Thursday, December 13, 2007

Marcel Proust's Myspace Page

Marcel has 1 friend:


“Same as it ever was”--David Byrne.

“blah, blah, blah, you know what I mean.”--Ecclesiastes.

I’ve decided to read In Search Of Lost Time. I think I have the constitution for it. I read Don Quixote in three months, The Anatomy of Melancholy in six, and trudged through The Bible (should I put the bible in italics?) over the period of a year. I have heard a lot of forbidding things about the density and peculiarity of the prose of In Search Of Lost Time, so I thought I’d start of with a primer. I chose Roger Shattuck’s Proust’s Way as a guide, and, while I’m beginning to question the timing of my decision to read through this behemoth (winter quarter starts in a couple of weeks), I was interested to find a similar tendency in the bored, Parisian leisure class of Proust’s time (of which he was definitely a card-carrying member), and the leisure class of our own time, ie, all of America. Apparently it was popular to fill out questionnaires that remind me--although not as obviously trite--of the kind of self-surveys popular on myspace.

An example of one of Proust‘s forays into this kind of diversion, from chapter one of Proust’s Way. His answer follows the question:

“…In what Place would you like to live? In the land of the ideal, or rather of my ideal…

…For what faults do you have the greatest indulgence? For the private life of geniuses…

…Your present state of mind? Annoyance [ennui] over having thought about myself to answer all of these questions…”

Not exactly “Have you ever cheated on your boyfriend, and if so, where?” or “Do you ever go commando?” but definitely an evolutionary precursor.

It’s good to know that for all of our progress as a species, we still take care to keep intact some of our baser pursuits.


Grapeshot/Odette said...

The whole world (as we know it) is reading and blogging Proust. How cool is that? Welcome to the "litle clan."


Love Proust's having his own My Space Page.

Mokie said...

Leave it to me to be the last on a bandwagon and still think I'm a jet-setter.