Friday, October 28, 2011

Proust and Dreyfus

Last night in my reading, the Duke and Duchesse of Guermantes were at loggerheads because she was a Dreyfusard and he was not, and be blamed her politics for his not being named president of The Jockey Club.  Here is a link to a letter from Proust on the topic of Dreyfus, a very divisive period in French political/military history.

Proust and Dreyfus 

The Duchesse de Guermantes has a wardrobe full of Fortuny dresses which she says would be suitable for Albertine.  Lucky girl.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Albertine Ensconced in Marcel's Family Apartment In Paris

So one is reading along and eveything is pretty much as usual . . . Mme. Verdurin and her parties and who's in and who's out and Marcel mentions Vintieul and Albertine mentions that she know his sister and her friend! 

If you read Proust you know that this is powerful and unwelcome news.  Marcel hightails it away from Balbec and back to not-so-gay-Paree faster than you can utter "Le petite phrase."   He's got to get Albertine away from those bad women. 

At last a little action, and I segue from The Cities of the Plain into The Captive.   Now the Duchesse de Guermantes is recommending clothes  for the young lady, and mama  and Francoise are tut-tutting, and Marcel doesn't go out.  What are things coming to?

Movement in fiction is a good thing.   Albertine is first described on her bicycle.  That Proust guy knew a thing or two, didn't he?    

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Follow ProustTweet on Twitter

Proust's entire novel is in the process of being tweeted on twitter.  Of course some of Proust's sentences are much longer than the tweet space.  Can the tweeter cope?  Follow and see.  Sometimes I wish I were so clever.  No, I always wish I were just a little bit cleverer. 

Marcel Proust

@ProustTweet Combray, France
Proust's entire 7-volume novel rewritten as a series of spontaneous daily tweets. (Previous Tweets available at )

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jennifer Egan read Proust

I was in the audience today at the Boston Book Festival, when Jennifer Egan talked about reading Proust.  Apparently she, like many, had tried and failed once Swann and Odette had married and gone on to more domestic scenarios.  She actually read Proust with a book group and IT TOOK THEM FIVE YEARS!  She said five babies were born in  the years the group read Proust.  But they finished.  It is taking me about that long on my 3rd reading, because life intervenes and I had to stop and read about Spain to prep for a trip to that fabulous country. 

Egan also mentioned that Proust's thoughts about time influenced her Pulitzer Prize novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad.  

The Festival enjoyed glorious if windy fall weather, but not yesterday's pounding rain.  Copley Square teemed with readers, writers, publishers and all those who are part of the business of writing and books.  Unfortunately,  there was only one food vendor, and man does not lived by grilled cheese alone.  Last time I went by, there must have been two hundred people in line.  The sparrows in the park were out in force to scrounge for treats, as were the pigeons.  The way the pigeons wheeled around and took flight reminded me of the pigeons swooping around the Parador in Carmona.  Spain had many doves, too, and swallows and some handsome magpies which I haven't seen for years.  Pigeons seem to have a collective flock instinct that I find interesting.

The suburban trains in both directions were crowded, unusual for a Saturday.  Nothing like the little train that took the dinner guests to the Verdurins.    Pigeons may exhibit the same behavior, but trains schlepping folks into Boston have nothing in common with the Verdurin's little band.

I will be reading Proust again hoping to get through Sodom and Gommorah before winter cometh.                                                                                    

Have you ever had "a visit from the goon squad?"

The Other Odette