Monday, November 9, 2009

Germaine Greer hates on Proust

If you haven’t read Proust, don’t worry. This lacuna in your cultural development you do not need to fill. On the other hand, if you have read all of À la recherche du temps perdu, you should be very worried about yourself. As Proust very well knew, reading his work for as long as it takes is temps perdu, time wasted, time that would be better spent visiting a demented relative, meditating, walking the dog or learning ancient Greek.
And that’s just the first paragraph. Hoo boy.

Germaine Greer, Why do people gush over Proust? (Guardian)

[I’ve corrected the French title, mangled in the original.]

comments: 4

David Richardson said...

Germaine is hilariously out of her mind. Proust is valuable reading in French or English. Marcel's genius allows the reader to walk along his brilliant pathways if they have the appetite for pleasure, and, if they have the courage for self-discovery, allows them to wander away from his adventures along Swann's and the Guermantes way, and then, if they have the imagination, blaze creative pathways of their own.

Slywy said...

She makes a lot of statements like this:

"Proust would have been surprised to be told he had defined anything."

Then doesn't back them up. Huh?

I haven't read Proust, but I do have a set of Remembrance, reasonably priced, that was at a bookstore. What was her deal with that?

Michael Leddy said...

David, thanks for your graceful defense of a writer whose work should need none. Diane, I bet you’d like Proust.

I just looked back and laughed at this sentence: “Fans of Tolkien can certainly handle a marathon read, as can Harry Potter addicts; but whether they have stayed the distance with Proust seems to me highly doubtful.” And the point is — what exactly?

epistrophy said...

"He relies on commas and semi-colons to do what should be done by full-stops, of which there are far too few, many of them in the wrong place."

What an odd observation -- particularly the "should." What rule, what criteria, is Ms. G invoking here? This isn't a matter of correctness -- it's a matter of style. If Ms. G doesn't like long sentences, well, fine -- read Raymond Carver.