Monday, February 25, 2013

Three Books Before In Search of Lost Time

My copy of In Search of Lost Time has arrived (objective numero uno on my 30 Before 30), but before I dive into Proust, I've got three books I'm reading first:

First, Howard Moss' The Magic Lantern of Marcel Proust. A critical evaluation exploring Proust's major symbols and devices, it was one of the few books to appear on nearly every list of essential criticism that I could find.

Second, Samuel Beckett's Proust. I love Beckett's fiction and drama, so I'll be interested to see what he has to say about Proust. The reviews I've read suggest that Beckett imbues Proust with his own preoccupations- while most reviewers see this as a fault, I can't help wonder- don't we all read into a book what we expect to find there?

Finally, I want to hear from the man himself. The college library has a copy of Proust's On Reading, and that copy is currently sitting on my nightstand, awaiting reading.

It's a little backwards to my normal approach to dive into the criticism first. In the past, I've had to come to love a book before I'd want to read other people's thoughts on it (The Old Man and the Sea, for instance, or Good Morning Midnight). But, in part because of the immenseness of In Search of Lost Time and in part because I want to make sure I get the most out of this project on the first go, this time I'm doing it differently.

We shall see what dividends my approach will pay.

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