Mission

Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Friday, March 18, 2011

Literary Blog Hop March 17-20

Welcome Literary Blog Hoppers! I am in the throes of a grading frenzy, but looking forward to spring break. The weather here is glorious, and suddenly flowers are in bloom. The roads are filling up with cars from Ontario and Ohio, New York and New Jersey. I constantly remind myself how lucky I am to live here in coastal South Carolina. My morning commute is more scenic than most: I cross two small bridges, and if it isn't still dark, I can see water, marsh, and osprey nests on the towers on which electric cables are slung.

This week's question from our hosts at The Blue Bookcase is: What one literary work must you read before you die? Several big books (War and Peace, Joseph and His Brothers) come to mind, but there is one major literary work I have always wanted to complete. Here's a hint:  it all begins with a cup of tea and a madeleine....




Yes, I'd like to read Marcel Proust's masterwork In Search of Lost Time, or as it used to be known, Remembrance of Things Past. I did read Swann's Way and Within a Budding Grove, but it was so long ago I feel as though I need to start all over again.

I own the Modern Library Edition (it looks like this)



But I know there are other translations, other editions available. Have any of you Literary Blog Hoppers tackled this enormous work? Any recommendations for the best translation? I'll be curious to see what books the Literary Blog Hoppers choose for this question:  War and Peace, anyone? That's on my bucket list too.

20 comments:

Suzanne said...

I plodded through all six volumes of Proust two years ago. Parts of it were beautifully written, at other times I wanted to give ol' Marcel a shake. It might need a second read for me to better appreciate it.
Good luck with it!

Ben said...

I used to think like you bibliophiliac. Then I have read "Swann's Way" and changed my mind. Do not read unless you spend the summer in a sanitarium

parrish lantern said...

Yes I knew it as remembrance of things past (Recherche du temps perdu) & read it(English trans) agood few years ago, but as I recall it's a book where you clear everything else, life etc out the way, then just swim in it.

bibliophiliac said...

@Suzanne-plodded? Yes, Marcel definitely had a strange life (cork walls, confined to bed). Maybe that made him ramble?

bibliophiliac said...

@Ben-actually, summer in a sanitarium sounds pretty good right now...

bibliophiliac said...

@parrish lantern--so, maybe this summer? I love the idea of swimming in books...

Jillian said...

I'd never heard of that Proust novel... it sounds like something I would love. I'm becy interested in France, philosophy, etc. Have just added it to Goodreads.

I'm wondering if he's similar to Montaigne (only in a more recent era)?

Oh, and I'm reading War and Peace right now. It's very enjoyable! Not at all what I expected. :-)

bibliophiliac said...

@Jillian-it is actually a series of seven novels. A work that long intrigues me. I'd also like to read Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time (I think that's the title) which is eleven novels....

emeire said...

Funnily enough, because I'm French a lot of people expect me to have read Proust. I have read a few extracts, but that's about it, which is annoying because a lot of critical theory refers to Proust (I'm thinking of Gerard Genette in particular) and it makes it that little bit more difficult to follow...

kinnareads said...

Oh, I want to read Proust someday as well. The volumes are so intimidating though. I chose The Odyssey.

IngridLola said...

I've only read Swann's Way, and I LOVED it. My husband is actually reading the whole series right now, he's almost finished with Sodom and Gomorrah. Penguin Classics just came out with new translations of all the volumes. Lydia Davis did Swann's Way, and I thought her translation was excellent.

Laura said...

I really want to read Proust, mainly because of Little Miss Sunshine (I really really love that film!) I have the first volume, but have already scared myself off of it because it's really huge- but one day I'll be brave enough to give it a go!

Loni said...

I've never read anything by Proust. It seems so scary!

Lisa said...

You are ambitious!

Kelly said...

I've been wanting to read this for a long time but haven't gotten around to it, mostly because I'd read it in French and I need to order it from Canada or France and I'm lazy!

In a class a few years ago we read a short excerpt and it was very difficult to read (in French, though I hear it's also difficult when you're reading in your native language!).

Robyn said...

It is one of those things that comes up over and over again, doesn't it? I think Julia Child and Avis DeVoto talk about reading Proust in their letters, but I can't remember what they said! I think Avis, like you, wanted to read Proust but couldn't quite bring herself to.

Bellezza said...

The best translation of this work, in my opinion of course ;), is by Lydia Davis. The link to it from amazon.com can be found here:

http://www.amazon.com/Swanns-Way-Search-Penguin-Classics/dp/0142437964

She makes it surprisingly easy to read, although really, there's not much plot. To say the least.


I have no idea which work I'd choose, I'll still have to think about it. But, this was a great choice on your part.

BookQuoter said...

This might be too much for me. But yes, maybe someday, War and Peace!

Kristen said...

This is one I toy with reading every now and then but it never seems to make the final cut.

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