Monday, September 11, 2006

Edmund White on Proust

Our friendly local library has only one copy of Edmund White's Marcel Proust, and it's categorized under "Reference Only."

What this means is: for the past few weeks, I've been making weekend trips to the library just to read this book.

Gleanings from Edmund White, his take on why we read Proust:

Proust may have attacked love, but he did know a lot about it. Like us, he took nothing for granted. He was not on smug, cozy terms with his own experience. We read Proust because he knows so much about the links between childhood anguish and adult passion. We read Proust because, despite his intelligence, he holds reasoned evaluations in contempt and knows that only the gnarled knowledge that suffering brings us is of any real use. We read Proust because he knows that in the terminal stage of passion we no longer love the beloved; the object of our love has been overshadowed by love itself.

Edmund White has also praised Jean-Yves TadiƩ's biography of Proust as one of the best on the subject. It is awfully thick, and of course, the genius at our friendly local library has categorized it under "Reference Only."


1 comment:

Rebecca H. said...

I want this book! I must get it somehow -- there are a bunch of books I'd like to read about Proust, including the Alain De Boton (sp?) book, but I must just wait until I'm done with Proust's novel -- which means months and months, of course.