

Seven Degrees of Separation from

Type in an author and see who else comes up. Weird names, for sure.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Blogging Proust

Photo is the beach at Biarritz

By now (July 5th) Marcel would be at Balbec with his grandmother, enjoying sun, sea and the girls in flower.

If you have a true Proust voracity, here are two blogs worthy of mention.

Proust and Penelope

Swann’s Way after 35 Years