Posts Tagged ‘proust’


Posted: 30/09/2009 by Toby in Informative
Tags: ,

Now that I’ve read most of the graphic novels (comic books) in the library aside from the really artsy ones, I’m ready for something a little heavier.

In the back of my mind has always been Proust, who comes up occasionally, usually by people using a cliche’ that Proust is argued over by intellectual types. I’m reading Rememberance of Things Past: 2. I’m not sure what the numeral 2 signifies, unless it’s a second volume.  I couldn’t find the first volume, and as I am not reading it for the story, only for the soundbytes I might extract, like a trapper who only wants the beavers in the forest, and not even the beavers, only their limp skins.

I’ll reiterate that my writing sometimes takes a turn after whatever I’m reading at the moment, and the preceding sentence was no exception.  I am up to page 45, and so far more than half the sentences contain one or more similies and metaphors. Of those metaphors, I admit at least a few are lost on me as many of the names are unfamiliar, and some of what may have been common then is lost now. Rather than waiting till I’m at the internet, or making the internet a more permanent fixture to my person, I slide past, trying not to think of the chuckle I might have had at such an apt comparison, had I actually comprehended it.  The comparisons and descriptions I do catch, however, are quite good, and reflect an intelligent and discerning mind. It helps that the entire narrative is in the first person, and is entirely composed of his own mind, but even that being the case, the descriptions and comparisons ring true and clever.

I have not yet read anything to argue about with an intellectual, and my excitement for pretentious argument with same is slowly being subsumed by the enjoyment of the writing, the story, the characters, and what has probably become a plot. The only hint of a plot I have so far is from the back cover, that this is a story about obsessive love, and the fact I’m reading quite a bit about a female surnamed Guermantes.

As usual, I want to give you a sample of what I am reading, just a hint of what I am talking about, since one swatch of a thing has more power than all the description about that thing could have. Proust, who in the book has not named himself, so I will assume that he has put himself as the real main character, has obtained a ticket through a relation that was sent to his father, passed to him. A ticket to the Opera, where a play will be performed. When he gets there a lot of description ensues, and he’s just finished saying that ugliness could be said to be a stamp of aristocratic authenticity.

But like certain artists who, instead of the letters of their names, set at the foot of their canvases a figure that is beautiful in itself, a butterfly, a lizard, a flower, so it was the figure of a delicious face and body that the Pincess affixed at the corner of her box, thereby showing that beauty can be the noblest of signatures; for the presence there of Mme de Guermantes-Bavie’re, who brought to the theatre only such persons as at other times formed part of her intimate circle, was in the eyes of connoisseurs of the aristocracy the best possible certificate of the authenticity of the picture which her box prestented, a sort of evocation of a scene from the intimate and exlisive life of the Princess in her palaces in Munich and in Paris.

I would consider this book heavy, rich, dense, or some similar description, and I wonder whether it’s the profusion of words per sentence, and the profusion of metaphor that make it so. These things certainly make it dense, but it is also rich because it is apt. Thankfully, unlike the tongue, the mind can accustom itself to an infinite amount richness without guilt over kiloJoules.