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Old 05-19-2007, 10:42 AM   #6
Dr. Drib
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Do you have a year?

Seriously: Proust is an acquired addiction, and one must love words and being immersed in a "novel" for a good, long time. Proust set the stage for the modern novel and, as such, his influence is tremendous and is still being felt today. Some would call his writing boring, while other readers (such as myself, when I'm not reading genre fiction) are excited by the language. The sentences wrap around each other and the language moves like a river winding its way to...somewhere. This is a novel about maturity, growth, infatuation, sexual identity, memory, the inner self, and so much more. Remember: you will either love his work or wonder why such a "boring" writer is read today. I love his work.)

Here's something from a web site:

"Remembrance of Things Past does not have a clear and continuous plot line. The narrator is Marcel. He is not Proust but resembles him in many ways. Marcel is initially ignorant - only slowly does he begin to grasp the essence of the hidden reality. At the end he is preparing to write a novel which is like the one just presented to the reader. Marcel's childhood memories start to flow when he tastes a madeleine cake dipped in linden tea such as he was given as a child...Memory takes the central role in the novel and apparently insignificant details prove to be the most important. The first part focuses on Marcel's childhood in Combray. Proust follows the lives of three families, Marcel's own, the aristocratic de Guermantes, and the family of the Jewish Bohemian dilettante Swann. Among the central characters are the faithless cocotte Odette, whom Swann marries, homosexual Baron de Charlus, partly modelled on Count Robert de Montesquiou-Ferensac (1855-1921), an art critic, poet, and essayist, Dutchess, Mme de Villeparisis, Robert Saint-Loup, and Marcel's great love Albertine, who is perhaps lesbian...Proust gradually deepens the portraits of his characters - Vinteuil, a modest piano teacher, turns out to be a great composer. In the climax of the novel the narrator fails to recognize many of his friends because they have changed so much physically during the years. Marcel realizes that his vocation as an artist is to capture the past still alive within us. And being was for Proust the complete past, "that past which already extended so far down and which I was bearing so painfully within me." In the narration past and present merge, reality appears in half-forgotten experiences, and parts of the past are felt differently at different times.

"Proust is generally considered a pioneer of the modern novel. He made a clear distinction between man and work. The writer is a man of intuition. "A book is the product of a different self from the one we manifest in our habits, our social life and our vices," Proust wrote in his answer to the French critic Sainte-Beuve, who tried to understand writers by investigating their private life and environment. Proust's work widely influenced authors in different countries, among them Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. His style of long sentences, some of which extend to several pages in length, paved the way for Claude Simon's [note by Don: Simon is a Nobel Prize-winning author] narrative inventions. Proust later said that he had from the beginning a fixed structure for the whole novel..."

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 05-19-2007 at 10:48 AM.
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