Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Serenity and Vitality of Proust

My great adventure is really Proust...I am in a state of amazement; as if a miracle were being done before my eyes. How, at last, has someone solidified what has always escaped - and made it too into this beautiful and perfectly enduring substance? One has to put the book down and gasp. The pleasure becomes physical - like sun and wine and grapes and perfect serenity and intense vitality combined. - Virginia Woolf

The eruption of [Proust's] work - distinguished by its huge proportions, its complexity, and a difficulty caused by the unparalleled extravagance of its web of language - into the world was so sudden and so thorough that it is difficult not to see it as a result of some kind of spell that had been cast. For how else might we explain the way that in those restless times, hundreds of thousands, all across Europe, gladly made their way through thirteen densely printed volumes, enjoying page after page devoted to conversations with no identifiable theme, to a few trees, to an act of waking up in the morning, and to the inner development of a jelaous feeling, so that they might take pleasure in the variety of an individual’s emotions that lay hidden in every sentence? All the more astonishing is the fact that a great number of Proust’s admirers are not French. - Erich Auerbach

No comments:

Post a Comment