Friday, January 02, 2009

The End of the Guermantes Way

It has taken me over two years to finish the first volume of Moncrieff's translation. Of course I have read any number of books in between; not every minute was spent on Proust. But who reads a book for over two years?

The Guermantes Way was slow getting through. A great deal of it centered on the Dreyfuss case. The closing scene had a few great moments of humor, including one featuring a giant envelope. And along the way, Marcel continued to have his illusions shattered. Still, if I had to choose, I would take Swann's Way every time.

In order not to be content with completing the first volume, I picked up the second immediately. Titled, for whatever reason, Cities on the Plain, the first few pages contain a revelation about M. de Charlus, who makes a rather distasteful impression, not because of his practices, but because of his attitude. That should be enough to jump-start me for another two years.

Is anyone else still reading this monumental work?