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Proust

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  • Proust

    I'm interested in tackling some rather more challenging texts than my usual fayre - something a little more philosophical. Just wondering if anyone has read any Proust to be able to reccommend it.

    I attempted Kafka's Trial last year, which didn't go anywhere - looking for something a little less abstract.
    Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

    Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

  • #2
    I'm of little help to you here. I read Proust about 12 years ago, and can remember nothing. I'm not sure if that says something about me or Proust!

    My recommendations probably wouldn't do you any good, DC, as I like Kafka. Different strokes and all that...

    If I would recommend anything, I would recommend jumping in with both feet, hoping it works out. That way you can say you gave it a shot. You don't have to like it or find it moving. I read Sartre for the first time by picking up copies of The Age of Reason and Nausea and just ripping through them. I only mention this because everyone told me I "had" to read Nausea first, or The Age of Reason would seem far too obscure. Of course, people told me this after I had already read The Age of Reason first, absolutely devouring it.

    As a confession, I say you can put Proust down if it isn't working for you as someone who has finsished some very bad novels because I'm not a quitter!

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    • #3
      I adore In Search of Lost Time and cannot recommend it highly enough. It's not a particularly difficult read most of the time, but does get bogged down occasionally in Bergsonian meditations on the nature of memory; these bits are probably more abstract than Kafka. However, what is really great about it are the minute studies of the human condition and emotions such as love and jealousy. It takes a bit of getting into, but is really worthwhile. As a rough guide, I would suggest that if you read up to the end of 'Swann in Love' (i.e. about the first 400 pages) and are not enjoying it, you will not really enjoy the rest either. However, it is not really possible to get a decent feel for the work until you have got a least that far. It also gets much better the further you get into it.

      It has to be read in order and quite attentively, as incidents which occur at the beginning are alluded to at the end.The main difficulty with it is remembering things which seemed quite trivial at the time but which turn out to be pivotal later on.

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