Monday, October 09, 2006

Proust v. Stander

Marcel wins by a knockout. In fact, several of them. I tried, I really really tried. But day or night, SWANN'S WAY put me to sleep. Its torrential verbiage wore me out and left me hungry--not for a tea-soaked madeleine, but for the lean clarity of THE GREAT GATSBY or the finely wrought sensuality of Colette. The ultimate sign of my defeat is that I moved the two copies of the book (I thought I'd do better with the new translation after the Dover edition proved unreadable) from my bedside pile to an upper shelf in the living room. Onward and upward...literally.

2 comments:

Eric Riback said...

How 'bout moving them to the discard pile?

Deirdra McAfee said...

Which translation did you attempt? Lydia Davis's is less torrential (I found it sparse), but might appeal. Here's some other Proust you might like, quoted by Milan Kundera in NYer, 10/9/06:

Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer's work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so [that the reader] can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader's recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book's truth.