Thursday, July 10, 2014

Joyeux anniversaire, M. Proust

Marcel Proust was born on July 10, 1871. From a 1912 letter:

Du côté de chez Swann is the fragment of a novel, which will have as a general title A la recherche du temps perdu. I should have liked to have published it as a single whole, but it would have been too long. They no longer publish works in several volumes. There are novelists, on the other hand, who envisage a brief plot with few characters. That is not my conception of the novel. There is a plane geometry and a geometry of space. And so for me the novel is not only plane psychology but psychology in space and time. That invisible substance, time, I try to isolate. But in order to do this it was essential that the experience be continuous. I hope that by the end of my book what I have tried to do will be understandable; some unimportant little event will show that time has passed and it will take on that beauty certain pictures have, enhanced by the passage of the years.

Marcel Proust, in a letter to Antoine Bibesco, November ?, 1912. From Letters of Marcel Proust, translated by Mina Curtiss (New York: Helen Marx Books / Books & Co., 2006).
Related reading
All OCA Proust posts (Pinboard)

comments: 3

Geo-B said...

I'm reading Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle, two volumes in, of 6. Very compelling. Modern day Proust?

Michael Leddy said...

That’s what I’ve read. Do you think so?

Geo-B said...

Well, it's a long long story, closely observed. This has caused quite a bit of ruckus because he uses real names and is recounting what I assume are actualish events, but labeled as fiction. I do think it raises similar questions about story-telling.