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Thread: Marcel Proust - In Search of Lost Time

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    Registered User PrinceAndrei's Avatar
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    Marcel Proust - In Search of Lost Time

    Has anyone ever tackled and sucessfully finished Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time? Those who have finished this critically acclamed piece of literature have waxed lyrical about Proust's abilities and the brilliance of his series of novels. What are the thoughts of the Lit Net contributors?
    Last edited by PrinceAndrei; 03-15-2009 at 04:32 PM.
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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Clearly if you have finished Proust, you love Proust.

  3. #3
    Proust is of course much more pleasant in reading than Joyce, but it's the same cathegory. Boring torment.

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoo View Post
    Proust is of course much more pleasant in reading than Joyce, but it's the same cathegory. Boring torment.
    Perhaps a little unknd, but I do see where you are coming from.

  5. #5
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoo View Post
    Proust is of course much more pleasant in reading than Joyce, but it's the same cathegory. Boring torment.
    Thank you for sharing, however, I can't help but feel they are totally different animals. Either way though, boring torment basically sounds to me like it can be applied to any number of major works (even easy-read ones), yet I doubt I would get the same response if I said that about Pride and Prejudice, or Wuthering Heights. I think one needs a more nuanced approach - it is alright to criticize, but one really should elaborate instead of declare such zealous opinions. Clearly these works aren't boring torment to everybody, and clearly if one is tormented from boredom while reading something, they clearly should just find another book. If however, you said that, for instance, Proust's digressions and slow paces were boring, or too drawn out to remain consistently interesting, then perhaps there could be a debate, but as it is, you merely jumped in. Stated in 5 words, and disappeared.

  6. #6
    I'm with JBI on this one. Joyce and Proust are very different writers. Of all the hours I've spent reading Proust, they've been gracious. Joyce on the other hand...there have been hours or seconds and the like spent in literal irritation. To read Proust one doesn't really have to 'know' things. Of course which ever things you choose to acquire would help, but it's not essential. Joyce is a different story. With all the complex and intricate puzzles on and off the pages, one should have a hand at what is supposedly said to be required to understand his novels on different levels. With that said, Proust and Joyce are two of my favorite writers and I actually just finished Volume two of In Search of Lost Time, Within a Budding Grove this morning. Great read.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremiah Jazzz View Post
    I'm with JBI on this one. Joyce and Proust are very different writers.
    I'm with you on this one. Very different writers. I see now I wasn't fair. Proust is a beautiful boredom based on bogus assumption, that you can find the lost time by eating cake. Joyce... it's torment only. But interesting for literati. Sorry, my mistake.
    Last edited by hoo; 03-16-2009 at 03:48 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by hoo View Post
    based on bogus assumption, that you can find the lost time by eating cake.
    Are you serious there?
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Etienne View Post
    Are you serious there?
    I think Proust was wrong about that whole idea of reminding. But it's only fiction, so you can tell such thing doesn't matter.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by hoo View Post
    I think Proust was wrong about that whole idea of reminding. But it's only fiction, so you can tell such thing doesn't matter.
    What? It's not something one can be wrong at. It's something that exists (you have never been reminded of something?) and that he described. You could argue that he's been wrong in that, but let me guess, have you even finished Swann's Way? Where have you got exactly?

    Why do you say that "whole idea of reminding" is wrong or bogus? What exactly makes you say that? I'd like to see your reasoning behind it, not just empty claims.
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  11. #11
    That's a difference between recollection and creation. In my opinion Proust describes how to make literature, but doesn't say something important about how to get back your true memories.

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    the unnameable promtbr's Avatar
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    Someone making comments like "the whole idea about reminding.." In Search of Lost Time could not have read it (beyond a few paragraphs...)

    The exploration of consciousness and of how the self is "intermittent" like a tableau is revealed in Marcel's vast, refracted recollection. Saying In Search of Lost Time is about memory is like saying Ulysses is about a conflicted Irishman..

    Just finished volume 3 and set the novel aside for now, though I will return to it in a bit. Proust is not hard reading, it does not require any annotations, one does not decipher "meanings" since the "meaning" is the narrative...
    And this would not make sense unless you have read at least through Swanns Way...

  13. #13
    I don't say Proust's books are only about memory. I only say the idea of recollection in this books is false. Of course in USA most people still believe in Freud so Proust is good for them as well. I have different opinion, that's all.

  14. #14
    i am 120 pages into the third volume too and i will either put proust away for the summer after this volume or the next depending when i finish. i only read about 20 pages a day and it takes awhile. i read while having the classical music station on for background noise. it really is a treat. i can see where someone could be bored with proust, but i feel that if you read a good bio first you really know where he's coming from. i am only putting him down until the fall as i check the books out from the library and will be spending my summers 'up north' and won't be able to check him out at the local library until i come back.

    as far as involuntary memory goes: i'm a firm believer in it. no doubt that i experience my own form of involuntary memory numerous times a day. one can be really haunted by it, depending on the memory that pops up. and while i read proust i do have 'flashbacks' that have nothing to do with the story, but do pop up nonetheless.

    besides the exquisite writing style, the way proust lets one look on an aristrocratic late 19th century france is worth the endeavor in itself.

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    the unnameable promtbr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoo View Post
    of course, in USA most people still believe in Freud so Proust is good for them as well. I have different opinion, that's all.
    What an amazing statment. You have it all figured out..

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