Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Long Sentences

I have read in various places that Proust's long sentences are intimidating for a majority of people. I can't say that I have ever been intimidated by a sentence before. The accumulation of sentences, yes, but not the individual sentence. Proust's sentences may be long, but wow, they contain so much! Apparently Proust spoke in long sentences too. According to Edmund White in his little Proust biography,
Proust's complicated way of talking was dubbed by his friends with the French made-up verb proustifier, "to Proustify."
I find this a highly amusing tidbit. It is good to know that Proust is consistent in speech and print and I now have a new verb for when someone starts getting complicated and long-winded.


Blogger Dorothy W. said...

That IS a great verb! I'm tempted one of these days to write a post analyzing one of those scary long sentences. Could be boring, could be fun; I'm not sure.

8:34 AM  
Blogger AC said...

In the Modern Library intro to Proust, the introducer (don't remember who it is) claims something to the effect that Proust wrote one of the longest sentences in literature. Every time I came across a long sentence, I'd think to myself.....is this it?

I still have no idea which sentence he was talking about, but having read "The Autumn of the Patriarch" prior to Proust, I really didn't find the sentences to be a problem.

I love that verb. Aside from the meaning, it just sounds great.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I love that verb! I sometimes say that someone is Jamesifying something. Now I can say they Proustify!

Sorry for the lack of posting/commenting. I actually left my copy of Proust in someone's car and just recently retrieved it!

5:38 PM  
Blogger Stefanie said...

I've read that introduction AC and wondered what the sentence was too.

Glad you retrieved your Proust Michelle!

And Dorothy, I think a post by you analyzing a sentence wouldn't be anywhere near boring :)

6:24 PM  
Blogger Lauren Wills said...

Chiliad by Simon Otius, at unhappened [dot] com, is almost wholly written in long and very notable sentences. Here is the opening sentence:

"To avoid giving the impression, – most particularly here at the very gatehouse of this, for the most part, linear narrating of what is believed a remarkable enough history, one that may, — making its slow but inexorable way to credit, — challenge the very tenets of traditional biography, – that words, – generally believed good-fellows, merry men nearly all, – are already right eager, – by building a labyrinth of intricable mystery, – to confound the unwary reader at the very onset : it will prove very useful if a few, simple, but important facts, concerning the family Troke, and their seat, are first supplied."

10:08 PM  

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