I’m nearly finished with Swann in Love. Just a few more pages.
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Katie L. has written 4 entries about this goal
I have at last finished Combray and am about to move on to Swann in Love. I’ve been taking a little breather, but tonight will plunge back in.
I have finished the “Overture” to the first volume. It’s a drop in the bucket. It took me a long time to get through this small chapter. Doesn’t bode well for finishing the whole work before I die, does it?
However, now that I’m reading “Combray” it’s going a little faster.
I think I’m getting hooked.
Still wishing for a better translation.
I am reading How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton. It’s inspiring me to finally tackle Proust. I’ve wanted to do it for years, but was intimidated by both the size of the task and the aimlessness of the narrative. I’ve read selected passages and found them wondrous, but hadn’t made the commitment to really get into it as a reader.
I want to know which translation people love the best and would like to hear from anyone with an opinion on this. I do not mind switching translations in mid-stream if something is better. In fact it might be interesting. I have the Moncrieff and Kilmartin translation, but already wonder about it, since the title seems to me carelessly translated. It should be “In Search of Lost Time,” since that’s what it means in French, very plainly, even to someone with elementary French like mine.
About the title, de Botton argues, “Though Proust never liked it, and referred to it variously as “unfortunate” (1914), “misleading” (1915), and “ugly” (1917), In Search of Lost Time had the advantage of pointing directly enough to a central theme of the novel: a search for the causes behind the dissipation and loss of time. Far from a memoir tracing the passage of a more lyrical age, it was a practical, universally applicable story about how to stop wasting time and start to appreciate life.”
When I read that paragraph I had a sensation like the one you get when you’re at the optomitrist’s office, and he’s trying new lenses in that big metal mask that’s pressed up against your face, and the eye chart is just one degree of blurry or another, and then quite suddenly, CLICK! and you can see everything quite clearly. I realized that I’d understood this was an important theme of the book, but that knowing had been obscured by the “memoir…of a more lyrical age” image and thought of the book only as a deeply honest and highly detailed memoir.
This is amazing to me because I think I have a personality similar in some way to Proust’s, and I’ve been preoccupied with this question about time, and life, for a long time.
So I’m hoping Proust WILL change my life. At the moment I’m really enjoying de Botton. I have also started reading Swann’s Way, but for awhile I will be taking it slowly, because my time for reading is so limited at the moment. I’m going on vacation in August, and hope to make some real headway then.
Thanks for your time reading this, and I’ll continue to share my thoughts if you’re interested.