Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My buddy, Marcel Proust

About a million years ago, I made a list of things to do before I turned 30. I have been plugging away at that list for a long time: take a hip hop class [check], dye my hair a crazy color [check, check and check], go to Africa [check], watch all three Godfathers in one day (ugh, longest day ever, but [check]).

One of the things I have yet to accomplish is "Read complete In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust."* I started on this goal a while ago, and then lost steam. I decided to pick up virtually every book I could get my hands on that wasn't by Proust.** I really do like the way Proust,*** and let's be honest here--his translator C.K. Scott Moncrieff, turn a phrase. And that remains the draw to complete this goal.

That and the fact that I am pretentious.

For the past few days, with a sense of great urgency, I've been back at it. Proust + Molly = quality time. To get me back in to the swing of things, I went back to the very beginning of the series and looked at all of the sections I underlined and starred and wrote comments in the margins next to. The insights presented and the beauty of some of these sentences make the mundane verbosity that can bore me through the rest of the books completely worth the journey. (Shoot, I even learned a new word or two. "Inveigh against" anyone?)

I thought to keep me accountable for my progress, I'd post some of the quotes on here. This of course, is the poorly executed first one that I just threw together in Word being on a school PC and without my wacom and Adobe. Deal with it.****

Photo blatantly stolen from Harry Benson. One of the greatest photogs ever.

* When I told my friend Annie that this was my goal, she said told me that she had to read some of it in French whilst she was studying abroad. If I were to even try to attempt that, I'd only be able to comprehend basic nouns, verbs and phrases like "mettre la charrue avant les boeufs," or "tourne autour du pot." Sad and true.

**At BYU, my advisor Tom Russell literally gave me the instruction to "Read Everything you can"--maybe I will use that as an out? Except for that he also gave me the instruction to "write everyday" and I get a big Molly Fail for that guy.

*** Remember in Little Miss Sunshine when Steve Carell is suicidal because the grad student he was in love with left him, the number 1 Proust scholar in the country for number 2? Also, remember how at the end of each Vanity Fair issue there is the "Proust questionnaire"? It's that guy.

****Everytime I say that I think of Phil from "Better off Ted." The episode where he and Lem get the cadaver for the lab. Hilarious.


Melinda said...

I've been wanting to read some Proust ever since making my first batch of madeleines! My recipe quotes Proust's description of eating one in the introduction.

Brian said...

I learned everything I need to know about Proust from Monty Python: