Thursday, November 14, 2013

Marcel Proust: Du côté de chez Swann (1913)

All right! Du côté de chez Swann / Swann's Way  (1913) hits one hundred today. This calls for remembrance of things past, the search for lost time, and time regained. I raise high my glass in salute. 

One of my most memorable reading pleasures remains finishing Proust's complete cycle, À la recherche du temps perdu. And I'm certainly not alone in this the world over. 

For the record, traces of Proust are revealed in films ranging from Howard Hawks' The Big Sleep (1945)* to Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' Little Miss Sunshine (2006) -- and the beat goes on. 
Du côté de chez Swann / Swann's Way is a good place to start Proust, come to think of it. Swann and Odette de Crécy and l'amour fou ~ a most memorable start, indeed.
Proust's intricate, finely wrought sentences are a wonder even in English translation. For example, from Du côté de chez Swann / Swann's Way:

"When from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection" (Wikiquote translation).
An easy way to sample Du côté de chez Swann / Swann's Way is to check out Volker Schlöndorff's Un amour de Swann / Swann in Love (1984). But beware: sensuality is depicted! 

Today's Rune: Joy.   *William Faulkner, a Proust admirer, was one of the screenwriter-adapters of the 1939 Raymond Chandler novel.


Charles Gramlich said...

another famous person who I am relatively unfamiliar with. My education has not been broad it would appear.

the walking man said...

At least he punctuated his run on sentences.