Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Virginia Woolf Read Proust

In the twenties, that most fertile period in English (and French) literature, Virginia Woolf read Proust.  She probably read him in French.  I cannot imagine reading those endless sentences and paragraphs en Francais, but of course well-educated writers of that time would have little difficulty.  Strangely enough, the beginning of the work reads rather easily in French.  Go figure.

Here is an interesting account of  Virginia's reading.

How Virginia Woolf read Proust  


Pat said...

I quoted Proust in my last post and was asked 'Did Proust go to parties.
It's decades since I read him.
I googled and found you and I wonder if you know?

Grapeshot/Odette said...

As a young man, Proust was the proverbial social butterfly, but later retired from society to devote himself to his writing. He used to appear bundled up in a huge mass of winter cloaks and scarves. Must have been a sight. His health was always bad, and he had to withdraw to keep himself alive to finish his great work. Apparently he memorized every society figure he ever met or heard of. It's really amazing (and a bit tedious in our short-attention-span age) to read his accounts of these society parties and receptions. The character of Charlus is losely based on a real personnage.