Thursday, July 13, 2006

one sentence summary of 3 vol Proust novel

A site asked me to
Summarize Proust

THE MOMENT by Kenneth Patchen:

before the girl picking field daisies
becomes the girl picking field daisies
there is a moment of some complexity

Vaspers the Grate's one sentence summary of Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past" (more accurately: "Reveries of Wasted Time"), in three volumes: Swann's Way, Within a Budding Grove, and The Guermantes Way...

which is one of my favorite books, along with Totality & Infinity by Emmanuel Levinas, The Postcard by Jacques Derrida, Djinn by Alain Robbes-Grillet, The Last Man by Maurice Blanchot, Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau (a one page story told in multiple rhetorical styles), The Castle by Franz Kafka, Impressions of Africa by Raymond Roussel, The Quantity Theory of Insanity by Will Self, The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind, and A Heart Under a Cassock by Arthur Rimbaud,...

Remembrance of Things Past contains this excerpted text, taken from a random page (281):
But he had so far acquired the habit of finding life interesting -- of marvelling at the strange discoveries that were to be made in it -- that even while he was suffering so acutely that he did not believe it possible to endure such agony for any length of time, he was saying to himself: Life is indeed astonishing, and holds some fine surprises; it appears that vice is far more common than one has been led to believe.

Here is a woman in whom I had absolute confidence, who looks so simple, so honest, who, in any case, even allowing that her morals are not strict, seemed quite normal and healthy in her tastes and inclinations.

I receive a most improbable accusation, I question her, and the little that she admits reveals far more than I could ever have suspected.

But he could not confine himself to these detached observations. He sought to form an exact estimate of the importance of what she had just told him, so as to know whether he might conclude that she had done these things often, and was likely to do them again.


The I of a novel fades in and out of flowers, love, and sleep, gradually understanding society and time, then the whole universe crashes into vainglorious derision.

1 comment:

Humour and last laugh said...

we are inadequate. we try to define the world through others responses to it. may be we can not see our own response to it, that is clearly visible to others. ragards.