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?


Blogger I Have Blue Roses said...

I just began about a month ago. I read Swann's Way last year, but purchased the entire Modern Library set of 6 volumes after completing it, and now I'm starting from the beginning again. I agonized over the Moncrieff versus the new translations that are slowly being released; (I think they're up to Guermantes Way now?) I finally settled on the Moncrieff after sitting in bookstores and libraries for hours at a time doing a line by line comparison. I will keep you informed of my journey! I expect this to take several years.

8:51 AM  
Blogger problemreader said...

Yes. This is the second time I'm reading it. I read it once all the way through when I was 25 and when I turned 50 this year I decided to read it again. I just finished the second volume and will start the third this week. I'm getting a lot more out of it at 50 than at 25 - different things. I intend to read it again at 75 maybe. Moncreiff is the best edition. I tried it in the original Grench but it was too hard. It took me about 14 months the first time and this time it's about the same, reading a little every night.

7:13 PM  

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