Having peppered the blog with excerpts from Marcel Proust’s novel, A la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time / Remembrance of Things Past), I’ve posted, above, a link to the website of the recently deceased Joel Alan Rich which has a number of essays on Proust that appear to be well worth reading – I’ll be looking at them some time in the future as tackling Proust, in its own right, is something of a monumental task. A good link then for those who are further along in the novel than I am. A tribute to Joel Alan Rich can be found here.
Of particular interest, to me, would be an essay of his on Proust’s attitude towards war, specifically the First World War in which he served for a short while (and which delayed the publication of his writing), to compare his fictional accounts of it (which mostly appear in the final volume of the series) with those of an autobiographical nature written by Edith Wharton that we have already excerpted here and here. Fiction can sometimes be more revealing than fact, particularly when one considers the motivations of the powerful in launching wars, as was certainly the case in that one, and the similarities to the wars being hatched today. The human condition has not really changed in the past century and neither have its means or motivations.
I also came across a first chapter excerpt of a biography of Proust by Edmond White (at the New York Times books page) published by Viking that will provide further insight into the life and character of the renowned writer; it can be accessed here. I’ve already converted it to an ePub file (using Sigil) and will load it onto my e-reader for consumption when I can find the time.
I’m a little over half finished the first book (Swann’s Way) and have set myself the task of finishing the entire series in one run – that may see me through until spring. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an eye open for other sources of enlightenment on Proust and will post them here.