May 8, 2011

Proust: In Search of Lost Time

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:05 by Miracle

The journey that began on the 9th of June this year has finally concluded, and yet, I know that its repercussions will forever reach me and find me, wherever I may go. It was expected that the journey which began in Swann’s Way would have impacting results, but now that I have finally confronted this expectation, I am still left astounded.

Proust spoke unfavorably of the prolonged reading of a book, so I did my best to maintain a fair, steady pace while tarrying intentionally on essential passages, and reading lighter books in between volumes. But these other books only fueled my desire to at last conquer Proust. Reading Time Regained meant being knee deep in Proust’s pensées on time, reality, literature, real art, artistic creation, genuine artistic appreciation, and the elements of which this entire opus is constructed, and I was torn between the rejoicing of its culmination and the wistful realization that one of the most colossal and extraordinary journeys of this page-turner has come to an end.

Since the month of June, I had already envisioned what my final “review” of Proust would be like, but a more analytical outline lay abandoned on pages of yellow pad paper. Now I know how futile it would be to even attempt to analyze Proust, otherwise, that would only thwart what he set out to accomplish.

I thought more modestly of my book and it would be inaccurate even to say that I thought of those who would read it as “my” readers.For it seemed to me that they would not be “my” readers but the readers of their own selves, my book being merely a sort of magnifying glass …it would be my book, but with its help I would furnish them with the means of reading what lay inside themselves.

The beauty of Proust’s language greets the reader the instant one treads through Swann’s Way, and if one perseveres, the reader comes in proximity with the narrator’s exceptional insight, his philosophic observations, and eventually, even his weaknesses, but it is really only after the destination, the sublime Time Regained, that one can truly affirm that the journey was worth it, and reading In Search of Lost Time is indeed capable of changing a life. As the Bible transforms the spiritual lives of those with open hearts, I believe that In Search of Lost Time can also lead to a rebirth of one’s artistic life.

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Addendum: To borrow Proust’s penchant for metaphors (that which he describes as “comparing a quality common to two sensations,” and then “succeeding in extracting their common essence and reuniting them to each other” and liberating them from the contingencies of time), my literary appetite after reading In Search of Lost Time can be compared to that of an espresso connoisseur who, after tasting a supreme blend of espresso, refrains from putting anything else in his mouth to extend the espresso’s lingering impression.Therefore I shall devote a week to the absorbing and further savoring of this most wonderful synthesis… until another aroma beckons from my shelves.

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Other Entries on Proust:

Losing Time in Proust

Swann’s Way

Within a Budding Grove

The Guermantes Way

Sodom and Gomorrah

The Captive

The Fugitive

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