Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reading Proust at the Supermarket?

I see Marcel wandering about, swathed in his great coat and many scarves, totally taken with the amazing choices and total weirdness of the American supermarket. He is smiling, maybe even a bit jolly., not nonplused but rather interested. He is sniffing the coffee, and wondering why the tomatoes have no scent whatsoever. Is he processing an involuntary memory of Francoise's kitchen? Ah, the fragrant odors and the bustle.

The bustle at Trader Joe's is considerable. Would Proust drink "two-buck Chuck?" Who knows?

The other Odette

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Involuntary Memory in Oregon

I, too, find that I buy less and less during travels, and cherish photos and memories more than ever.

When my youngest son was learning (or should I say trying to learn) the French Horn, he practiced a piece called "Variations." His older brother opined that most of the variations were involuntary.

Is involunary memory like that? My Significant Other is writing his memoir of growing up during World War II and especially the days at the end of the war when the Russian army invaded their town and fighting broke out. As he writes and researches the history of the period, more and more memories return. Like going to an old boarded up well and discovering clear potable water. And now the memories come, bringing forth even more memories. It's an amazing experience, even to watch. And there is also the difference in what he remembers and what a younger sister recalls.

I found this blog which mentions memory in Proust, and thought you should read it, too.

It was tempting to call the post, Reading Proust in Oregon

The Other Odette

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Remembrance of Crimes Past

This blog received a citation as one of the 100 best blogs about mystery novels. While it is true that I write crime fiction and that I have another blog that frequently discusses writing and the writing life, Reading Proust in Foxborough is unrelated to mystery novels.
Nonetheless, not wishing to give offense, I put the little sticker at the bottom of the blog. Do you think the purveyor of best blogs believes Proust to be a mystery writer? Of course, in his way he is. There is a mystery at the heart of any novel. Are there crimes in the great work? Mostly the crimes careless people wreak upon one another, crimes of the heart, crimes of the ego. crimes of passion, if you will. What book does not contain those crimes?
Maybe someone thinks Foxborough is a prison, like Walpole, our neighboring town.
Remembrance of Crimes Past? I thought so.
Mystified. And a little pleased.
Odette, the other one

Life As Lived By Proust

This blogger has a fascinating take on Marcel's relationship with women, and I think he's right. Consider the Duchess de Guermantes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Onward If Not Upward

Last night at midnight, energized by the latest "Mad Men," and wanting to get to sleep, I picked up Proust.
I can tell that readerwise, Sodom and Gomorrah will be a lot more fun than The Guermantes Way.
Marcel is spying on Charlus and sees him flirting with the tailor Jupien. Marcel realizes that Charlus is gay and a new understanding and realizations cascade through his brain while he continues to watch the two, even sneaking through a passageway so he can overhear them. Bad Marcel! For this we waded through endless pages of boring receptions. Worth the wait!
Of course, at midnight, tired by a long week and the late hour, I only read a few pages. Proust is not an "I sat down at six and didn't stop reading until I closed the book" kind of thriller. No indeedy. One savours Proust. And that little sneak Marcel. What a revelation.
The other Odette

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

OMG! Someone has actually SUMMARIZED Proust!

It was Walter Benjamin. Who knew? Someone must immediately notify the All England Summarize Proust Society.

Odette, feeling frisky

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Reading Proust Practically Everywhere

We must all have returned from our various "Balbecs" and are flexing literary muscles, unused after the summer beach reads.

Here are some fearless Proust readers with literary blogs:

Time to get going on volume 2. After all, I survived (barely) all those receptions and dinner parties at the Guermantes.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Paintings in Proust

A blogger with interesting thoughts about painting in Proust. I often try to figure out who "Elstir" was. He had to be one of the painters contemporary to Proust, just as Saens-Saens was likely a stand in for Vintieul. I think I have found the "petite phrase" in one of the violin/piano concertos.

It would be so nice to have time to pursue all these tracks, but daily responsibilities tie me down. Maybe take an Elstir/Vintieul week and just pursue the threads? Lovely.

I wonder if the blogger knows about the book, Paintings in Proust by Eric Karpeles"?

The other Odette

Friday, September 04, 2009

Reading Proust in Paris

This blog is worth its weight in madelines if for no other reason that it helps me find interesting writing, people, other blogs, and one thing always leads to another. Serendipity, that' s what it is.

Here is a blogger reading Proust in Paris and even trying to write like Proust, a challenging experiment.

I would need a long piece of cord or string to find my way back to the subject of my sentence. How many parenthetical phrases can one string together? I noticed Proust's dialogue is stuck in the middle of the paragraph with no quote marks or any of those little grammatical tags that help the reader. You're on your own with Proust.

Read on down into the blog to find some fascinating discussions of writing, and also several beginnings of what has to become a wonderful novel. Yowza!

Sometimes it seems that all the bookstores are closing. In New York City there will be one less place to purchase Proust in the original French. So sad.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Reading Proust on the Train

Reading Proust on the train enabled a young woman to find a literary agent. No wonder I've had no luck in that regard. I read Proust in bed late at night.
I began volume two, but only read a page before drifting off. It will be another long slog until Time Regained, my absolute favorite of all Proust's work.
Maybe you should read Proust on the train.