Friday, October 31, 2008

Paintings In Proust

This book looks so interesting. I think it is worthy of my Christmas wish list. Yes!

Read the review below. The bookseller is in England.

Thames and Hudson. What a cool name. Two rivers. How Proustian.

The other Odette

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Everyone is writing a book about Proust

My sources have turned up two new Proust books. Proust has become quite an industry in the past few years. And everyone's reading him, too. Or is it only us Eastern Elite? I never know.

Mega-congrats to Web Cow Girl who finished reading Proust

A new Proust book: who knew?
When Proust Lost Money on De Beers Stock in Diamond Scandal

Paintings in Proust: another new book. Looks like a keeper

Proust wrote so much about artists and writers--I almost think of them as real people, don't you?

The other Odette

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Unchanging As The Sea

Do Proust's characters ever change? Certainly their social status goes up and down like a yoyo, but does character or personality ever change? I can't think of anyone who outgrows his jealousy, and the desire for status, secrecy, and all these most readable traits do not change.

Here is one blogger's view:

The other Odette

Friday, October 17, 2008

Finding Proust in Unexpected Places

One would think that a baseball chatroom would have to do with baseball, true?

I found a nice writeup on Proust, indeed practically a summary in the Baltimore Orioles baseball chat. Who knew?

The odd thing is, after the Red Sox super-exciting game last night, I couldn't go to sleep, although I had actually slept through most of the Red Sox scoring. Woke up thinking I was in a dream, thank god a dream and not the 7-0 nightmare of earlier in the evening.

Anyway, I picked up Proust and read a couple pages, which were relaxing enough --his grandmother is sick--to send me back to dreamland. Have you ever noticed that some people are really good patients and will do exactly what the doctor recommends no matter what. Like, chop off your head and come back in three days, and that patient would do it, or try. Whereas other patients have a more laissez-faire idea and do what they feel like, or not. My father, alas, was one of those and I am his daughter, horrifying some of my good friends who follow the letter and the spirit and so on.

Proust's grandmother's illness seems complicated. In those days they didn't have all the good diagnostic tools we have today, and various doctors were called, second and third opinions, and specialists who had no knowledge in the area of the grandmother's illness. Interesting to see how times have and have not changed.

Odette, the other one

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Proust's Old Stomping Ground

It must be so thrilling to be in Proust's old "home town," and see the church and the little shops and maybe even take one of the walks that Proust took along the river. Here's a blogger who visited Illiers.

Incredibly cool.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cool Proust Quote About Sarah Palin

"Let us leave pretty women to men devoid of imagination."

The instant I saw this quote from Proust I thought of Sarah Palin who has looks and moxie (as we say here in the Boston area) and little else.

The quote came from, of all unlikely places, the website of the "Global Filipino Business and Investment Community Website." How do you like them apples? Eeek! That sounds like a Palinism. I'm gonna havta watch my big barracuda mouth.

Sorry, I don't normally inject politics into what should be a "literary" (ha ha) blog, but lately I find myself obsessed with the upcoming U.S. election.

Of course, Massachusetts is solidly in the Obama camp, and I actually only know of one person who will be voting for McCain. The literary community here is left of center. In fact it gets rather inbred to the extent that one begins to believe everyone thinks the same, and of course, everyone does not. Always a dangerous assumption.

I know Proust would find something to say on the topic. I am so happy that he is finally leaving the tea party, although he has been waylaid at least twice and there is the business about the wrong hat. Men used to wear hats besides baseball caps. Hard to believe, no?

Odette, wearing her political hat today.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Completing Proust

Cast your eyes on the perfect madeline from this New York bakery. On the very big occasion of the blogger's friend's having completed his reading of Proust. Zowie!

I read some pages last night. The narrator is finally leaving the party with Charlus after causing the hostess some angst and treating us to a horrible scene between St. Loup and his poor sweet mother. That bad Rachel. Stupid, smitten St. Loup, like all of the lovers in Proust, his head is in the sand up to his shoulders. And all the lovers are unfaithful. It's quite awful, really, and very, very good. And even our Odette, AKA Mme. Swann was with once with Charlus, the narrator remembers, thinking of a troubling scene from his boyhood.

What goes around is certainly coming around. And back around.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Is Cat Blog Day

I see that I have posted this to the wrong BLOG. Proust readers are likely cat lovers, anyhow, and it would be way too complicated to move the whole post. Annie is the Calico, Thisbe is the Tortoise. They don't much like each other.

Last night, I wondered if the cats would do something memorable today. Well, they both threw up this morning--does that count? My little puke blossoms. Annie has always been bulemic, scarfing down her food without chewing and back up it comes. Thisbe hardly ever yorks, so this was something of a surprise.

Now that cool nights are here, Thisbe has returned to the bedroom and the foot of the bed, and the RULES are in place. The rules are that she doesn't like to be touched or nudged or interferred with in any way during her bed sleep. Woe to the person who touches her with an unsuspecting BARE FOOT. The claws come out, lots of them, and sink into the foot. One must remain absolutely still, until she realizes the threat has passed and takes her claws out. This requires middle-of-the-night nerves of steel.

Annie sleeps outside the bedroom door on a chaise lounge kind of affair. All the furniture in our house is covered with worn-out towels due to Annie's barf habit. We would never make Architectural Digest anyhow.

Proust and Verneer

What a lovely little essay. I hadn't remembered that Bergotte died in front of the Vermeer. Well, what a way to go.

Do read:

The other Odette

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Rainy Sundays: What would Albertine Do?

One of the French poets raptured about rainy Sundays, but I don't remember which one. Googling "rainy Sundays" brings forth a torrent (ha ha!) of web sites and many mentions of Baudelaire, but I couldn't find a quote.

Perhaps some of the readers know. We took a walk in the almost-rain and it was most refreshing. Next Sunday, forcast to be rainy, will find us on a sailboat race on Long Island Sound, an event I am facing with a certain trepidation.

Got my trusty boatshoes and a waterproof windbreaker. Proust, always bundled up in greatcoats and scarves, even in summer, would not be a happy camper. Odette's hair would get all mussed as would the Duchesse of Guermante's blond coif.

St. Loup would rather enjoy the afternoon, and maybe the athletic Albertine would also. Or would she sulk in the ship's cabin? What would Albertine do?

My nightstand becomes ever more disarranged with books, and some discipline needs to come into my life, but--what the hell?


Swann (and Proust) have a new fan

A new reader of Swann's Way, who also revels in the sly humor and the study of human nature in Proust. Hard to know why some critics think Proust a snob when he is forever sticking it to the aristocracy, and writing with such sympathy (and also humor) about the middle and servant classes.

Read on:

Odette, the other one

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Sweet Cheat Gone

Ah, Albertine! How she attracts and repels us, and how the narrator (Marcel's) possessiveness and jealousy does likewise.

Is not Proust one gigantic study of jealousy?

See this blogger's take on Albertine:

Odette, the other one

Wednesday, October 01, 2008