lunes, 22 de abril de 2013

2013: A Year of Reading Proust

Every serious reader has some eight-thousander books in their life. You know that kind of books: usually hefty door-stoppers, packed to the brim with substance, dense, full of abstract concepts or difficult words so that you have to constantly keep a dictionary by your side, maybe full of literary gimmicks or with weird sentence constructions. In a word, difficult. But you are determined to read it. Who knows why? You might not even remember the first time you encountered that book, but it's there in your bucket list of literary accomplishments to achieve before you die, as if there was a medal granted to the most commited reader.

Well, my Everest is Proust's In Search of Lost Time (also known as Remembrance of Things Past, depending on the translation you read). It is a seven-volume novel that amounts more than 4,000 pages. It is famous for paragraph-long sentences, and paragraphs that span several pages. And because of the madeleine episode, of course. Enough to make me scared. 

If he's so nifty, he can't be a bore, right?
However, I'm tackling it in 2013. In part, thanks to the 2013: The Year of Reading Proust group, which is full of knowledgeable people who know their way around the Proustiverse. It is not a coincidence that both things are happening in 2013. This year marks the centenary of the French publication of the first volume of this masterpiece. 

The group has set a marvelous schedule to ease the reader's path to In Search of Lost Time. I'm sure it works wonders, but I'm lousy at following this kind of schedules. I need breaks from Proust. But I am following the threads. They help me notice very interesting things about the text that would have otherwise been way over my head. It's making my reading experience hundreds of times more awesome. So far, I've read and enjoyed the first volume, Swann's Way. Now I'm about to start the second, Within a Budding Grove.

What are your eight-thousanders? What are your plans to tackle them?

2 comentarios:

  1. I read the first volume way back in 2010. Now I try to tackle the second one. But I am reading in the original, as I do not rely on translations.

    1. I'm reading the original, as well. Translating Proust is a difficult task. I think it loses some of the musicality of Proust's beautiful sentences. We are lucky we can read French!

      Good luck with conquering Proust!