Showing posts from May, 2014

The Fugitive, by Marcel Proust.

~ In Search of Lost Time ~ Swann's Way | Within a Budding Grove | The Guermantes Way | Cities of the Plain 
The Captive | The Fugitive | Time Regained

The Fugitive (Albertine disparue or La Fugitive): first published in 1925, the sixth part of In Search of Lost Time and the second part of le Roman d'Albertine (the first part being The Captive, or La Prisonnière, 1923). There are a number of editions that combine the two.
This is by far the hardest of In Search of Lost Time to write about. I've read somewhere that if you wish to 'take on' Proust and save a little time, The Captive and The Fugitive are the safest to skip. Now, I wouldn't go that far. They are integral parts of the novel, and we do learn more of the dark side of Marcel's character. It has, however, been somewhat of a trial reading The Fugitive
There are many 'anti-heroes' in literature: Becky Sharp (Thackeray's Vanity Fair), for example, Pinkie Brown (Greene's Brighton Rock), and …

A to Z Bookish Survey.

Recently my blog has turned into my 'Proustian Progress' and as I have yet another Proust post planned (The Fugitive) I thought I'd break it up a little with a meme! It's the A to Z Bookish Survey by Jamie, found via My Commonplace Journal.

Author you’ve read the most books from:
Émile Zola. I've read all twenty of the Rougon Macquart novels, plus one or two others.
Best Sequel Ever:
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope.
Currently Reading:
The Fugitive by Marcel Proust (also known as The Sweet Cheat Gone). Expect to finish it tonight, and then read the final volume, Time Regained, next week.
Drink of Choice While Reading:
E-reader or Physical Book?
Physical book. I don't feel I fully own a book unless I can physically touch it!
Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Hamlet, because I had truly dreadful taste in men in my younger years.
Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I hated it when I first …

The Captive, by Marcel Proust.

~ In Search of Lost Time ~ Swann's Way | Within a Budding Grove | The Guermantes Way | Cities of the Plain 
The Captive | The Fugitive | Time Regained

The Captive (La Prisonnière) is the fifth part of In Search of Lost Time, first published in 1923. And, just to make this confusing, it is the first of two parts within In Search of Lost Time known as Le Roman d'Albertine, the second part being The Fugitive (Albertine disparue, also known a The Sweet Cheat Gone or Albertine Gone). It is also the first part published after Marcel Proust's death in November 1922.

It is, so far, the darkest volume of In Search of Lost Time. The narrator Marcel, who, in this volume suggests that it is possible to refer to him as Marcel ("As soon as she was able to speak she said: "My ——" or "My dearest——" followed by my Christian name, which, if we give the narrator the same name as the author of this book, would be 'My Marcel,' or 'My dearest Marcel.") is s…

Doctor Thorne, by Anthony Trollope.

The Chonicles of Barsetshire ~ The WardenBarchester TowersDoctor ThorneFramley Parsonage The Small House at AllingtonThe Last Chronicle of Barset

"...instead of heart beating to heart in sympathetic unison,  purse chinks to purse."
Doctor Thorne is the third of the Chronicles of Barsetshire series by Anthony Trollope, which I'm reading as part of Amanda and Melissa's read-along. It was published in 1858, and follows The Warden (1855) and Barchester Towers(1857).

I loved this one, and it was such a welcome break from Proust. I began it about a week ago, reading the first fifty pages or so, but I put it down, partly to focus on Proust, and partly, I have to admit, because of it's painfully slow start. For the past week I wondered if it was possible I could actually manage to fit this in before the end of the month, but yesterday I picked up where I left off and read it all day - not to finish it, but because I was enjoying it so much.

It's a strange one, tho…

Cities of the Plain, by Marcel Proust.

~ In Search of Lost Time ~ Swann's Way | Within a Budding Grove | The Guermantes Way | Cities of the Plain
The Captive | The Fugitive | Time Regained

This is the fourth part of In Search of Lost Time, more commonly known as Sodom and Gomorrah (Sodome et Gomorrhe). It's divided into two parts, the first part originally appearing at the end of The Guermantes Way, and the second part, subdivided into four chapters, appeared in two volumes: Sodome et Gomorrhe I (1921) and Sodome et Gomorrhe II (1922). It was the last volume Proust saw published, as he died six months later on the 18th November 1922.
As I wrote in the last post, I did enjoy The Guermantes Way, which gave me hope as I couldn't settle with Within a Budding Grove. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, I couldn't settle into The Cities of the Plain / Sodom and Gomorrah. It really boils down to this: it's not to my taste. I respect Marcel Proust's achievements, and I admire his novel, but at present it still …

New stash.

On Tuesday I went to Barter Books again: I'm most fortunate to live not terribly far from it, so every so often I manage a trip, and this week I went with my boyfriend and best friend. And books were bought! Awesome books! Here's what I got: Jonathan Wild by Henry Fielding. I've not read a great deal by Fielding, just Tom Jones, Shamela, and Joseph Andrews, and so he's still a bit of a mystery to me. I did love Tom Jones, so I'm always interested in reading Fielding.The Adolescent by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This I needed for my Dostoyevsky challenge! And I do like a long Dostoyevsky (this is nearly 600 pages). My Brother's Keeper by Stanislaus Joyce. I'm always intrigued by James Joyce (I have a love / hate relationship with him) so I'll be interested to read this one.The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. This one looks fascinating - it's (very basically) like Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Written in the 14th Century, it's a collection of storie…

The Village of Stepanchikovo, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

A few days ago I finished Dostoyevsky's novel The Village of Stepanchikovo, and it was so unlike Dostoyevsky I wanted to say a few words. What a strange book it is!
It was first published in 1859 (original title Село Степанчиково и его обитатели) and was intended to be a play. It's the tenth Dostoyevsky I've read: when I embarked on my Dostoyevsky challenge, this was one of the few I hadn't heard of. I'd read the most famous ones, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Devils, and The Brothers Karamazov, as well as a few novellas and short stories and I felt I knew Dostoyevsky fairly well (his fiction, I mean, I know little about the great man himself). This one threw me on many levels. In essence, I'd say it was a farce, a comedy that has managed to survive over 150 years (I'm not a lover of farce at the best of times, and often, for example in Dickens' Pickwick Papers, the farcical elements leave me cold). It's very sinister, too. A very dark, someti…

Moby-Dick: A Whale of a Read-Along! (and other reading projects)

In June through to July Adam is hosting a Moby-Dick read-along, and I'm jumping at the chance: for one reason, Melville's Moby-Dick is one of my 25 re-reads, and another, more importantly, when I first read it (autumn '11) I did enjoy it, but I felt like there was a lot I missed. I've actually been wanting to re-read it for quite a while now, and this is my chance!
Moby-Dick was first published in 1851, nearly 163 years ago. It's on, more or less, every '100 Greatest Novels' I've ever seen, and it boasts one of the most famous opening lines: "Call me Ishmael". I'm looking forward to starting it, and I'll be reading my Vintage edition published in 2007 (648 pages). Adam's suggesting reading around 15 pages a day, which is absolutely perfect - 15 pages is not a massive commitment, and it will allow some time each day to properly dwell on the matter as it were. So thank you Adam for hosting this!

As for other reading projects - well, it…

The Guermantes Way, by Marcel Proust.

~ In Search of Lost Time ~ Swann's Way | Within a Budding Grove | The Guermantes Way | Cities of the Plain
The Captive | The Fugitive | Time Regained

The Guermantes Way (Le Côté de Guermantes) is the third in Proust's In Search of Lost Time following Swann's Way (1913) and Within a Budding Grove (1919). It was published in two parts: Le Côté de Guermantes I (1920) and Le Côté de Guermantes II (1921). 
So far, I've been intimidated by Swann's Way then a little weary of Within a Budding Grove, and now, with The Guermantes Way, I'm marginally more settled. It is an uphill struggle, exactly as one would expect from Marcel Proust, but this one was an interesting read and I get the sense Marcel, our narrator, is growing up: current events are creeping into his consciousness more than ever, and the dialogue, which may tire some readers, is a vast part of the structure of The Guermantes Way. In short, he is more aware of that which does not directly concern him. It is the …

Adam Bede, by George Eliot.

Perusing some of the many 'Top 100 Greatest Novels' I discovered that if George Eliot is mentioned on them (and she isn't always) then it is nearly always for Middlemarch. Strange, because I firmly believe that George Eliot is one of the best, if not the best English novelist and Adam Bede is one of the best novels I've ever read.

Adam Bede was the first novel written by George Eliot. She began writing it on 22nd October 1857, and it was published in 1859. It tells the story of Adam Bede, Hetty Sorrel, Dinah Morris, and Captain Arthur Donnithorne, and their lives in the idyllic setting of 18th Century Staffordshire (in a village called Ellastone, on the River Dove). It's a pastoral novel; bucolic almost, but finely interwoven with tragedy and struggle, and is, as we expect from Eliot, Realist literature. The plot, were I to describe it in it's entirety (which I won't otherwise I'll spoil it for those who haven't read it), perhaps does seem to include…

Classic Club Spin - your choice!

The number is 1, which, according to my list, is YOUR choice! So I'm in your hands!
The choices are as follows: Faulkner, William - The Sound and the FuryRushdie, Salman - The Satanic VersesMeridith, George - The EgoistFowles, John - The French Lieutenant's WomanHemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to ArmsJames, Henry - What Maise KnewFlaubert, Gustav - Bouvard and PecuichetStowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's CabinFowles, John - The MagusCooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the MohicansLawrence, D. H. - The RainbowBlackmore , R. D. - Lorna DooneJames, Henry - The Wings of the DoveSolzhenitsyn, Aleksandr - August 1914Bradbury, Ray - Fahrenheit 451I will read the book the first commenter picks. So pick me a good one :) I'm looking forward to seeing what I'm going to be reading....

Within a Budding Grove, by Marcel Proust.

~ In Search of Lost Time ~ Swann's Way | Within a Budding Grove | The Guermantes Way | Cities of the Plain
The Captive | The Fugitive | Time Regained

Last week I finished Within a Budding Grove (À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, also known as In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower ), the second volume of Proust's In Search of Lost Time. It follows Swann's Way, published six years later in 1919 (it was delayed by World War I) when, controversially, it won Le Priz Goncourt.

I have to say, this is getting tough. I struggled with it because of its length and because I felt like there was too much beauty in it (if there can be such a thing). It was overwhelmingly beautiful, like being on a beach surrounded by wild flowers; verbenas, daylilies, yarrow, and sea pinks, a warm, salty breeze, and the sea in front of me but wanting to go home because I'd been there all day. Am I devoid of soul? I loved Swann's Way, but now I feel like I've stayed too long. And I hate…