Proust Defeated

Well I have finally finished Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time’, and what a satisfying feeling it is. Satisfying for all of you that have been following my progress too, no doubt. There should be no more posts saying, ‘Still reading Proust’. I do have a great sense of achievement having completed it, but I feel that to fully understand it I would need to read it a few more times at least, and as much as I enjoyed it, that is unlikely to happen. There were many sections of this work that resonated deeply with me. Many times I read a passage and thought, ‘That is exactly how I feel’, or ‘That is how I view things’. Proust’s ability to identify and describe the way people deal with certain emotions and feelings was exceptional, in my opinion. Not knowing the narrator’s age or social rank was a little disconcerting for me though.

I originally began to read this series after a friend mentioned that he had just started reading it, mainly because he felt that it was something that he should have read. I thought that I would also try reading it, in a mildly competitive manner. Whatever our reasons for starting to read a particular book though it has no real effect on our ability to enjoy it, although preconceptions can of course colour our views. Sometimes something that we have always wanted to read disappoints, whereas something we would never have ordinarily considered turns out to excite our imagination and provides great pleasure.

Now that I have finished Proust I can get back to the plays of Sophocles and ‘Twenty Three Tales’ by Tolstoy, both of which I started some time ago but began to neglect more and more the closer I got to finishing Proust. After that I am going to have a little break from so called high-brow literature I think. I will probably read a few detective novels. I have some James Patterson sitting on the shelf waiting for my attention. Time to look at them I think.

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15 thoughts on “Proust Defeated

  1. YAY! It has been quite the journey. I felt the same way after reading Proust. Sometimes I think about the passages I read earlier in the day and have an Ahah! moment. Other times (Proust, Virginia Woolf) I feel I need more time to consider what might be underlying the words. What are the meanings that I missed and did I interpret them correctly. It is rather profound. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. Julian, your blog is like home to me. I feel so comfortable here.

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    • Thanks for the amazingly kind words Ionia. I really enjoy our ‘conversations’ and visiting your blog. It is nice to connect with others with similar interests. Your comments regarding Proust and some other authors are spot on. I think it is this depth to their writing that makes them such great authors.

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      • Perhaps I am insecure, but occasionally I run across a passage that I just can’t make heads or tails of. I think I shall from this point on run screaming to your blog and ask your opinion, since you tend to read the heavier material I can’t get anyone else to talk to me about 🙂 I read everything else too, but it is the classics and the barely remembered books that steal my heart.

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      • You will be most welcome Ionia. Like you say it is difficult to find anyone even interested in reading some of these books, let alone talking about it. I make no claims of being able to help you, or even understanding it myself, but I am always available to talk. I do enjoy the classics. People seem to forget, but there is a reason they are called the classics. I look forward to welcoming you next time you come screaming. 🙂

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  2. I missed your reading Proust blogs as I started following you too late, but you make me feel all self conscious about my reading. I always aspire to read more complex literature, but at the end of the day the energy just isn’t there. I will continue to follow your blog, maybe it will inspire me to challenge myself a bit more some day :-).

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    • Thanks for following. Proust has been a bit of a task, but very enjoyable. I hope that I can inspire you to tackle some of the literature that you aspire to read, but please don’t feel self conscious. Any reading is worthwhile, whatever it is, as long as you enjoy it.

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