In search of lost links

Well, this is disappointing: by way of a response to a request on Twitter for “maximalist novel” reading suggestions, I thought it would be useful to share here the small collection of links I had gathered over the years about Proust and his epic (it has long since occurred to me that, rather than reading Proust, I’d much rather read about reading Proust), but of those five links, I’ve already shared one before, two are now behind paywalls and the other two are returning 404 errors: a setback, yes, but luckily, when I first copied those links to Pinboard I also saved an interesting paragraph or two from them as well, as is my wont — so here they are, then, for posterity (Prousterity?); a few crumbs from lost, link-rotten madeleines.

Proust’s PanmnemoniconJustin E. H. Smith’s Hinternet
There is no denying that the narrator of In Search of Lost Time is one weird little mama’s boy, ever inventing ruses to summon his mother up to his room for another kiss goodnight, over the disappointed protestations of a father who would wish to see him “man up”. There is something delightful (if cherry-picked) in the thought that while the greatest monument of Russian literature broods over whether or not to murder someone just because you can, and the greatest of German novels explores the metaphors of illness in an Alpine sanatorium, France gives us instead, as its contender for the champion’s title, the neverending autofiction of a boy so entranced by the ‘bouquet’ of his own asparagus pee that he longs to call Maman upstairs to whiff it alongside him.

How Proust’s ‘madeleine moment’ changed the world foreverThe Telegraph
The novels were hugely influential on writers all over the world, in that they introduced the idea of writing about “streams of consciousness”. Through Proust’s ubiquitous narrator, they relay in great detail not just what is perceived, but also what is remembered, and the repeated and constant links between perception and memory. Even those who have not read the novels are aware of the journey of memory on which the narrator goes when he tastes a madeleine dipped in tea; it has become “the Proustian moment”.

Reading Proust on my cellphoneThe Atlantic
Knowing where you are, physically, in a bound book keeps you from feeling this oceanic feeling quite so much. It keeps you grounded. But reading the book on your cellphone emphasizes your own smallness, your at-sea-ness, in relation to the vast ocean. There you are, moving along without any compass. How brave you are in your little dinghy, adrift and amazed.

My friends are amused: “But how many times do you have to swipe through those tiny pages on your cellphone to get through a single Proust sentence?” they ask. Sometimes many. Sometimes not even once. Even that record-breaking sentence, which stretches over two and a half pages in my old paperback, takes fewer than a dozen swipes. And turning the page, strange to say, is one of the nautical joys. Each finger drag is like an oar drawn through the water to keep the little glass-bottomed boat moving. After a while you’re not even aware of rowing. You’re simply looking through the glass into an endless ocean, moving silently, blindly forward.

The odd pleasures of reading Proust on a mobile phoneClive Thompson
It occurred to me once, while nose-close with a painting, that novels (and other forms of longform writing) have a bit of the same dual-focus aspect: The writer composes word by word, sentence by sentence — but also has the entire text in mind. We readers experience the whole book both as a single bolus of culture and a collection of individual thrilling sentences or passages.

French writer Marcel Proust’s personal archives headed to auction in ParisEconomic Times
Proust fans will have an opportunity to get their hands on a set of proofs of “In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower”, the second part of Remembrance, that includes crossed out passages and corrections. The book, which was supposed to be published in 1914, was delayed by the outbreak of World War I and left the author with time to make changes to the manuscript. An original edition of “Swann’s Way”, the first volume of Remembrance and which was published in 1913, will also go up for sale.

Author: Terry Madeley

Works with student data and enjoys reading about art, data, education and technology.

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