Saturday, March 15, 2014

Reading Proust Aloud in Amherst

I have to hand it to this book group.  Reading Proust aloud (with a nice cup of tea) was a singular accomplishment.  The second time around they skipped a bit.  In my book (third reading) I'm going to skip the rest of Albertine.  Seems awfully repetitive and I have totally bogged down.  Onward.

Here is the link to the Amherst group.  They are a hardy, persistent group.

Reading Proust Aloud in Amherst

Amherst, like Foxborough is in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where they know a thing or two about literature and persistence.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Goethe-Institut Reads Proust

Last week  we heard a riveting talk on Proust at the Goethe- Institut on Beacon Street in Boston's Back Bay. Susanne Klingenstein rocked the room with her scholarly observations on Proust and how to read him. Much food for thought.  I had never entertained the idea that nature was strongly allied with sex for Proust, and I'll never read about those hawthorns the same way again.  Of course Odette's orchids were strongly sexual.  Klingenstein posited that some many of the characters behaved badly (or stupidly) in Proust due to ennui.   I am going to have to examine these thoughts with more reading.  The audience had read Proust in French, German and of course, English and had interesting ideas of its own.

Right now I am reading Rowling's The Cuckoo's Calling  and finding some of the same snide comments of London society that Proust delivered apropos Parisian society.   

I am wondering if there are any versions of Proust with quotation marks for dialog and with real paragraphs instead of that daunting dense text.  Anybody know?  

Must update my Proust library, as well, because Klingenstein recommended a couple books about him and reading him that had not crossed by radar.  Still mired in my academic years of yore, I fear. 

 I didn't catch the date, but the Goethe-Institut will read the last volume for discussion at a later date.  The reception that ends the book is my most favorite section. Can't wait to read it again, in fact I'm going to ditch dreary Albertine and head to the end.  It's not cheating, as I've read it before. 

Odette, the one with no orchids.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Photo of Proust in Venice

I can just imagine Proust all bundled up on a warm day in Venice.  How it must  have thrilled him to be there.  The first view of Venice, when traveling down the Grand Canal, does not disappoint. 
Take a look. Proust on Travel 
I wonder what he ate.   My two favorite Venetian meals were the "Treasures of the Adriatic," a fantastic plate of seafood whose memory makes me want to drool, and the appetizer of ravioli with cheese sauce at Harry's Bar.  The Bellinis were nothing special, but ye gods, that heavenly pasta and the incomparable cheese  sauce against which all future sauces must be compared and found lacking. 

The pizza, however, was molto mediocre.  Dumb to order pizza in Venice, yes?

Proust and Food

The young narrator Marcel is fascinated by the peas and asparagus in Aunt Leonie's kitchen. 

The Vicarious Foodie Blog

Proust talks about art and literature and is not above a good gossip, but he also notes the work of the kitchen maids and observes the preparations and color and texture of the vegetables.  Such great writing.  The asparagus, of course, is the white variety, so beloved in the springtime across Northern Europe.  Proust was no exception.