Sunday Morning! “Swann’s Way” by Marcel Proust (Pt 1)

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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9 Responses

  1. jason
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    says:

    I need to read this one. I’ve had it for a while. I’m currently reading _Return of a King_ by Dalrymple; I’m at the part where shit is getting real for the incompetent Brits.
    I also need to get back to _Le Bete Humaine_, so I can continue my Zola reading saga.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to jason
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      says:

      Awesome! My secret plan here is to talk everyone into reading it. I remember a prof talking about it once in a seminar years ago and a student said “Do you think I should read ‘In Search of Lost Time’? It sounds good.” The prof responded, “Yeah! It’s only the best novel ever!”

      I also loved La Bête Humaine! I got through maybe 12 of the Zola books, so I should probably continue that saga as well. It’ was also turned into a pretty good Fritz Lang movie (Human Desire) with Glenn Ford.Report

      • jason in reply to Rufus F.
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        says:

        I’ve finished four of the series: Le Debacle, The Masterpiece, The Belly of Paris, and The Ladies’ Paradise. I enjoyed them all, even if naturalism can be a drag sometimes. I still have your book to read, too.Report

        • Rufus F. in reply to jason
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          says:

          I read The Masterpiece and The Ladies Paradise. I remember really enjoying the Ladies Paradise. I also vividly remember L’Assommoir, which I think is untranslatable… It basically means getting knocked silly in the head. Haha! It’s about drunks and poor people. Nana is great too, and I remember really liking The Earth.

          But, yes, I strongly recommend reading my book. Really, it’s hard to understand Zola unless you first read that! Trust me.Report

  2. dhex
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    says:

    another excellent piece, rufus!

    the proust/miller continuum kinda sorta makes sense (miller is more of brooklyn’s answer/foreshadowing to jean genet, if i’m going to be glib) and miller was fairly obsessed with both proust and dh lawrence. the latter because he kept selling little essay books on lawrence, iirc, along with watercolors, miller’s main source of income for many years beyond begging. and the former for i think the reasons you list above, though miller is very un-economical with his words…Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to dhex
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      says:

      Thanks! I agree about Miller. He does have some really good books. I’m still fond of “Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch” for instance. It just seems like he was one of those writers who wrote 5,000 words a day no matter what and kept all of them! He’s hit or miss for me. The uncanny thing about Proust is he wrote this genuinely epic novel and every page is great. I keep expecting to hit a weak patch that I’d forgotten about and it hasn’t happened yet.Report

      • dhex in reply to Rufus F.
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        says:

        yeah he will wear your eyes out in certain works.

        I’m very fond of Big Sur, along with the colossus of maroussi, the air-conditioned nightmare, black spring, and tropic of cancer. other things he wrote were great little essays but when expanded to book size (or a trilogy, looking at you rosy crucifixion) it just becomes too much to care about.Report

        • Rufus F. in reply to dhex
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          says:

          Yeah, that was what killed me was the Rosy Crucifixion. I got about halfway through the third book and threw in the towel. I remember liking the ones you mentioned as well as Quiet Days in Clichy. I haven’t read Black Spring, but have it somewhere here.

          Not to plug my book BUT one of the more frustrating things I discuss in there is my great-grandfather apparently showed Miller around Paris when he first arrived and they palled around. However he only wrote one very short article about “Henry V. Miller from Brooklyn” that mostly just talked about the telegraph business! Another frustration- my great-aunt apparently had their signed first edition of the Paris Obelisk Press Tropic of Cancer, which she sold long ago to buy a new car. I would have gladly accepted it as a Christmas present and never let it out of my sight!Report

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