Sunday, January 27, 2013

Swann's Way

The past few weeks I've been reading Swann's Way (Lydia Davis' 2002 translation).  I felt like not having read Proust was a gap in my education.  I'm not that well-read in French fiction, that's for certain, aside from Flaubert, Hugo and Balzac. 

So I finished reading Swann's Way.  I have no great desire to read the rest of In Search of Lost Time.  I really enjoyed Part I:  Combray, and the following two (Swann in Love and Place Names:  The Name) less and less.  A few years ago I knew a playwright who was trying to dramatize Swann in Love, and that still makes no sense to me.

Here's a quotation from the first part of Combray:
"I find the Celtic belief very reasonable, that the souls of those we have lost are held captive in some inferior creature, in an animal, in a plant, in some inanimate object, effectively lost to us until the day, which for many never comes, when we happen to pass close to the tree, come into possession of the object that is their prison.  Then they quiver, they call out to us, and as soon as we have recognized them, the spell is broken.  Delivered by us, they have overcome death and they return to live with us."

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